Making a Smooth Transition: Menopause and TCM
The menopausal transition is a natural progression that takes reproductive-aged women from regular period cycles to a final menstrual period and the end of ovarian function.
Menopause begins with an irregular menstrual cycle, and tends to last for 4-7 years. This aging with loss of follicular activity occurs within a wide age range of 42-58 years old, with the average age of its onset being at 47.
During this period, more erratic fluctuations or reduction in female reproductive hormones lead to an array of physical and psychological symptoms, known as menopausal syndrome.
What to expect?
Menstruation disorders come with: first shorter cycles; then longer cycles, and usually irregular bleeding
Other main factors may include: hot flashes with or without sweating and night sweats (probability of occurrence>75%); also sleep disturbances and fatigue
Psychological symptoms: PMS (premenstrual syndrome) worsen and usually mood gets lower; Depression and irritability include mood swings; Poor concentration and memory may occur.
Urogenital and sexual function may change: urogenital infections (probability of occurrence>50%) and urinary incontinence may occur; Sexual desire gets low; Intercourse pain or difficulties may occur.
Physical symptoms: Headache, dizziness ear ringing and irregular heartbeats, breast pain, joint aches and back pain
Other symptoms: osteoporosis - 50% women over 50 have it!! dry, itchy skin (also vagina!); weight gain; loosened and saggy soft tissue; loss of muscle mass
How to assess/evaluate?
- Check the female hormone panel!
- Ultrasound examination: to check ovary function, lining and exclude organic disorders
- Bone Mineral Density (BMD) measurement: to assess potential osteoporosis by X-ray
Why TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine)
TCM, is a natural healing method with a mellow and gradual treatment approach. It supports your body to adjust and relieve symptoms to natural changes.
From a TCM perspective, menopausal syndrome is mostly due to the deficiency of kidney Qi and blood, which lead to imbalance of kidney Yin and kidney Yang.
Therefore, TCM treatments focus on nourishing the kidney energy to elevate estrogen level and improving the flow of Qi and blood throughout the entire body. This is to achieve a balance of Yin and Yang in the body.
TCM methods (such as herbal medicine, acupuncture, moxibustion, medicated diet instruction and more), can help to slow down the transition and alleviate painful and frustrating menopausal symptoms. Thus, these treatments which with natural support of TCM will work effectively on the body and bring us a smooth, pleasant menopause.
Self-support and activities are highly recommended: during menopause transition, there are things we can do to take care of our emotional balance and slow down the diminishing process of our muscle mass.
Working-out, jogging, yoga, Pilates, and social activities are recommended. They not only help to let go stress but also strengthen your muscles and core power.
We can start with walking and stretching from half an hour daily, and then gradually increase to more walking and muscle training. It's never too late to move.
Let’s take action for our health from now on!
Serena has extensive experiences in gynecology and internal medicine. She combines herbal medicines, acupuncture and essential oils to provide effective and holistic treatments. She works at both our Xintiandi clinic and Minhang clinic. Click here to make an appointment with her.