About Menopause

The menopause is the natural transition period marking the cessation of ovulation in a woman’s body: menstrual activity decreases and eventually ceases, and the body decreases the production of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone. This time of change may last a few months to several years. The average age of menopause onset is 51 years old. There is no reliable lab test to predict when a woman will experience menopause.

Naturally some physical changes include graying hairs, the appearance of wrinkles, expanding waistlines. Many women experience uncomfortable symptoms that vary from mild to severe. Some women will not experience any menopausal symptoms, and approximately 10-15% of women will experience severe symptoms. These symptoms include: headaches, fatigue, lethargy, irritability, anxiety, nervousness, depression, insomnia, inability to concentrate, hot flushes, vaginal dryness, night sweating, joint pain, weight gain, reduced bone density, bladder infections and/or frequent urination etc.

View of TCM

Most menopausal symptoms are generally due to kidney deficiency. Totally there are followings:
1. Kidney “essence” deficiency: Kidney essence declines to lead to various symptoms. Although essence can not be replenished according to Chinese medicine, it can be nourished and supported, which will slow down the above symptoms and make the transition more graceful.
2. Kidney Yin deficiency: The concept of Yin is one of cooling and nourishing. If kidney Yin is deficient, heat signs will arise, including hot flashes, night sweats, heart palpitations, and insomnia.
3. Kinney Yang deficiency: Yang is the opposite of Yin and represents the warming and metabolizing functions of the body. Unbalanced Yang can lead to water retention, weight gain, edema, indigestion, hypertension or raised cholesterol levels.
4. Liver qi stagnation: This is also often involved in excessive menopausal symptoms. The primary functions of the liver include the smooth flow of energy & blood, and emotions throughout the body. If liver qi becomes constrained (often due to diet and/or inappropriate response to stress), some symptoms will come out, such as headaches, irritability, anxiety, nervousness, depression, insomnia.

Treatment of TCM

Natural menopause usually requires no treatment and many physicians recommend estrogen replacement therapy. Treatments for menopause are directed toward alleviating the symptoms present in the particular woman affected. Western medicine has often treated menopausal symptoms with hormone replacement therapy (HRT); but there is an increase risk of invasive breast cancer. Previous reported benefits for taking HRT, including a reduced risk of heart disease, prevention of osteoporosis and alzheimer’s, and an overall improvement in women’s health, have all been called into question.

Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are effective treatments for hot flashes, anxiety, insomnia, vaginal dryness and many other symptoms associated with menopause. Recent studies show extremely positive results as followings:
1. Regulate unstable hormone levels during menopause
2. Improve the energy and circulation
3. Tonify the Kidneys to help the this transitional time
4. Eliminate the symptoms from menopause

**Lifestyle and Dietary Instructions

Menopause patients are encouraged to lose extra weight and follow a diet with a high content of raw foods, fruits and vegetables to stabilize blood sugar. Some foods may exacerbate hot flashes or increase mood swings. Steer clear of dairy products, red meats, alcohol, sugar, spicy foods, caffeine, and don’t smoke. Lastly, try to eliminate stress, tension and anxiety or learn techniques to cope with stress so that you can diminish the effects that it has on your body and mind.