For women, menopause can be like sailing in the ocean: a plain sailing and calm journey for some or a very rocky, choppy and unsettling journey for others.
Many years ago, when I was learning the theory behind Chinese Medicine, I remember reading that there are “life gates” that women go through every eight years (it is seven years for men) and at forty-eight years of age, the description for this particular life gate for women was: “the dew of heaven dries up”.
Well, I thought that description did not make it sound a very pleasant prospect for the future…
So I much prefer this excerpt from the book Women’s Guide to a Hormone-Free Menopause – by Dr. Nan Lu:
“TCM sees menopause as a deep energy shift that extends beyond physical changes. It’s a natural and normal part of a woman’s life, yet it has the power to affect her mind, emotions and spirit. Menopause is an energy gateway—a unique chance for a woman to prepare her body, mind and spirit for a healthy, long life. It’s a time when she can heal, strengthen herself, and balance and harmonise her energies. Menopause creates the opportunity for a transformation, a new beginning, as a woman becomes free to discover, pursue or complete her life’s mission and touch her spirit—and the spirits of those around her—in a profound and meaningful “.
Menopause is unique for each woman and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) sees each person’s symptoms not as part of a universal disease, but as a condition distinctive to the individual.
Normally, between the age of 40 – 55 years old, women experience a natural stop to the menstrual cycle and therefore, their fertility. This happens because the ovaries stop producing the hormones oestrogen and progesterone.
According to TCM theory, menopausal symptoms can vary in there severity, but essentially it’s a deficiency in “Kidney Yin.”
This terminology is often used when referring to the ageing of both men and women. The “kidney organ system,” is responsible for our ageing process and can easily become depleted or deficient. It controls both the Kidney Yin and Yang energy and controls growth, development and ageing. Yang is the energy of movement and represents daytime and heat. Yin is the energy of stillness, nighttime and coolness. Stress and ageing cause damage to our Yin, which we can see in symptoms such as night sweats and insomnia as we move towards menopause.
But menopause can also seen as a deficiency of Kidney Yang energy. In this case, both Yin and Yang energy need balancing and nourishing.
Signs and symptoms
The symptoms vary enormously in severity and frequency. Some of the common ones include:
- Changes in the pattern of your menstrual cycle (e.g. periods heavier, lighter, further apart or closer together)
- Hot flushes
- Night sweats
- Mood swings
- Vaginal dryness
- Thinning of hair and bones
- Dry eyes, hair, brittle nails
So…what can you do?
Treatment will focus on nourishing, moistening and cooling the body, helping to balance the body to alleviate the symptoms described above. This is done by strengthening Kidney “essence” and building up the Qi and fluids.
Chinese herbal prescriptions can also be used as they work to enhance acupuncture treatments.
Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine can help to balance hormones and lessen the symptoms associated with menopause, so you feel like your normal self again.
Acupuncture Increases Post Menopause Sex Drive
Some women experience a loss of sexual desire, mainly post menopause. There are other considerations of possible causes before deciding that it is the menopause alone responsible for the lowered libido. Acupuncture treatments combined with Chinese Herbal Medicine can help to increase your libido and decrease stress.
Avoiding certain foods and drinks like: caffeine, tea, alcohol and spicy foods – which are known to trigger hot flushes – may help to lessen the severity and frequency of them.
Adding soya milk and tofu to your diet is said to be helpful. Drinking warm soya milk in the morning and evening is a good tip!
Exercise is very important for lots of reasons: it helps you to sleep better, aids weight loss, combats stress and tension and generally improves the quality of life at this time.
Exercise such as Tai Qi, Qi Gong and Yoga are gentle exercises that can help restore the balance on a physical, mental and emotional level.
How risky is weight gain?
Many women find it hard to lose weight at this time and for a lot of them, the weight seems to be increasing for no reason.
Weight gain can have serious implications for your health. Excess weight increases the risk of high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes.
In turn, these conditions increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. So the combination of acupuncture, diet, exercise and maybe even Chinese Herbal Medicine can be the determining factor in maintaining a healthy weight.
If you have any specific questions you want to ask us about your condition, signs and symptoms, please feel free to contact us by clicking here.