How Acupuncture helps with Menopause.
Menopause occurs naturally, or as a result of surgery or medical treatment (usually for certain “hormonal-type” cancers). This means that most women and a small, yet significant number of men, will at some stage struggle with a number of unpleasant and sometimes debilitating physical, mental and emotional changes. In Brisbane, natural health treatments are on the up rise as more people are getting awareness about the benefits of natural treatments including acupuncture and menopause help.
What are some of the most Common Concerns during the Menopause transition?
- Hot flushes, drenching sweats or chills
- Insomnia or disrupted sleep
- Anxiety, depression, irritability, mood swings
- Foggy thinking
- Weight gain
- Low energy
- Genito-urinary concerns, such as dryness, itching, irritable bladder, painful intercourse, thrush
- Erratic periods with or without very heavy bleeding
These symptoms can greatly interfere with quality of life and for people undergoing cancer treatments, the sudden onset of peri-menopause places an extra burden on mind and body.
How can Acupuncture help?
One of the fastest ways to bring relief is to have gentle, regular acupuncture. Acupuncture can help reduce the number and intensity of hot flushes, often from the first treatment. Due to its soothing and relaxing nature, it also helps with anxiety, insomnia, moodiness, relaxation and general well-being.
Because acupuncture has no significant side-effects, and does not interact with chemotherapy or other pharmaceutical medicines, acupuncture is an ideal supportive treatment for people who have cancer or other complex health conditions. Women in natural menopausal transition usually do very well with a combination of acupuncture and herbal medicine.
At Brisbane Livewell Clinic we custom-make herbal formulas for each person, and we find this enhances and speeds up progress. We also use a variety of other remedies and supplements to help with the other discomforts of “natural” menopause. As our approach is holistic, lifestyle and dietary guidance are an important part of our work together, initially, and over the ensuing months and years.
If stubborn weight gain or thyroid problems are an issue, your acupuncturist will work with one of our naturopaths for a true holistic treatment, focusing on your entire hormonal system, gut health and food intolerances. Our goal is to get each client to a point where symptoms are much less intense and more manageable, so that life is more enjoyable.
During the following months and years, we help you to be more vital, flexible, healthy and strong, all the way into your “golden years.”
Liz is a 52 year old mother of four teenagers, works part-time in the family business, donates her time to her favourite charity each month, visits her ageing parents twice a week, and attends to most of the household chores.
In recent months, hot flushes have become unbearable and frequent, at night and during the day. Liz has drenching sweats and bright red flushing which are very noticeable and embarrassing.
She is very concerned that these days she is either frustrated and “on a short fuse”, or weepy for no reason.
Liz no longer sleeps well, is always tired, and struggles to concentrate and focus. She jokes that she is losing her sanity, feels unappreciated by her family, and never has time for herself.
Liz is concerned that despite regular exercise, her waistline is increasing, and she often craves sweet foods and chocolate. She’s also getting thrush more often than ever before.
Course Of Action
For women like Liz, our immediate priority is to reduce intensity and frequency of hot flushes, settle the emotions, and restore refreshing sleep patterns.
An initial course of 4-6 weekly acupuncture sessions is needed, with herbal medicines and nutritional supplements to support the treatment process, and to address her other concerns.
Along the way, we’ll take a look at dietary intake and lifestyle factors, and suggest easy, practical changes.
After a month or so, Liz will be ready to step down to fortnightly acupuncture treatments, as her hot flushes become less intense and less frequent, her moods stabilise, and sleep is less disrupted.
After another month or two, Liz will only need acupuncture every three weeks or so to keep the hot flushes at bay, and to maintain refreshing sleep. She will continue with herbal medicines and supplements, and will notice that stress and being particularly busy always seem to trigger a recurrence of intense hot flushes. When that happens, Liz knows to come in for an extra acupuncture treatment, and to schedule a massage or other enjoyable “time out” for herself.
Felicity is a 46 year old professional with two young children in primary school. Her partner runs his own business, and is often interstate or overseas. Felicity describes herself as a perfectionist, and “driven”.
She works 35+ hours each week, participates in many school and community activities, rarely gets to bed before 11pm, and is up at 5am preparing breakfast and school lunches. Felicity is also involved with her husband’s business, attending numerous work-related functions each year.
Wiry and thin, Felicity skips meals if busy or stressed. On weekends she unwinds with a 10-20 km run.
Felicity originally came for treatment of irregular, infrequent, very light periods and mild anxiety. A thorough case history revealed that Felicity had entered peri-menopause (menopause transition).
Felicity struggled with this, as she didn’t see herself as “old enough” to be approaching menopause.
Course Of Action
Unable to make time for regular acupuncture visits, Felicity requested herbal medicine to treat her concerns, and we didn’t see her again for several months.
Felicity later returned to us for help with numerous, mild hot flushes at night. She was struggling to get to sleep again after each episode. After a month of treatment with powdered herbal medicines, it was evident Felicity needed a different treatment strategy, as she was still being woken by hot flushes, and lying awake at night, fretting about menopause.
During our next session together, we discussed significant changes to Felicity’s lifestyle and diet (she needed to eat regularly, and to include convenient, nutrient-dense, unprocessed foods). Felicity agreed that she needed to get to bed before 10pm each night, to schedule fewer activities each week, to make time for regular treatments, and to enjoy regular meals.
We adjusted Felicity’s herbal prescriptions to include naturopathic supplements, and Felicity decided to schedule alternate massage and acupuncture treatments each fortnight.
Within two months, Felicity was sleeping most nights without hot flushes, was less anxious and less irritable, and had more physical and intellectual energy each day.
She had also accepted the unpredictability of menstrual periods at this time of life.
We work with each woman’s unique needs, as we understand that many women want and need to be the decision-makers about their treatment and care.