The menopause is technically defined as when a woman has gone 12 months without a period.
Generally this is a gradual process over months or years starting with perimenopause before progressing through full menopause to post-menopause.
The average age of onset in the UK is 52 years however 1 in 100 will have the menopause before the age of 40 years.I'm Experiencing Menopause
The ovaries start life with hundreds of thousands of eggs. These eggs are continually moving through various stages. They take many months to grow from tiny primordial follicles to a mature egg released in ovulation. Many of the eggs die along the way and only about 400 ever make it to the ovulation stage.
The primordial follicles live as groups known as clusters and compete with each other as they grow. Usually only one moves on to ovulation. As menopause approaches the follicles are more sparsely spaced.
At a certain level of spacing they are unable to exchange chemical signals with their neighbours. This signalling usually activates the cluster. So even though eggs may still be present they are dormant.
Whenever the eggs stop maturing there is also a drop in oestrogen production. Oestrogen is usually produced from maturing follicles. This drop leads to menopausal symptoms.Book A Consultation
Hot flushing and sweats involves an intense heat and sweating which flows over the body in an uncontrollable and very uncomfortable wave/tsunami.
8 in 10 women suffer from flushes and sweats, with 1 in 4 of those saying it negatively affects their lives.
The symptom usually noticed first is the change in the menstrual cycle.
Periods become more irregular, heavier or lighter.
Many women experience muscle pain whilst going through the menopause with studies indicating this can be as many as 50% of post-menopausal women.
The most common sites are neck, shoulders, elbows and hands.
Acupuncture is the insertion of hair-fine needles into certain places on the body. These places are called acupoints.
Acupuncture may help in reducing menopause symptoms by regulating certain chemicals/hormones in the body such as estradial, FSH and lutotrophic hormone (Xia 2008) increasing the relaxation response (Samuels 2008).
It can alter serotonin and endorphin release(Zhou 2008) and help with relaxation. There is an effect on the pain pathways, with acupuncture changing how the brain processes pain (Pomeranz 1987).
Parts of the brain are affected and activated by noxious stimuli and acupuncture has been shown to influence this area. This area may have blame in the hot flushes so prevalent in many menopausal women.Take The Next Step
Unfortunately that would be impossible but the research is certainly positive and is backed up by what I see in my clinic.
Mary aged 52 suffered for 12 months with unwelcome symptoms of the menopause.
When she first contacted me I asked her to keep a symptom diary for 1-2 weeks so we had a baseline and could compare future improvements to that.
She worked in a heated office and was expected to wear a suit. She was noticing brain fog at work and feared it was going to be noticed that she was not doing her job as well as before.
Migraines which pre menopause troubled her once or twice a year became fortnightly problems.
She first came in to see me stating that flushes and sweats were occurring almost every night and during the day as well.
She regularly was awakened with intense feelings of heat and soaked through clothing and sheets.
It was so problematic that she had moved from the bed she shared with her partner to the spare room.
Mary’s anxiety began to infiltrate her day to day life. She worried about work and ruminated on small issues which escalated in her head to insurmountable problems.
She had attended her GP but was reluctant to try HRT as yet.
In session 1 we had a chat and I took a comprehensive history and we looked at her diary showing how menopause was affecting her life.
She agreed to come in weekly to see me for 6 sessions with reviews every week. She paid weekly. She made herself comfortable on my treatment bed. 10 small needles were inserted into specific arm and leg points and left in place for 20 mins. In my 16 years of practice I have perfected a very gentle but extremely effective style of acupuncture. Clients are delighted to describe just a “tingling” feeling when needles are in place.
Mary relaxed on the bed. I stayed with her the entire time explaining what was happening and answering questions or just chatting about our dogs.
In session 2 Mary reported having felt quite relaxed the evening after session 1 but not much else. I asked how symptoms had been and again Mary climbed up on the bed and I placed 8 acupuncture needles to work on specific issues. They stayed in place for 20-25 minutes and she felt even more relaxed than last time.
We chatted through different scenarios especially at work and tried to find ways to best cope.
In session 3 she felt her sleep had improved. She was not experiencing the same degree of intensity with sweats but they were still occurring as often.
Her anxiety had lessened and she found the courage to ask in work if she could have a desk fan and maybe when she wasn’t client facing to be allowed to wear slightly less restrictive clothing.
Work surprised her greatly and she was also offered the chance to work from home one day a week.They are in the process of writing up a menopause policy. Mary is delighted to be able to use her experience to help others.
Session continued as before and I focused on migraine points and hormone points in this session. Mary was happy to continue coming in to see me.
In session 4 she stated there had been less daytime flushes and anxiety continued to reduce.
Work continued to be supportive and her general mood had lifted.
In session 5 she noticed less sweats at night and was beginning to feel more refreshed in the morning instead of dragging herself out of bed.
In session 6 she reported still having the occasional flush but frequency had greatly reduced.
Migraines again were reducing. Now she could feel it starting but it never achieved the same intensity and a few paracetamol were enough to help.
She decided to come back in a fortnight to continue working on them.
Overall she has been delighted with the change over a couple of months.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions or would like to make an appointment. I am happy to help.