How does acupuncture and oriental medicine
treat menopause syndromes?
Juan Li OMD( China ). MS. L.Ac
Menopause syndrome is a series of signs and symptoms for a woman adjusting to declining ovarian function as a normal part of aging, or as the result of the surgical removal of both ovaries. The average age for the onset of menopause is 51. Symptoms of menopause is primarily due to estrogen deficiency and the autonomic nervous system, resulting in responses that may be severe and last a few months or several years (mostly 1~3 years). Surgical menopause due to bilateral oophorectomy is common and can cause more severe symptoms due to the sudden and rapid drop in sex hormone levels.
Menopause syndrome includes cessation of menstruation, hot flushes, sweating, vaginal dryness; osteoporosis and elevated FSH and LH serum levels. Menstrual cycles generally become irregular with occasional menorrhagia. The flow usually diminishes due to decreased estrogen secretion. Finally cycles become longer with missed periods or irregular spotting. Hot flashes (feelings of intense heat over the trunk and face along with flushing and sweating of the skin) occur in 80% of women due to a decrease in ovarian hormones. With decreased estrogen, thinning of the vaginal mucosa and decreased vaginal lubrication may result in dyspareunia.
Because each body reacts differently to the same changes, some women are asymptomatic during this decrease in ovarian hormones while others suffer with severe symptoms. Is it possible to change your body's reaction? With the help of acupuncture and herbal medicine it is possible to go through menopause with little or no symptoms.
Because of the increased risk breast cancer with estrogen therapy—particularly for women with a family history of this disease-- more and more women are searching for natural way for their menopause syndrome without the use of estrogens. The safe and natural way with no side effects can be achieved through acupuncture and oriental herbal medicine.
Chinese medicine follows the theory menstruation is the sign of kidney function properly. The kidney function in this theory is not referring to the extra-cellular fluid regulation of the body as it does in traditional West medicine. Chinese medicine refers to kidney function as the storing of essence, domination development and reproduction. The ability to grow, develop, and reproduced is related to the healthy or decline of the essential “qi”(vital activities or energies) in kidney function.
In childhood, the essential qi flourishes in adolescence and with young females eventually experiencing the onset of menstruation that reflects the ripening of the sexual function. As the essential qi of the kidney diminishes with age, our reproductive ability and sexual function disappears and the body eventually begins to fail.
The first Chinese medical book, “The Yellow Emperor Internal Classic,” the first Chinese medicine book was written 2000 years ago and states:
At the age of 14, a woman will begin to menstruate, her Ren Meridian begin to flow, and the qi of the Chong Meridian begins to flourish and enable to become pregnant. At the age 49, the qi of the Ren Meridian becomes exhausted and weakened, menstruation ceases, and she is no longer able to become pregnant.”
The essential qi consists of the kidney's yin and yang. Kidney yin is the foundation of the yin fluid of the whole body that moistens and nourishes the zang-fu organs and tissues. Kidney yang is the foundation of the yang qi of whole body that warms and promotes the functions of the zang-fu organs and tissues. Yin and yang are both lodged in the kidney and said to be “the house of water and fire” according to this ancient Chinese medical book.
Kidney yin and yang both restrict and promote each other within human body, maintaining a dynamic physiological equilibrium. Once this equilibrium is disrupted, pathological changes due to the imbalance of yin and yang in the kidney will manifest. Menopause is the deficiency of kidney yin, which in turn will fail to control the yang and eventually result in hyperactivity of the body. The symptoms are heat sensations, night sweats and seminal emission in males or sexual dreams in females.
Acupuncture treatments can reinforce kidney yin through the meridians, and turn the kidney yin and kidney yang from imbalance situation to one of restored balance. The main points we use are Shenshu(U.B.23), Taixi(K.3) and Sanyijiao(Sp.6).
Herbal medicine reinforces and nourishes kidney's yin to match kidney's yang and balance of kidney yin and yang. The basic formula is Liu Wei Di Huang Wan. The treatment and herb will help your body to adjust to the hormone change (kidney yin and yang change in Chinese medicine) and go through the menopause period with little or no symptoms.
We strong recommend adding more soy products with proven amounts of natural estrogen to your meals, and taking 1,000 mg calcium daily (if you don't consume milk products) with vitamin D 400 units daily from food, sunlight, or supplement to enhance calcium absorption.
Qi : Vital activities or energy in this article.
Yi and Yang : General term for two opposite aspects of matters in nature that interrelated with each other. These relationships between yin and yang are extensively used in traditional Chinese medicine to explain the physiology and pathology of the human body. Those with the basic properties of fire-such as heat, movement, brightness, upward and outward direction, excitement and potency -- pertain to yang. Those with the basic properties of water -- such as coldness, stillness, dimness, downward and inward direction, inhibition and weakness -- pertain to yin.
Zang-fu : Zang is the conjoint name referring to the heart, liver, spleen, lung and kidney collectively. They are also called the “five-fu.” Fu is the conjoint name referring to the small intestine, gallbladder, stomach, large intestine and bladder. They are also called six-fu.
Ren Meridian (Channel): One of the eight extra meridians running along the midline of the abdomen and the chest and going upward to the chin. Because it meets all of the yin meridians, it is called “the sea of the yin meridians.” Its function is to receive and bear the qi of yin meridians.
Chong Meridian (Channel): One of the eight extra meridian running parallel to the kidney meridian and meeting all of the 12 regular meridians. Its function is to reservoir the qi and blood of the 12 regular meridians.
FSH : Follicle Stimulating Hormone
LH : Luteinizing Hormone