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Menopause is described as the ending of a woman’s last menstrual cycle and it may happen at any point between the age of 40 and 60 years (Obermeyer, 2000). For some reasons, menopause may occur at an earlier age before a woman hits age 40. Menopause and the period preceding it, which is known as perimenopause, are characterized by hormonal changes, especially the declining of oestrogen levels. This results in acute menopausal symptoms or vasomotor symptoms that are distressing and reduce a woman’s quality of life. Conventional treatments haven’t been effective in offering relief for vasomotor symptoms in some women and this has prompted patients as well as physicians to search for effective alternative treatment. The results of various researches have shown that acupuncture successfully treats nearly all symptoms linked to menopause.

Common menopause symptoms

According to Dennerstein et al (2000), the commonest vasomotor symptoms include vaginal dryness and night sweats or hot flushes. Other symptoms are sleep problems, difficulty urinating, headaches, anxieties, depression, memory loss, unending fatigue, and libido loss. On average, vasomotor symptoms last for about four years. However,in about 10 percent of women, it lasts for over a decade. As many as 70 percent of all women in the Western world experience menopausal symptoms (Chim et al, 2002). For majority of these women, menopause disrupts their quality of life and it becomes exceedingly difficult to carry on with their work. Writing in the Journal of Chinese Medicine, Lyttleton (1990) estimated that 20 to 60 percent of women experience symptoms so bad that they require the attention of a physician.

Common treatments for menopausal symptoms

According to the Mayo Clinic, menopause has no conventional medical treatment and can only be managed by focusing on relieving symptoms associated with it. The commonest treatment in a Western medical setting is hormone replacement therapy or simply HRT. While HRT offers relief to some patients, it usually requires to be administered for years (Manson & Martin, 2001). Additionally, it accompanies many unwanted side effects and most women are advised to shun the medication (Zweifel & O’Brien, 1997). Other treatments are vaginal estrogen that focus on dealing with vaginal dryness and low-dose antidepressants. It is termed as ‘low-dose’ because a high dosage of SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) may worsen mood swings or create dependency (Richards et al, 2007). Continuing symptoms prompt many women and their care givers to turn to acupuncture. Indeed, a 1996 retrospective survey by Wadlow and Peringer found out that women aged between 40 and 60 years make up to 30 percent of all patients seeking acupuncture.

How acupuncture effectively treats menopause symptoms

According to systematic reviews (Lee et al, 2009, Ernst & White, 2001, and Cho and Whang, 2009) as well as randomized controlled researches (Kronenberg & Fugh-Berman, 2002, Avis et al, 2008 and Huang et al, 2006) the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating menopausal symptoms is comparable and at times superior to that of conventional medicine. Acupuncture assists in the reduction of menopause and perimenopause symptoms by effecting the regulation of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and serum estradiol. Acupuncture treats depression by lowering anxieties and enhancing relaxation. Additionally, it promotes circulation in the body, rebalances the brain’s chemical properties and invigorates nervous system transmitters. The release of more endorphins occasioned by acupuncture significantly lowers any bodily pain. Contact us today at Boca Raton Acupuncture and let us help you effectively get rid of menopausal symptoms through the time tested acupuncture treatment that has been practiced and perfected for thousands of years by Traditional Chinese Medicine.

References
1. Avis, N. E., Legault, C., Coeytaux, R. R., Pian-Smith, M., Shifren, J. L., Chen, W., & Valaskatgis, P. (2008). A randomized, controlled pilot study of acupuncture treatment for menopausal hot flashes. Menopause, 15(6), 1070-1078.
2. Cho, S. H., & Whang, W. W. (2009). Acupuncture for vasomotor menopausal symptoms: a systematic review. Menopause, 16(5), 1065-1073.
3. Dennerstein, L., Dudley, E. C., Hopper, J. L., Guthrie, J. R., & Burger, H. G. (2000). A prospective population-based study of menopausal symptoms. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 96(3), 351-358.
4. Ernst, E., & White, A. R. (2001). Prospective studies of the safety of acupuncture: a systematic review. The American journal of medicine, 110(6), 481-485.
5. Huang, M. I., Nir, Y., Chen, B., Schnyer, R., & Manber, R. (2006). A randomized controlled pilot study of acupuncture for postmenopausal hot flashes: effect on nocturnal hot flashes and sleep quality. Fertility and sterility, 86(3), 700-710.
6. Kronenberg, F., & Fugh-Berman, A. (2002). Complementary and alternative medicine for menopausal symptoms: a review of randomized, controlled trials. Annals of internal medicine, 137(10), 805-813.
7. Lee, M. S., Shin, B. C., & Ernst, E. (2009). Acupuncture for treating menopausal hot flushes: a systematic review. Climacteric, 12(1), 16-25.
8. Lyttleton, J. A. N. E. (1990). Topics in gynaecology. Part one: menopause. Journal of Chinese Medicine, 33, 5-9.
9. Manson, J. E., & Martin, K. A. (2001). Postmenopausal hormone-replacement therapy. New England Journal of Medicine, 345(1), 34-40.
10. Obermeyer, C. M. (2000). Menopause across cultures: a review of the evidence. Menopause, 7(3), 184-192.
11. Richards, J. B., Papaioannou, A., Adachi, J. D., Joseph, L., Whitson, H. E., Prior, J. C., & Goltzman, D. (2007). Effect of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors on the risk of fracture. Archives of internal medicine, 167(2), 188-194.
12. Wadlow, G., & Peringer, E. (1996). Retrospective survey of patients of practitioners of traditional Chinese acupuncture in the UK. Complementary therapies in medicine, 4(1), 1-7.
13. Zweifel, J. E., & O’Brien, W. H. (1997). A meta-analysis of the effect of hormone replacement therapy upon depressed mood. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 22(3), 189-212.