by Stef Cordes and Lisa Baird
Menopause is usually a completely natural process, but it can come with it’s fair-share of uncomfortable symptoms. Hot flashes, sleep issues, and mood changes are common and can be anywhere from uncomfortable & annoying to unbearable.
Some common symptoms include:
- Night sweats and hot flashes
- Thinning or loss of hair
The onset of menopause occurs 12 months after the last period, but changes in the menstrual cycle can happen for months or years before menopause. This transition phase is called “perimenopause” and this is usually when the above symptoms are at their peak. At around 40 years old ovaries start to produce lower levels of estrogen and progesterone, and as these levels decrease more and more over time our mood, sleep, and temperature regulation can be affected.
These symptoms reflect a biological shift that is in progress, so it’s pretty rare for acupuncture to remove every symptom immediately. Acupuncture does, however, often provide remarkable relief. We have seen night sweats disappear, hot flashes decreased significantly in frequency and severity, people feeling more grounded and emotionally stable after treatment—and, perhaps best of all, people reporting to us delightedly: “I slept through the night.”
Various studies have confirmed acupuncture as an effective treatment for the symptoms of menopause. A meta-analysis (compilation of data to combine the results of several studies) conducted in 2015 found acupuncture to decrease the frequency and severity of hot flashes and reduce other menopause-related symptoms.
Whether you’re in perimenopause or menopause, whether it’s occurred naturally or because of a hysterectomy or a course of chemotherapy, acupuncture has an amazing ability to help the mental/emotional/physical body adjust more smoothly. If you have questions about how acupuncture can support you through perimonopause or menopause, please get in touch.
Borud, E, Alraek, T, White, A, Fonnebo, V, Eggen, A, Hammar, M, Astrand, L, Theodorsson, E, & Grimsgaard, S (2009). The Acupuncture on Hot Flushes Among Menopausal Women (ACUFLASH) study, a randomized controlled trial. Menopause, 16(3), 484-93.
Chiu, H, Pan, C, Shyu, Y, Han, B, & Tsai, P (2015). Effects of acupuncture on menopause-related symptoms and quality of life in women in natural menopause: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Menopause, 22(2), 234-244.
Kim, H, Kang, K, Kim, D, Kim, H, Yoon, H, Lee, J, Jeong, J, Lee, M, Jung, H, & Choi, S (2010). Effects of acupuncture on hot flashes in perimenopausal and postmenopausal women – a multicenter randomized clinical trial. Menopause, 17(2), 269-80.