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womens_health

Menopause

In Chinese medicine, menopause is often referred to as the ‘second spring’, because menopause signifies the end of a woman’s menstrual cycle.

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 early as forty and last until fifty-five years of age. This also signifies the beginning of the winter season for bearing children.

Chinese medicine sees menopause as a normal and important transition which can be assisted to proceed smoothly, quickly, and without discomfort. According to traditional Chinese medicine, the fundamental changes that occur during menopause can be attributed to kidney deficiency.

What Causes It

Women who undergo a hysterectomy, or who have their ovaries removed experience menopausal symptoms immediately.

Since the kidney is the organ responsible for growth, maturation and aging, the deficiency of kidney yin is directly related to signs, symptoms and complications of menopause.

In addition to kidney yin deficiency, other common conditions that occur in menopause are kidney yang deficiency; kidney essence (jing) deficiency; liver qi stagnation; blood deficiency; and uprising deficiency heat.

Signs and Symptoms

A woman may notice that her menstrual cycle changes and become irregular. Breast tenderness, abdominal bloating, mood swings, sweets cravings, and decreased energy can all be part of the peri-menopause experience. As the actual menopause, the cessation of menstruation grows nearer, the symptoms may become more extreme; hot flashes, or “hot flushes”, night sweats, vaginal dryness, loss of libido, headaches, insomnia, and moodiness may aggravate the transition.

Treatment Options

In Chinese medicine, menopause is considered a normal transition that should pass quickly and smoothly. Modern women experience so much stress throughout their adult lives that our endocrine systems become un-balanced, and menopause becomes yet another source of stress. Chinese herbs can help to normalize hormones and lessen the symptoms associated with peri- menopause.

Balance Hormones: There are Chinese herbs traditionally used to balance hormones during the transition of menopause. For example, in Chinese medicine, menopausal night sweats are considered a sign of Yin deficiency and deficient heat, with herbs prescribed to treat accordingly.

Normalize Menstruation & Bleeding: During the peri-menopausal phase, symptoms of PMS and irregular bleeding are not uncommon. Liver Qi Stagnation and uterine blood stagnation have symptoms of breast tenderness, cramps, moodiness, brown menstrual blood, heavy bleeding, and headaches with menstruation. Chinese herbs can soothe Liver Qi Stagnation and break up uterine blood stagnation to help balance the body and alleviate the upheaval associated with peri-menopausal changes.

Get to the Root Cause of Hot Flashes: In Chinese medicine, the Kidney energetic system and Liver energetic system together generally govern over the endocrine system and there are constant influences from these systems throughout our reproductive lives.

The Kidney Yin Deficiency is typically the underlying imbalance leading to hot flashes and night sweats. Nourishing Kidney Yin is very important because signs of Kidney Yin Deficiency can be the beginning of an escalated rate of aging and drying out. Vaginal dryness, brittle hair, hair loss, stiffening joints, and dry skin are all possible results of chronic Yin Deficiency.

Protect the Heart and Nourish the Skin

After menopause occurs and menstruation stops, women must take greater care in protecting their heart and building blood that will nourish the skin, joints, hair, and organs. Menopausal women must also nourish their bodies with foods rich in calcium, omega 3 fatty acids, greens, and protein. Eating a whole food, organic diet is recommended at every stage of life.