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Menopause Symptom Relief With Acupuncture And Herbs

Hot flashes, sweating, irritability, mood swings, poor sleep, cravings, intense thirst, weight fluctuations, vaginal dryness, decreased libido, headaches, dizziness, worsening memory… if you are a person who menstruates, you may recognize this list. All of these symptoms (and many more) are associated with perimenopause and menopause, and disrupt quality of life for many patients. The good news? All of these symptoms can be effectively treated with appropriate use of acupuncture and herbal medicine. 


From the perspective of Chinese medicine, aging and menopause are not pathological. However, just because menopause is a natural part of life does not mean that all the symptoms that can come with menopause must be tolerated. Quite the opposite! Menopause syndrome is the name given to the symptoms commonly associated with the natural cessation of the monthly cycle, and it can make this transition time difficult and uncomfortable for many patients.

 

In Chinese medicine, our sex hormones such as estrogens, progesterone, and DHEA are chiefly ruled by the Kidney organ system, which also governs birth, development, reproduction and death. Essentially, the Kidney organ is in charge of our biological clock. As we age, the yin and yang substances of the Kidneys naturally decline. This may be likened to the natural decline in estrogen levels that precipitates the symptoms of menopause syndrome according to Western medicine. 


For people who menstruate, yin substances (such as blood) can be depleted over time due to monthly blood loss, eventually leading to a shortage of cooling, nourishing yin and relatively too much warming, dynamic yang. This is more likely in people who have a history of heavy bleeding and in people whose lifestyles have depleted their reserves of yin. Yin is damaged by not getting enough sleep, overworking, irregular or poor diet with too much spicy, sugary, processed foods, and by chronic stress. 


As yang becomes less and less balanced by dwindling yin, symptoms that are associated with the overbearance of warming yang and loss of cooling yin appear: hot flashes, sweating, dryness of the skin, hair, mucosa and nails; anxiety/irritability, headaches, insomnia, flushing, and so on are all symptoms of over exuberant yang unbalanced by diminished yin. By nourishing Kidney yin and restoring the balance of yin and yang in the body, acupuncture and herbs are effective tools to support the body and mind during the transitional time of menopause.


From the Western medicine perspective, studies have demonstrated that acupuncture and herbal medicine can treat menopause syndrome by regulating the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis, the system that allows our brain and adrenal glands, the source of our sex hormones, to communicate effectively (PMID: 29298078, 21383392, 34772331, 36921619, 27023860, 22314633). Dysfunction of this axis is a major cause of many of the uncomfortable symptoms of menopause syndrome including hot flashes, night sweating, inability to regulate body temperature, mood changes, cravings, weight fluctuations, sleep disturbances, and sexual dysfunction. 


At Mind + Body, our treatment plans include comprehensive assessment of your specific needs and personalized lifestyle recommendations in addition to acupuncture, herbs and bodywork to support you and relieve your symptoms. Whether your goal is to improve your sleep, relieve irritability and anxiety, or get relief from other uncomfortable menopause symptoms, we at Mind + Body offer compassionate care and comprehensive treatment made just for you. 


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contact us with questions: Madison Selby,madi.selby@mindplusbodyacu.com, Lisa Jones lisa.jones@mindplusbodyacu.com, or call the clinic at (512) 541-9673.

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