Menopause is a physiologically normal state, and ideally should occur with minimal problems. However, imbalances resulting from years of an unhealthy lifestyle are more likely to manifest during menopause. Then we see symptoms such as night sweats, insomnia, palpitations, anxiety, moodiness, and fatigue. Although many women believe that such symptoms are an unavoidable part of aging, they actually indicate an imbalance in your body. TCM can address these imbalances and the resulting symptoms effectively.
How did menopause come to be associated with so many unpleasant symptoms in modern times? The symptoms actually can be traced back to an unhealthy lifestyle during one’s teens and twenties. The lifestyle imbalances begin to manifest as disharmonies during one’s thirties and forties. In addition to an unbalanced lifestyle, women often have a difficult emotional history, full of frustration and unexpressed emotions. In TCM, this condition of emotional stress is referred to as Liver-Qi stagnation. A consequence of Liver Qi Stagnation is the inhibition of physiological pathways in the body. As a result, various substances can no longer circulate freely. Before menopause, this stagnation often manifests as PMS, aggravated by social and emotional stress, too little exercise, and faulty nutrition. During the forties, a woman’s body also starts producing less Yin, which can be understood as a collection of fluids, hormones, and blood. As Yin wanes, menses get lighter and finally stop. If a woman has experienced Liver Qi Stagnation in the last decade, or even within the last twenty or thirty years, the remaining Yin can’t be flow freely, or be distributed throughout the body. In terms of Western science, we might state that the digestion can’t extract nourishment properly, or hormones may not reach their target receptors.
Yin has a cooling, calming influence on the body. When the remaining Yin is improperly distributed due to the Liver Qi Stagnation, symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, and emotional outbursts occur.
However TCM can reduce or eliminate these symptoms. A TCM therapist can prescribe a specific herbal formula, in combination with acupuncture, to treat each woman’s unique symptoms and diagnosis. Although most women with menopause symptoms have Yin deficiency and Liver-Qi stagnation, other diagnostic patterns, such as Yang deficiency can occur. (Yang deficiency can be seen in in thyroid or adrenal hormone deficiency, or osteoporosis).
An accurate assessment of your symptoms, including their severity, along with a careful tongue and pulse analysis, help your TCM therapist decide on the right treatment for you. In distinction to a typical treatment from your Western medicine practitioner, which could include hormone replacement therapy and medication to prevent osteoporosis, TCM herbal recipes and acupuncture pose no danger.