What is menopause?
Menopause, also known as the ‘change of life’, is the end of menstruation (when a woman’s periods stop). This means a woman’s ovaries stop releasing an egg each month. She will no longer have a monthly period or be able to have children.
Doctors define menopause as occurring when a year has passed since your last menstrual period.
Menopause usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 55; however, it can occur earlier or later than this — every woman is different. A transitional stage (pre-menopause) can start several years before menopause, during which women have declining fertility and fluctuating hormone levels. Many of the symptoms associated with menopause, such as hot flushes and mood swings, are caused by these fluctuating hormone levels.
There are certain medical conditions and treatments that can cause premature menopause (menopause before the age of 40) or early menopause (menopause between 40 and 45).
Post-menopause refers to the time following menopause, which lasts for the rest of your life.
What can cause menopause?
Menopause is caused by a change in the balance of the body’s sex hormones.
A woman is born with a finite number of eggs, which are stored in the ovaries. The ovaries also produce hormones such as oestrogen and progesterone, which regulate menstruation and ovulation. Menopause occurs when the ovaries no longer release an egg every month and menstruation stops.
Menopause, when it occurs after the age of 45, is considered a normal part of aging. But some women can experience menopause early, either as a result of surgery, such as hysterectomy that involves removal of the ovaries, or damage to the ovaries, from procedures such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Symptoms and complications of menopause
Oestrogen and progesterone are female hormones that play important roles in a woman’s body. When the levels of these hormones fall, a range of physical and emotional problems may arise. The common symptoms and complications associated with menopause include:
- Hot flushes
- Night sweats
- Irregular periods
- Vaginal dryness
- Low libido (sex drive) and lower fertility
- Irritability and mood swings
- Disturbed sleep
- Low energy
- Problems focusing and learning
- Urinary incontinence: leaking urine when coughing or sneezing
- Decrease in bone density, which can lead to brittle bones (osteoporosis)
- Increased risk of cardiovascular disease
- Higher susceptibility to weight gain
- Increased risk of breast cancer and womb cancer (endometrial cancer)
Most symptoms will pass within two to five years, although vaginal dryness is likely to get worse if not treated. Urinary incontinence may also persist and the risk of osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease will increase with age.
How TCM may help
According to TCM, during menopause there is a natural decline in what’s known as “Precious Essence” or “Kidney Essence”. In the view of TCM, Precious Essence is prenatal energy, stored in the kidney which enables the abilities of fertility, libido, regeneration of the body, and tissue elasticity and strength. The term “Precious Essence” stems from the idea that this energy is worth guarding, because its function is to maintain youth, and there is only so much of it. Therefore, the fundamental changes that occur during menopause can be attributed to kidney deficiency, especially kidney Yin deficiency.
In treating the health and well-being of the whole person, TCM takes into account the presenting symptomatic profile of the entire person through their relation to their environment and social situations, and their personal emotional responses to these. In addition, the symptomatic profile of a woman can be determined through tongue and pulse monitoring, and the physical symptoms which they experience. TCM therapy is based on recognizing one’s symptom patterns, which indicates the whole health profile of the individual.
Acupuncture treatment aims to balance energies, adding energy where it is needed, and dissipating energy when it is too concentrated, by moving energy that is stagnant. Chinese herbs work synergistically with acupuncture to create a state of continuity in clearing heat and nourishing Yin between treatments. Chinese medicine does not work like hormone therapy, which continues to artificially maintain hormone levels, but instead aims to treat one’s overall health and well-being. This is done through individualized treatments for each woman based on her personal condition and stage of menopause.
How we can help
At our clinics, we offer a safe, effective alternative treatment to restore and maintain the harmony in your body. With many years of experience, Dr. Jim Xing has treated this condition very successfully. He views menopause as a period of natural transition and unique experience in a woman’s life. He focuses on a holistic approach to restore balance in both physical and emotional aspects. Once you have discussed your symptoms in detail, he will create a treatment plan for you. Usually both acupuncture and herbal medicine will be used, but in what frequency and length will be determined by your response to the treatment. Some women respond quickly to just a month of treatment, while some need to continue coming for several months.
Dr. Xing aims to offer highly effective treatment for people suffering from menopause and its associated conditions. If you find that menopause has impacted upon your daily life, do not hesitate to contact us, and seek treatment to regain the healthy, happy life you deserve.
Book your appointment today
We are dedicated to helping you achieve the health and wellness that you desire. If you are interested, feel free to call us at our Frankston clinic on 9785 6688, or our Murrumbeena clinic on 9041 8879 to book an appointment today.