TCM differentiates menopause as a variety of syndromes (patterns of energy disharmony). The most typical cause for the symptoms associated with menopause is the slowing of the flow of yin (Chinese concept of the cooling, moist element within the body). Kidney yin deficiency results in overactive yang (hot, dry element) and produces the menopausal symptom complex of hot flashes, night sweats, delayed menstruation, hair loss, dryness, mood swings, and insomnia.
The symptoms of menopause are caused by changes in estrogen and progesterone levels. While allopathic medicine commonly prescribes combination (estrogen plus progesterone) hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to alleviate acute menopausal symptoms, these medications may increase the risk of certain cancers, blood clots and strokes. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can be used instead of or in conjunction with HRT for the treatment of menopausal symptoms and provide safer alternatives.
TCM treatment may include a combination of acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, massage, dietary suggestions, and/or specific exercises that enhance vitality/qi flow (qigong, tai chi) and reduce the fatigue associated with energy imbalance. Acupuncture treatment regulates unstable hormone levels during menopause, balances qi and strengthens internal organ systems. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine may be used in conjunction to reestablish the balance between yin and yang by increasing yin. Once the yin or cold, moist component is strengthened, the individual experiences fewer hot flashes, night sweats, dryness, and other menopausal symptoms.
Chinese herbal formulas can address the general patterns associated with the menopausal transition. Anemarrhena phellodendron & rehmannia formula (zhi bai di huang wan) and artemisia & turtle shell decoction (qing hao bie jia tang) have demonstrated an effect on the endocrine system to alleviate menopausal symptoms. For more information about acupuncture treatment and Chinese herbal medicine for menopause contact Dr. Richard Browne at (305) 595-9500.