Acupuncture for Menopause
Western and Chinese medical explanations are quite parallel in the way they describe the process of menopause. However, one speaks through the language of hormones and their interaction with the reproductive organs while the other uses the vocabulary of Essence and its relationship with the Kidney. Acupuncture can help with the following symptoms of menopause – hot flushes, insomnia, mood swings, night sweats, tiredness, muscle aches and depression.
Chinese Medicine for Menopause
While Western medicine define the problems associated with menopause as stemming from estrogen deficiency, in Chinese medicine estrogen, along with other hormones, is contained within the larger category of internal secretions known as Essence (jing). Estrogen is a kind of Essence, just like doughnuts are a kind of cake; but just as all cakes are not doughnuts, not all Essence is estrogen.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) holds that Essence is a precious substance to be cherished and guarded. It’s believed we are born with a limited supply and it diminishes as the years go by. Acupuncture enables us to use this precious essence in an efficient and effective way, making sure that all the body and mind is functioning at its optimum performance level thereby enabling the essence to last longer.
Menopause occurs naturally at an average age of 50 to 51 years. As the ovaries age, the response to pituitary gonadotrophins (FSH – follicle stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone, LH) decrease. This initially results in shorter follicular phase and therefore a shorter menstrual cycles, fewer ovulations, decreased progesterone production and more irregularity in cycles. The follicle eventually fails to respond and does not produce estrogen.
Usually frequency of bleeding decreases followed by complete amenorrhea ( absent periods, often for 1-2 cycles followed by very heavy loss). However, for many women, bleeding is more frequent, heavier, or prolonged before the onset of oligomenorrhea (very light or delayed periods). Menstrual cycles may vary in lenght. Menopause is established when menses have not occurred for a year.
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