The majority of women end their menstruation between the ages of 48 to 52, but uncomfortable symptoms of peri-menopause or pre-menopause can begin as young as 40 and last until 55 years of age. A woman may notice that her menstrual cycle starts to be different from what it used to be, and as she gets closer to the actual menopause – the cessation of her menstruation – the symptoms may become more extreme such as hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, decreased libido, headaches, insomnia and moodiness.
Chinese Medicine recognizes menopause as a change in a woman’s body chemistry and a natural transitional process. Ideally it is relatively uneventful, but unfortunately, in our often fast-paced, stressful lifestyle, underlying patterns of disharmony give rise to the “typical” menopausal symptom complex.
The number, type and severity of symptoms a woman experiences can depend on a number of factors including overall health, the availability of support from family and friends, and general stress levels, for example. Symptoms may last anywhere from 6 months to over two years, and for many women, the relief from symptoms during and after menopause is paramount.
When we treat menopausal symptoms, we first determine where the energetic disharmony lies and what organ systems have become imbalanced. Chinese Medicine has described strategies to treat these imbalances, without side effects, for thousands of years with Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine useful in balancing the Qi (energy) and strengthening the internal organ systems.
In the seasons of one’s life, the ending of the menstrual cycle means the winter of a woman’s ability to bear children, but then what comes after menopause is the second spring – the season of rebirth – an exciting and challenging time in a woman’s life.