Age Easier with Acupuncture for Menopause
Menopause. Women dread it and men tend to hide from it. The infamous symptoms can be unyielding and difficult to deal with, especially when symptoms persist for years. While there’s often thought to be just one option to help ease aging women, there’s another option that should always be on the table: acupuncture for menopause.
Causes and Symptoms of Menopause
Menopause is a natural process that begins when a woman’s menstrual period has stopped for at least one year. It typically occurs between the ages of 44 and 55 with 51 as the average age of onset. Then there’s perimenopause, which can start as early 10 years before menopause actually takes place. Women can experience menopause even earlier if they’ve had their ovaries surgically removed or sometimes if they are smokers, have a severe illness or have undergone cancer treatments.
The decline in hormone production causes the characteristic menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, disturbed sleep, recurring headaches or migraines, vaginal dryness, painful intercourse, loss of sex drive, incontinence, memory lapses, difficulty concentrating, weight gain and muscle and bone loss. Virtually all women experience some symptoms, but how many, to what degree and for how long all vary.
Because menopause is a natural part of aging and affects women differently, and because it doesn’t affect men, the significant impact it can have on a women’s life is often played down by physicians and family members. But if you are one of those women who has most, if not all, of the telltale symptoms, your life is severely altered and you want help!
Treatments to Ease Symptoms – Women Have a Choice
Standard Western medicine suggests hormone replacement therapy (HRT) as treatment. This can come in the form of patches, creams or oral medications and they can be synthetic or bio-identical formulations. Benefits of HRT include slowed bone, muscle and hair loss and weight gain, plus increased libido. While HRT is effective, it also comes with some risks. Not all risks are clear, but they depend on the patient’s age, health history, family health history and severity of symptoms. Risks also depend on what combination of hormones are prescribed and in what form.
For some women, these benefits of HRT outweigh the potential risks, though it’s not a treatment for everyone. Some women can’t take replacement hormones and others just don’t want to risk it. But there’s another option. Acupuncture for menopause and herbs are very effective for treating several menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, disturbed sleep, recurring headaches or migraines. They can also help treat loss of sex drive, incontinence, memory lapses and difficulty concentrating, depending on the person. Acupuncture is completely safe to reduce symptoms – no risks or side effects. Herbs are often used to treat more severe cases and symptoms. Chinese herbs are prescribed regularly and safely for menopause in many parts of Asia and Europe, as well as the United States. It’s important to see a qualified herbalist, though, because certain herbs can directly increase estrogen levels, which may be inappropriate for certain patients.
Why use Acupuncture for Menopause
Don’t get me wrong, HRT is a good choice for some women and their symptoms. Part of the reason HRT helps is that it artificially postpones menopause. Sometimes that’s important to a woman and her situation, sometimes it is even necessary. The issue I have with it is that it’s often the only option given. Acupuncture for menopause should be part of every woman’s treatment choices.
What is so great about acupuncture and herbs is that they gently ease a woman into menopause rather than delaying the symptoms. Symptoms are reduced and hormones are still naturally being produced in the body, helping women live better. With synthetic hormones, even the bioidentical ones, hormones are being replaced by medications so that when you stop taking them, you experience all the symptoms of menopause, just later in life. Another important point to consider: acupuncture and herbs can be a treatment for transitioning off of HRT, too.
So women take heart. Aging can be a wonderful thing; let’s not fear it but rather celebrate it and seek out ALL the options, even the ones your doctor might not tell you about. If you’re suffering from any menopausal symptoms, contact me to schedule a complimentary consultation and we’ll see if acupuncture and herbs are the right choice for you.