The menopause is a natural transition in a woman’s life marking the end of menstruation (monthly periods). This means the ovaries stop ovulating (producing an egg) every four weeks and she will no longer have a monthly period or be able to have children.
The average age for a woman to reach the menopause is 52, although women can experience the menopause in their 30s or 40s.
What causes the menopause?
The menopause is caused by a decrease in oestrogen, the female sex hormone. Oestrogen regulates menstruation. When estrogen levels decrease, the ovaries stop ovulating and hormonal and biological changes commence.
Symptoms of the Menopause
The menopause can cause a wide range of physical and psychological symptoms. The first symptom is usually a change in the pattern of monthly periods. They become less frequent, with longer intervals in between each one, before stopping altogether. Other symptoms include:
- Hot flushes and night sweats
- Sleep problems, such as insomnia
- Irritability and mood swings, anxiety or tiredness
- Vaginal dryness and pain
- Loss of libido (sexual desire)
- Urinary tract infections
Symptoms will usually last from two to five years before disappearing, although they can last longer. Vaginal symptoms, such as dryness, can sometimes persist and get worse as you get older.
The Traditional Chinese Medicine Perspective on the Menopause
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has successfully treated menopausal women for thousands of years and continues to do so today, providing a powerful, safe, gentle and natural transition that gives women the chance to heal, strengthen, balance and harmonise body, mind, and spirit without the use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT). It is a fact that whilst the majority of Western women experience noticeable menopausal discomfort, only 10% of Chinese women experience the same.It is believed that two factors account for this difference: diet and Chinese Herbal Medicine.
Traditional Chinese Medicine considers the changes which occur during the menopause to be primarily attributable to:
- A deficiency of Jing, which is similar to oestrogen. Jing is stored in the kidneys, the organ responsible for growth, maturation and aging.
- A deficiency of Kidney Yin. The concept of Yin is one of cooling and nourishing. If Kidney Yin is deficient, heat will result. Symptoms can include: hot flashes, night sweats, heart palpitations, and insomnia.
- Stagnation of Liver Qi. Qi is the life force which flows around the body and regulates your health. TCM believes the Liver regulates the smooth flow of blood and emotions whilst the Liver meridian runs through the reproductive area. If Liver Qi becomes constrained, mood swings, depression, headaches, and insomnia may arise.
TCM treats the menopause by using:
- Acupuncture to help balance Qi and to strengthen the internal organ systems.
- Chinese herbal medicine, through a formula customised for each individual, to address their specific underlying Jing, Yin, and Qi disharmonies
When your GinSen Practitioner assesses your condition they will first determine which organ systems have become unbalanced and where the blockages in Qi have occurred. In healing the body through the combination of Acupuncture and a personalised Herbal Medicine prescription, the menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes, depression, insomnia, vaginal dryness, and etc. will also be addressed and alleviated.
Diet and Lifestyle: taking regular exercise, reducing stress levels, eating healthily and avoiding certain foods can also help reduce menopausal symptoms. Your GinSen Practitioner will advise you on the measures most likely to help you.