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How TCM Can Relieve The Symptoms of Menopause

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Treating menopause symptoms like migraine headaches in different parts of the world may not necessarily entail the use of the same treatment procedures. Different countries utilize different medicine beliefs and practices. When it comes to acupuncture and other forms of traditional Chinese medicine, however, Western societies have adopted these ancient Chinese modalities for the treatment of various emotional and physical maladies including menopause.

Menopause, from the perspective of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), is the phase in a woman’s life when her body ceases to perform the monthly reproductive cycle needed for her to reproduce. Practitioners of TCM believe that in menopause, a woman’s body has stopped menstruating in order to conserve vital energy (qi). This is to solely allocate this energy to her body as she ages.

A stark contrast exists in how women in western cultures deal with menopause as against women living in eastern societies. For the latter, menopause seems to be an uneventful event. Some argue that women in western societies usually eat a poor diet and live a stress-wracked and fast-paced lifestyle. This results in much more worse and severe symptoms of menopause for these women than their sisters in the East.

Despite the fact that menopause does indeed produce adverse symptoms TCM does not consider it to be a syndrome although they accept that menopausal women who suffer from menopause symptoms have certain issues related to their qi. This may include kidney yin deficiency and stagnant liver qi. Simply put, they suffer from an imbalance in their qi which negatively affects their body and mind.

Therefore, the aim of TCM treatment is to rectify these imbalances and treat each patient based on her unique symptoms. Acupuncture treatment is often used which is augmented by exercises, dietary and lifestyle modifications, and Chinese herbal medicine.

How does acupuncture work?

Acupuncture is anchored on the belief that the body has about 2000 acupuncture points scattered all over the body. Each of these points is connected to energy channels known as meridians that lie just underneath these points. Meridians are the energy vessels where qi is transported in every part of the body. Each of these meridians is associated with one or more internal organs. The unimpeded and normal flow of qi in the meridians means a healthy body and mind for the person.

For the treatment of menopause, the acupuncturist’s aim is to restore balance in the woman’s body. He accomplishes this by focusing treatment on acupoints directly or indirectly related to her symptoms.

The needles used in acupuncture therapy are made of stainless steel. They are extremely thin and are not the same as hypodermic needles used for injection or drawing blood. The needles are used to stimulate the energy channels and boost the flow of qi. Points on the legs, arms, shoulders, and even the feet may be selected for treatment. Under the hands of a licensed and skilled acupuncturist, the procedure is painless and will not result in bleeding or infection. A numbing or tingling sensation may be felt when a needle is inserted which rapidly vanishes and replaced by a very relaxing sensation. Treatment may last 20 minutes to an hour.

Studies have suggested that acupuncture is effective in treating menopause symptoms including:

-Vaginal dryness
-Anxiety
-Stress
-Insomnia
-Hot flashes

If you are seriously considering getting acupuncture for the relief of your menopause symptoms make sure you talk to an experienced and qualified practitioner to get the safest and best possible treatment.

 

Jamie Catlett is an acupuncturist in Jacksonville, FL and the founder of Jacksonville Acupuncture Clinic.

Written by Valerie

July 10th, 2015 at 10:31 am

Posted in Acupuncture

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Menopause Risk Factors

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Typically women begin to experience menopause symptoms from ages 40 up to 55. However, certain risk factors can alter a woman’s reproductive function and rhythm that can lead to an early onset of menopause.  Menopause that comes much earlier than expected is called premature ovarian failure or just plain premature menopause. Premature menopause starts before the woman reaches the age of 40 when she normally begins to experience menopause. In the United States, about 1% of women experience premature menopause each year.

Certain surgeries like oophorectomy, which is the surgical removal of the ovaries can cause the sudden onset of menopause. Radiation treatment particularly ones that damages the ovaries can also trigger premature menopause. A female can also experience early onset of menopause when she suffers from certain autoimmune conditions or a genetic disorder.

Surgeries

When a woman has an oophorectomy or even a hysterectomy, which is the surgical extraction of the uterus, the levels of progesterone and estrogen in her body drop dramatically. A lot of women experience premature menopause after undergoing pelvic surgery or cervical cancer surgery. If a woman has a bilateral oophorectomy, which is the taking out of both her ovaries, this will lead to her immediate menopause.

Radiation Therapy and Chemotherapy

The harmful radiation a woman is exposed to during radiation therapy can severely damage or destroy her ovaries and ovarian tissues leading to early menopause. The toxic drugs in chemotherapy also can likely damage or destroy not only her ovaries or ovarian tissues but her entire reproductive system as well.

Chromosome Defects

Flaws in the chromosomes of a woman can cause premature menopause. Turner syndrome is a condition wherein a girl is born with a chromosome set that is incomplete. This syndrome causes the girl’s ovaries to dysfunction and one of the effects of this dysfunction is her early entry into menopause.

Autoimmune Diseases

One typical symptom of a lot of autoimmune disease is premature menopause. When a female has an autoimmune problem, her immune system mistakenly recognizes a part of her body as a foreign object and therefore attacks it. The female’s ovaries and her ovarian tissues are often attacked and destroyed by her immune system when she has rheumatoid arthritis or thyroid disease, both autoimmune diseases. The attack and damage to her ovaries and ovarian tissues invariably leads to the early onset of menopause.

Epilepsy

For some reason, studies have shown that women suffering from epilepsy are at high risk for premature menopause.  Women with epilepsy often experience ovarian failure before the age of 40.  The study indicated that about 5% of women with epilepsy had premature menopause compared to only 1% of women who don’t suffer from any epileptic conditions.

Genetics

Premature menopause can be an inherited disorder and women who have family members or relatives who experienced premature menopause are at high risk to experience it themselves.

Smoking

There is a direct link of smoking women to premature menopause. Some studies have proven that certain chemicals in cigarettes are toxic to the eggs making them die prematurely.

Written by Valerie

January 19th, 2014 at 6:37 am

Posted in Acupuncture

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