Acupuncture for Menstrual to Menopausal symptoms
A Woman’s well-being is intrinsically linked to their menstrual cycle and the hormonal changes at different stages of their life. Traditional Chinese medicine has been treating women’s health issues for thousands of years and recognised premenstrual syndrome (PMS), as an actual condition and devised how to treat it, long before the West did.
From a Chinese medicine view point, how well a woman’s body is in balance will be reflected throughout her life through her menstrual cycle, fertility and during the menopause.
Acupuncture is an effective treatment for creating or restoring hormonal balance and can help with a wide range of conditions, such as:
- PMS symptoms - mood swings, bloating and tiredness
- Menstrual cramps (Dysmenorrhea)
- Regulating the menstrual cycle
- Hormonal headaches prior to and during the period
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
Stress and worry, working long hours, poor diet, chronic ill health and emotional states such as grief and anxiety can all be factors that impact on a woman’s hormonal balance and can lead to symptoms such as PMS or painful and irregular periods.
Many researchers now believe that PMS is influenced by fluctuations of hormones in the brain. Research has shown that acupuncture treatment can help to alter the brain’s mood chemistry, reducing serotonin levels and increasing endorphins, which can help to lift mood and alleviate negative emotional states.
There is also good evidence to show that acupuncture is an effective treatment for reducing the intensity of menstrual cramps and the length of time that pain is experienced.
Unlike when using painkillers for when symptoms occur, the treatment does not just focus on the symptoms, but works to prevent or reduce period pain for future cycles.
Recent systematic reviews of acupuncture research for menstrual cramps (primary dysmenorrhea) found that both acupuncture (Cho 2010a) and acupressure (Cho 2010b) provided more pain relief than pharmacological treatments.
Acupuncture for Menopause relief
Going through the menopause is a natural occurrence but it can be a challenging time. For many women the menopause can bring physical and or psychological discomfort.
The symptoms can vary from woman to woman and are caused by hormonal fluctuations and decreases in oestrogen and progesterone levels that occur during the menopausal transition and during the menopause, when the periods cease completely.
Research studies have found that:
“A brief course of acupuncture may help to ease troublesome, menopausal symptoms”
(BMJ Open) 19 February 2019
The researchers concluded that acupuncture offers “a realistic treatment option for women who can’t or don’t want to use hormone replacement therapy (HRT)".
The study further concluded that among women with moderate to severe symptoms, acupuncture was associated with reductions in hot flushes, excess sweating, mood swings, sleep disturbances and skin and hair problems.
A course of acupuncture treatment can help restore hormonal balance and help with menopausal symptoms by:
- Regulating the hormones
- Reducing hot flushes and night sweats
- Helping with insomnia and sleep disturbances
- Helping to balance mood swings and irritability
- Increasing relaxation and reducing tension