What is the menopausal transition?
The menopausal transition (also known as perimenopause) is the oh-so-fun time between having regular menstruation and being fully menopausal. Perimenopause, meaning “around menopause,” affects many women in the years leading up to menopause. It’s a transitional phase of life when periods are still occurring but ovarian function declines and estrogen levels begin to drop. Most women begin to experience perimenopause in their 30’s and 40’s, and according to the Cleveland Clinic, perimenopause can start 8-10 years before menopause. During this time you you will still have periods, but they begin to become erratic—sometimes early, sometimes late. Sometimes crazy heavy, sometimes it’s almost non-existent.
Some women experience only mild symptoms during perimenopause, while others notice significant physical, emotional and psychological changes as their body begins to feel the effects of estrogen withdrawal. Periods often become irregular and menstrual cycles shorter. Vasomotor symptoms such as hot flashes, skin flushing and night sweats can begin years before the onset of menopause. Mood changes, sleep disturbances and cognitive impairment are common, as are fatigue, weight gain, hair loss and vaginal dryness. Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can provide significant relief for some of the most problematic symptoms of perimenopause, without the potential side effects of pharmaceutical drugs.
What is Menopause?
Menopause is technically the time as when a woman has not gotten her menstrual cycle for a full 12 months consecutively. The period of time during which a woman begins to experience symptoms related to menopause is actually the pre-menopausal (or “perimenopausal”) state. Once a woman is officially menopausal, she may continue to experience these symptoms significantly more for the next ten years!
Symptoms of menopause:
- Irregular menstruation
- Hot flashes, hot flushes, night sweats
- Difficulty sleeping, sleep apnea, snoring
- Low libido
- Vaginal dryness
- Urinary incontinence
- Loss of bone density
- Higher “bad cholesterol, and lower “good” cholesterol
- Anxiety, irritability, depression, PMS, PMDD
- Headaches, migraines
- Weight gain
These uncomfortable symptoms are all as a result of shifting hormones. Decreased estrogen causes hot flashes and night sweats as well as migraine headaches, poor memory, incontinence and vaginal dryness. Lowered testosterone causes poor libido, fatigue and decreased metabolism. Menopausal symptoms are common in women in middle age, and depending on their severity, can have a major impact on quality of life, health and wellbeing, as well as productivity. In short, menopause challenges women physically, emotional and mentally.
Whether you suffer from insomnia, night sweats, hot flashes, fatigue, depression, chronic pain, weight gain, or mood swings we can help alleviate your discomforts of menopause without the use of harsh medications. By combining acupuncture, herbal formulas, nutritional/lifestyle counseling and potential vitamin or mineral supplementation we can help arm you with the menopause essentials that will make the transition into your next phase of life that much easier.
Menopause is a natural part of life but it doesn’t have to be miserable! Think of it as an opportunity to forge a deeper connection with your own body and assess what’s really important in life. Acupuncture is a proven, effective treatment to manage the transition to your post-menopausal years and prepare you for your life’s next great adventure.