Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine | Menopause

Acupuncture for menopause

Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine may be able to relieve varying menopausal symptoms. At Balanced Life Health Care in Ferntree Gully, we believe that menopause should be a natural and gradual process and not send you on a roller coaster of symptoms! Most importantly it should not be impacting on your life! Our treatments are aimed at making this process easy and symptom free.

 

You may be experiencing a wide variety of symptoms not just hot flushes, some of the symptoms include:

  • Hot flushes
  • Night sweats
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Lowered libido
  • Poor or disturbed sleep
  • Increased frequency or heavy period bleeding
  • Mood swings
  • Prolapse and incontinence

Why am I getting menopausal symptoms?

 

In menopause your oestrogen production gradually declines, and this decline in oestrogen disturbs the function of the hypothalamus; The hypothalamus is responsible for regulating body heat and metabolism. This is where the characteristic hot flashes and the increase in weight frequently accompanying menopause come from. For some lucky women it is an easy process, but for most it is a roller coaster of varying symptoms of varying intensity. From our perspective it is not a matter of stopping the gradual decline of oestrogen but easing it so that the body can adjust and transition.

 

Acupuncture for Menopause Ferntree Gully

 

 

The Royal Women’s Hospital suggests that up to 80% of women experience hot flushes and night sweats (1)! Some research suggests that Acupuncture can decrease hot flushes by 35% and insomnia by 50% (2). It has been suggested that Acupuncture along with Chinese Herbal Medicine can have an effect on oestrogen levels which are rapidly declining in menopause, thus slowing the decline so reducing the symptoms you feel (3). Results are cumulative, and will continue to improve with consecutive regular treatments over time.

 

 

Chinese Herbal Medicine for Menopause Ferntree Gully

 

 

To enhance your results we often prescribe Chinese Herbal Medicine alongside consecutive regular Acupuncture treatments. Chinese herbs are individually prescribed so that your individual symptoms can be address while treating the underlying hormonal imbalance. Chinese herbal treatment is a great treatment option for you cannot attend regular Acupuncture treatments.

 

 

Can I Take HRT with Acupuncture & Chinese Herbal Medicine?

 

 

It is possible to take HRT with Chinese Herbal Medicine because they are working differently. Typically HRT is either synthetic oestrogen or synthetic oestrogen / progesterone combination (4). Occasionally a combination of oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone is given. HRT replaces the hormones being lost and in many women is very effective at treating the symptoms. However like all medications there are side effects, and in some women it is not advised that HRT be used at all.

 

Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine however work differently, by gently balancing your body’s own hormonal production, and regulating the symptoms. Generally these do not interact and can even enhance the effectiveness. Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine tend to be a slower process, with gradual reduction in severity and duration of hot flushes, thus easing the process. With all Herbal treatments we advise that you seek advice from your doctor especially if you are taking HRT.

 

Other things to consider

 

In Chinese Medicine it is important to not add anymore fuel to the fire, so during treatment we encourage you to avoid things that will over heat your body. We advise women to avoid excess amounts of the following as often a hot flush will follow;

 

  • Coffee
  • Red wine
  • Hot spicy foods
  • High levels of stress

 

A diet rich in whole grains – rice, spelt, oats, and so on, but not bread or flour products have a calming effect and stimulates adrenal function in order to produce hormones. For some women phytoestrogens (plant oestrogens) can help replace some natural oestrogens lost during menopause, and may reduce menopausal symptoms – good sources of phytoestrogens include organic soy products such as tofu, linseeds, whole grains and legumes. You can also eat lots of leafy green vegetables and seaweed. And of course choose foods that are high in vitamin and mineral content.

 

Stress reduction is also beneficial for many women. Menopause Australia recommends yoga, massage, exercise meditation and positive affirmations. One study even suggests that  Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, may be a clinically significant resource in reducing the degree of bother and distress women experience from hot flashes and night sweats (10). Good news is that Acupuncture can also reduce Insomnia, Anxiety and Depression.

 

 

Acupuncture for Menopause the Research

 

Recently the evidence gathered through research as upgraded Acupuncture in the treatment of menopausal hot flushes from promising to potential positive (5). Here are some of the studies sited;

 

  • Chiu (2015); Acupuncture improves hot flush frequency and severity, menopause-related symptoms, and QoL (vasomotor domain) in natural menopause (6)
  • Selva Ovid (2013); Promising results (7)
  • Dodin (2013); Acupuncture superor to no treatment or wait list, Acupuncture superior to sham in reducing severity but not frequency, Acupuncture inferior to hormone therapy (8)
  • Chen (2016); Seems to be effective (9)

References

  1. https://www.thewomens.org.au/health-information/menopause-information/menopause-symptoms/
  2. Cohen SM, Et Al; Can acupuncture ease the symptoms of menopause; Holist Nurs Pract. 2003 Nov-Dec;17(6):295-9.
  3. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110307184640.htm
  4. https://www.womens-health-concern.org/help-and-advice/factsheets/hrt/
  5. McDonald, John & Janz, Stephen. (2016). The Acupuncture Evidence Project: A Comparative Literature Review (Revised). Australian Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine Association Ltd, Coorparoo
  6. Chiu HY, Pan CH, Shyu YK, Han BC, Tsai PS (2015). Effects of Acupuncture on Menopause and quality of life in women in natural menopause: a meta-analysis of randomized control trials. Menopause Feb 22 (2): 234-44
  7. Selva Ovid A, Martinex Zapata MJ, Sola I, Stojanovic Z, Uriona Tuma SM, Bonfill Corp X (2013). Efficacy and safety of Needle Acupuncture for treating Gyncologic and obstetric disorders: An overview. Med Acupunct. Dec 1; 25 (6): 386-97
  8. Dodin S, Blanchet C, Marc I, Ernst E, Wu T, Vailancourt C, et al (2013). Acupuncture for Menopause hot flushes. Cochrane database system Rev. (7): Cd007410
  9. Chen YP, Liu T, Peng YY, Wang YP, Chen H, Fan YF, et al (2016). Acupuncture for women with hot flushes in women with breast cancer: A systematic review. J Cancer Res Ther. Apr-Jun; 12 (2) 535-44
  10. James Carmody,  Sybil Crawford, Elena Salmoirago-Blotcher, Katherine Leung,  Linda Churchill, and Nicholas Olendzki (2011). Mindfulness Training for Coping with Hot Flashes: Results of a Randomized Trial. Menopause Jun; 18(6): 611–620.