World Menopause Day is held every year on the 18th of October to help raise awareness of the menopause and the support options available to help improve health and wellbeing during this phase of life.
The menopause is a natural part of ageing that usually occurs between 45 and 55 years of age, as a woman’s oestrogen levels decline. It is said to have occurred when a woman has not had a period for 12 consecutive months and can no longer get pregnant. Many of the symptoms usually attributed to ‘the menopause’ actually occur during the peri-menopause phase, and include:
- hot flushes
- night sweats
- vaginal dryness and discomfort during sex
- difficulty sleeping
- low mood or anxiety
- reduced sex drive (libido)
- problems with memory and concentration
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) can relieve many symptoms; however it is not suitable for all women. A recent study published in the BMJ Open suggests acupuncture to be a viable alternative treatment. The Danish study found that 5 weeks of acupuncture in women with menopausal symptoms reduced flushes, night sweats, sleep disturbances and emotional problems.(1) Read the full text here
Previous studies have also shown that acupuncture in addition to usual care is associated with marked clinical improvements in hot flushes and menopause-related symptoms in peri-menopausal or post-menopausal women.(2) (3) (4)
Acupuncture may help reduce symptoms of the menopause and perimenopause by:
- regulating serum estradiol, follicle stimulating hormone and luteotrophic hormone (Xia 2008);
- increasing relaxation and reducing tension (Samuels 2008). Acupuncture can alter the brain’s mood chemistry, reducing serotonin levels (Zhou 2008) and increasing endorphins (Han, 2004) and neuropeptide Y levels (Lee 2009), which can help to combat negative affective states.
- stimulating nerves located in muscles and other tissues, which leads to release of endorphins and other neurohumoral factors, and changes the processing of pain in the brain and spinal cord (Pomeranz, 1987, Zijlstra 2003, Cheng 2009).
You can find out more about the acupuncturists at York clinic by visiting their page on our website
1) Lund KS, Siersma V, Brodersen J, et al“Efficacy of a standardised acupuncture approach for women with bothersome menopausal symptoms: a pragmatic randomised study in primary care (the ACOM study)” BMJ Open 2019;9:e023637. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-023637
2) Kim KH et al. Effects of acupuncture on hot flashes in perimenopausal and postmenopausal women-a multicenter randomized clinical trial. Menopause 2010; 17: 269-80.
3) Borud EK et al. The Acupuncture on hot flushes among menopausal women (ACUFLASH) study, a randomized controlled trial. Menopause 2009; 16: 484-93.
4) Borud EK et al. The acupuncture on hot flashes among menopausal women study: Observational follow-up results at 6 and 12 months. Menopause 2010; 17: 262-8.