Acupuncture may ease menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes, sweating, mood swings, sleep disturbance, skin and hair problems
Menopausal symptoms are common, and depending on their severity, can have a major impact on quality of life, health and wellbeing, as well as productivity. Hot flushes are one of the most common symptoms, and these can go on for several years. But others include heavy sweating, emotional vulnerability, sleep disturbances, fatigue, ‘fuzzy’ brain, joint pain, vaginal dryness and reduced sex drive.
Hormonal and other drugs can treat the various symptoms, but they are not without side effects. And the evidence for other non-pharmacological approaches, such as exercise, relaxation, and herbal/dietary remedies, isn’t very convincing, say the researchers. The findings prompt the researchers to conclude that acupuncture offers “a realistic” treatment option for women who can’t, or don’t want to, use hormone replacement therapy (HRT) read BMJ open study here
How acupuncture can help
Acupuncture may help reduce symptoms of the menopause and perimenopause by:
- reducing beta-endorphin concentration (a neuropeptide in the central peripheral nervous system). These neuropeptides are included in the hypothalamus, the part of our brain that regulates the body temperature. If the levels of beta-endorphin are lowered, it would consequence to the release of calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) that results to the regulation of the body temperature, and reducing hot flushes and night sweats - regulating serum estradiol, follicle stimulating hormone and luteotrophic hormone (Xia 2008); - increasing relaxation and reducing tension (Samuels 2008) - 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. - acupuncture is at least as effective, and sometimes superior to, hormonal drug treatment, HRT (Lee 2009; Cho 2009)