For many women, the journey through menopause can be fraught with various symptoms that can range in severity from mild at one end of the spectrum to debilitating at the other. The menopausal transition is different for every woman and tailored treatments offered by acupuncture can provide significant benefits. Although studies outline more, let’s look at just three of the benefits of using acupuncture to treat menopausal symptoms.
Most people in general (even men) associate hot flashes with menopause. And hot flashes can be one of the most unfortunate and uncomfortable symptoms. However, a 2014 study suggests acupuncture could be the ticket to reducing the severity and frequency of hot flashes.
Hot flashes are defined as a feeling of heat over all or parts of the body causing redness of the face and neck, red blotches on the arms, back and chest, as well as heavy sweating. The most common treatment is hormone therapy, but such treatments have been shown to increase the risk of stroke, cancer, and heart disease.
In a 2016 study, 209 perimenopausal and postmenopausal women aged 45-60 years of age who experienced four or more vasomotor symptoms (like hot flashes) per day were recruited to receive up to 20 acupuncture treatments within the first six months. Researchers concluded that a course of acupuncture treatments was “associated with a significant reduction in vasomotor symptoms, and several quality-of-life measures, compared with no acupuncture, and that clinical benefit persisted for at least six months beyond the end of treatment.”
Depression and Anxiety
Many menopausal women can also suffer from mood disorders like depression and anxiety. A 2013 study found that “acupuncture was ‘promising’ as a therapy for menopausal women with depression.” A quick Google search finds that various studies show that acupuncture can offer relief to a variety of symptoms but is significantly under utilized in clinical practice today.
Poor Sleep and Insomnia
Research also points to acupuncture as a help in dealing with poor sleep and insomnia related to menopause. A 2015 review included 12 studies examining the effectiveness of acupuncture for sleep disorders in post-menopausal women. These dozen studies utilized a variety of treatment protocols, interventions, and various durations of time. But researchers ultimately found that 75% of participants reported improvements in sleep following acupuncture treatment.
As mentioned previously, menopause is unique to each woman. Women who have had children may have a different experience compared to those who have not in terms of type and severity of symptoms. Your acupuncturist will go through a detailed health history and examination to determine your specific needs. You don’t have to accept poor sleep, mood swings, or hot flashes as just something to endure. Talk to your acupuncturist today and explore your options. They can develop a treatment plan that fits your needs and makes the menopause journey a bit less turbulent!