Not every woman experiences menopause symptoms but among those who do the symptoms can be significant and disruptive, physically, emotionally and sexually. Among the more common symptoms associated with menopause are hot flushes, mood swings, increased irritability, anxiety, vaginal dryness and/or itching, loss of libido, acne, weight gain, fatigue, memory problems, changes in skin texture, abnormal hair growth on face and more frequent urination.
Such signs and symptoms may be prominent for a few years, but will gradually lessen in severity and eventually disappear.
Osteoporosis on the other hand will continue to deteriorate with age and requires active intervention and treatment.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is considered the standard treatment for menopause and related conditions. However there is no consensus as to how and when to use these medications. Although they may alleviate hot flushes and prevent osteoporosis, they will also increase the risk of breast, uterine and ovarian cancer and have a number of significant side effects. The bottom line is that synthetic hormones can never replace endogenous ones. Therefore, no matter how and when they are prescribed, the potential for adverse reactions will always be present.
How acupuncture and Chinese herbs can help
Acupuncture and Chinese herbs are extremely effective in treating menopause and related conditions. It offers a gentle, yet effective way of treating the various symptoms without any side effects. Numerous studies have shown the effect of acupuncture and Chinese herbs on the hormonal system to alleviate hot flushes, loss of bone mass and other symptoms associated with menopause. And most importantly being much gentler and safer on the body.
Also tension, stress and anxiety can aggravate symptoms. The more relaxed and at ease with ourselves we are, the easier it is to deal with this time of transition. Acupuncture helps us to relax our body and mind.
Diet and Lifestyle: what can we do ourselves
A diet including lots of fresh fruit and vegetables can help stabilise blood sugar levels. Some foods that can aggravate symptoms such as hot flushes and mood swings are best avoided, such as dairy products, red meat, alcohol, sugar, spicy foods and caffeine. Cigarette smoking has a drying affect on our body and affects our natural cooling system, our yin, so is also best avoided.
Women who tend to be more active tend to suffer less from symptoms. Activities such as yoga, tai chi, qi gong provide gentle movement whilst also reducing stress and tension. A brisk walk for half an hour several times a week is very beneficial.
It is beneficial to have regular acupuncture treatment during the peri-menopausal period, as soon as the period starts changing. This will help smooth out any minor symptoms and prevents them from getting worse, making the menopausal period a much more pleasant experience.