The menopause, defined as the end of the last menstrual period, occurs around age of 53 years. The change in hormone levels during the perimenopause and menopause, particularly the decline in levels of oestrogen, can cause acute menopausal symptoms; for example, about 30-70% of women in Western countries will experience vasomotor symptoms, such as hot flushes and night sweats. As well as being intrinsically uncomfortable these symptoms can cause significant loss of sleep.
Some women also report vaginal dryness and psychological symptoms, including tiredness, sleep disturbances, mood swings, forgetfulness and loss of libido. Menopausal vasomotor symptoms last around 4 years but, in around 10% of women, they last longer than 12 years.
The most commonly used conventional medical treatment for such symptoms is hormone replacement therapy (HRT), comprising an oestrogen alone (in women who have had a hysterectomy) or in combination with a progestogen. HRT is now only indicated for short-term treatment of menopausal symptoms in the UK (MHRA 2007).
Acupuncture for menopausal syndrome
Can acupuncture help with menopausal syndrome? Follow the links below for further information:
Menopause and acupuncture: the evidence for effectiveness. This is a review paper for medical professionals published by the British Acupuncture Council
Acupuncture for menopause syndrome – video:
Below you will find a report from ABC News in America. It outlines recent research into treating menopause with acupuncture and includes interviews with patients. There is a short advertisement at the beginning.