Acupuncture Works

Menopause

Menopause is the permanent end of a woman’s menstrual periods. Occurring naturally when the ovaries stop producing the hormones estrogen and progesterone, or it can be caused by surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation. [1]

There are three main clinical aspects of menopause:

  1. Cardiovascular Symptoms
    • Facial flushing
    • Hot sensation of the head, face, neck, and chest
    • Profuse sweating
    • Palpitation
    • Pain, stuffiness, or distress in the pericardial region
    • Numbness or pain of the four limbs
  2. Mental Emotional Symptoms
    • Restlessness
    • Irritability
    • Anxiety
    • Insomnia
    • Memory problems
  3. Metabolic Dysfunction
    • Edema
    • Weight gain

TCM divides menopause into three main categories:

  1. Liver Yang overactivity due to Liver Qi stagnation
    • Headache, dizziness, facial flushing, sweating, irritability, and easily angered
    • Flow profuse or small amount of bright red menstrual blood
  2. Heart Blood Deficiency
    • Palpitation, insomnia, dream disturbed sleep, sensations of heat chest and the palms and or soles of the feet (five heart heat), irritability, and emotional upset
    • Flow scanty
  3. Stagnation of Qi and Phlegm
    • Overweight, distressed sensation in the chest area, abdominal distension and fullness, poor appetite, edema, and loose stools
    • Flow scanty and dilute to profuse bleeding

The main disharmony in women during menopause is Kidney yin deficiency with deficiency heat. The treatment protocol is designed to address the hot flashes, mood swings and night sweats is to clear the deficiency heat and nourish the yin. There may also be irritability and emotional instability because of Liver qi stagnation. [3]

Menopausal symptoms are generally due to a decline of Kidney Essence (or Jing Qi). (Here Kidney Essence (or Jing Qi) are the hormones estrogen & progesterone) Combined with the Kidney Essence deficiency are external Excess pathogenic factors that disturb the natural balance of your body. [2]

Predominant are Dampness (depression, water retention), Qi & Blood stagnation (pain), empty heat Yin deficiency (hot flashes), general Yin & Yang imbalance (coldness of the extremities, water retention, and weight gain) and or Liver Yang rising (anger & frustration). [2]

Chinese medicine is always looking to restore the fine balance of the body. Menopausal symptoms can be helped with a combination of Chinese Herbal Medicines, acupuncture, lifestyle changes, counseling, diet and nutrition, biological regulating medicine (homeopathy), and family & friends support. [2]

Reference:

[1] Advanced Modern Chinese Acupuncture Therapy, A practical Handbook for Intermediate and Advanced Study By Gang Lin Yin and Zheng Hua Liu ©2000 New World Press Dr. Ganglin

[2] Giovanni Maciocia, OBGYN in Chinese Medicine ©1998

[3] Clinical Manual of Oriental Medicine. 2nd Edition by Dr. John Chen PharmD

[4] U.S. National Library of Medicine Menopause Information 

[5] Menopausal Symptoms and CAM

[6] THE TREATMENT OF MENOPAUSAL SYNDROME WITH CHINESE HERBS Subhuti Dharmananda, Ph.D., Director, Institute for Traditional Medicine, Portland, Oregon