Menopause literally means the "end of monthly cycles" However, in common parlance, the word "menopause" usually refers not to one day, but to the whole of the menopause transition years. This span of time is also commonly called the change of life, the change, or the climacteric and more recently is known as "perimenopause", (literally meaning "around menopause").
During menopause, a woman's ovaries stop making eggs and they produce less estrogen and progesterone. These changes cause symptoms which can to vary from woman to women.Menopause is complete when you have not had a period for 1 year. This is called postmenopause. Postmenopausal women can no longer get pregnant.
Common symptoms of menopause include:
- Menstrual periods that occur less often and eventually stop
- Heart pounding or racing
- Hot flashes, usually worst during the first 1 - 2 years
- Night sweats
- Skin flushing
- Sleeping problems (insomnia)
Other symptoms of menopause may include:
- Decreased interest in sex, possibly decreased response to sexual stimulation
- Forgetfulness (in some women)
- Mood swings including irritability, depression, and anxiety
- Urine leakage
- Vaginal dryness and painful sexual intercourse
- Vaginal infections
- Joint aches and pains
- Irregular heartbeat (palpitations)
Acupuncture and TCM treatment
Yin deficiency: Menstruation is very irregular (scanty in amount or ceased completely), heat and irritable sensation in the chest, palms and soles, hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, insomnia, profuse dreams, chest tightness, recurrent headaches or migraines, skin itching, dry eyes, dry mouth, skin dryness, hair loss, hypoesthesia or cramps in the limbs, altered mood, irritability, easy anger, fear and anxiety, dizziness, decrease of the memory, yellow colored urination, dry stools, the tongue is red and covered with a light coating (or without coating) and the pulse is weak or fine and rapid.
- Treatment principle: Nourish Kidney Yin.
- Acupuncture: Qihai (Ren 6) - Shenshu (Bl 23) - Guanyuan (Ren 4) - Taixi (Kid 3) - Sanyinjiao (Sp 6).
- Herbal prescripcion: Zuo Gui Yin (for Yin deficiency of Kidney) ; Qi Ju Di Huang (Liver and Kidney deficiency plus Liver Yang Rising) - Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan (for Heart and Kidney deficiency).
Yang deficiency: Heavy menstrual bleeding, metrorrhagia or complete ceasing of menstruation, lack of sex drive (lack of libido), despondency, cold limbs, cold appearance, inability to get warm, moderate headache (it might increase by the fatigue), the face is dark and glossy, tendency to overweight, loose stools, profuse clear urine, polyuria, urinary incontinence, spontaneous sweating, lassitude, soreness and weakness of the lower back and knees, edema of the face and limbs. The tongue is pale with white coat and the pulse is slow, deep and weak.
- Treatment principle: Warm the Kidney Yang, strengthen the spleen Qi and nourish the blood.
- Acupuncture: Mingmen (Du 4) - Shenshu (Bl 23) - Qihai (Ren 6) - Guanyuan (Ren 4) - Taixi (Kid 3) - Fuliu (Kid 7) - Zusanli (St 36) - Sanyinjiao (Sp 6) - Pishu (Bl 20).
- Moxibustion: Mingmen (Du 4) - Shenshu (Bl 23) - Qihai (Ren 6) - Guanyuan (Ren 4)
- Herbal perscripcion: You Gui Wan + Li Zhong Wang
Lifestyle and Dietary Instructions
- Menopause patients are encouraged to follow a diet with a high content of raw foods, fruits and vegetables to stabilize blood sugar.
- They should avoid the foods that may promote hot flashes or changes mood, such as: red meats, alcohol, sugar, spicy foods, and caffeine.
- In addition, smoking or exposure to second-hand smoke should be avoided as they may dry up yin and body fluid.
- The practise of Qi gong or Yoga can help in order to avoid the ansiety and emotional tension.