Menopause marks the permanent ending of a person’s periods, and it is the last phase of the reproductive cycle.
During menopause, your body goes through significant hormonal changes, including reduced estrogen production by your ovaries.
These hormonal changes can affect your whole body; but there is natural menopause management available which may aid in controlling the symptoms.
One of the treatments available to help with symptoms of menopause is acupuncture.
But what is menopause, and how can acupuncture help with menopause symptoms?
Keep reading to find out.
What Is Menopause?
Menopause is the ceasing of menstruation, and the term can describe any of the changes you go through just before or just after stopping menstruation.
Menstruation ceases because you are born with a limited number of eggs in your ovaries; when there are no eggs remaining, menopause begins.
In most cases, menopause occurs naturally after the age of 40.
It can also occur due to a hysterectomy (surgical removal of the uterus) or damage to the ovaries, such as due to chemotherapy.
If menopause occurs before the age of 40, it is considered to be premature menopause.
Natural menopause occurs in three stages:
● Perimenopause occurs several years before menopause; the ovaries begin to produce less estrogen, and menopausal symptoms may occur
● Menopause begins a year after the last menstrual period; ovaries are no longer releasing eggs and are releasing reduced levels of estrogen
● Postmenopause is the years after menopause; symptoms of menopause usually lessen, but health risks due to lower estrogen levels increase
Common Symptoms Of Menopause
The most common symptom associated with menopause is hot flashes, or the sudden feeling of warmth throughout the upper body.
It can also be associated with sweating and redness.
Other symptoms that you may experience include:
● Irregular periods
● Depression or anxiety
● Joint pain
● Muscle pain
● Bladder control problems
Symptoms vary on a person-to-person basis.
What Is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the use of very thin needles, heat, or pressure on specific points on the body.
The theory behind acupuncture is that stimulating these points affects the body’s “Qi”, or natural energy, either by release or redirection.
Acupuncture can also stimulate endorphins, which can help block pain signals.
Acupuncture For Menopause
Although acupuncture cannot affect the onset of menopause, it can help with menopausal symptom management.
Here are some of the ways acupuncture can be effective in reducing menopause symptoms.
1. It Can Reduce Hot Flashes
A recent study found that acupuncture significantly reduced the frequency and severity of hot flashes.
Furthermore, this study found acupuncture has positive long-term effects on hot flashes.
2. It Can Reduce The Effects Of Lost Libido
One of the potential symptoms of menopause is that it can cause a lowered libido.
A 2016 study was done with premenopausal patients with HSDD, or hypoactive sexual desire disorder, which is the most common type of sexual dysfunction in women.
In this study, they tested the effects of twice-weekly 25-minute acupuncture sessions, and found sexual function improved within 5 weeks of receiving consecutive acupuncture treatment.
3. It Can Help Manage Weight Gain
Changes in hormone levels can cause weight gain during menopause.
A clinical trial in 2012 studied the effects of acupuncture on weight gain, lipid profile, immunogenic and inflammatory markers.
The study combined lower calorie diets with acupuncture treatment in obese patients.
When the effects of lower calorie diets alone were compared with the effects when combined with acupuncture, it was found that changes in most of the parameters (weight gain, lipid profile, immunogenic and inflammatory markers) were more significant when acupuncture was used in addition to a diet change.
4. It May Help Reduce Symptoms Of Anxiety And Depression
Acupuncture treatment can release endorphins, which can help in the treatment of patients with depressive or anxiety disorders.
Multiple studies are being performed to test the correlation between acupuncture treatment and anxiety and depression; although research is still being done, results are promising so far.
Contact The Mindful Healing Clinic
Acupuncture has many potential benefits if you are premenopausal, menopausal, or postmenopausal.
If you are in one of the stages of menopause, contact me, Dr. Maria Cavallazzi, at the Mindful Healing Clinic.
During your initial appointment, you and I will sit down and chat about your menopause and if acupuncture will be an effective treatment for your symptoms.
From there, we’ll create a treatment plan based on your unique health needs.
Contact the Mindful Healing Clinic to book your FREE 15-minute introductory session today.
Until next time,
Dr. Maria Cavallazzi is a medical doctor from Colombia where she practiced as a family physician for 8 years until she moved to Canada 16 years ago and became a naturopathic doctor in Mississauga.