In this Blog I try to explain how the women’s life cycle is viewed in the Chinese Medicine
It is divided into a cycle of 7 (years)
7 years –the girl’s reproductive organs develop. Her teeth begin to change.
14years- onset of Menstruation
21years- Her fertility energy is full
28years-From 21 to 28 the fertility energy is at its peak.
35 years-From peak condition the energy declines gradually.
42 years-White hair appears and face wanes.
49 years-menstruation stops and energy in the reproductive channels reduces, and she cannot reproduce.
As the girl child grows up the hormones take control of her physical and mental growth.
As she goes through puberty there are changes in the uterus and ovaries along with bodily changes externally. She experiences the roller coaster ride of the hormonal changes with every menstrual cycle. This fluctuation in the hormonal level greatly influences her mind body and mood.
Some explanation of how Traditional Chinese medicine views women’s physiology.
In the first half of the menstrual cycle the Yin is growing and at its peak ovulation takes place. Then the Yin decreases and Yang begins to increases and it reaches its maximum just before the periods. This is shown in the diagram below.
1. Menstrual phase
2. Post menstrual phase
3. Ovulation phase
4. Premenstrual phase.
Acupuncture could address problems of menstruation like menstrual cramps, irregular periods due to hormone imbalance and increased or decreased bleeding.
Before the menstruation starts some women experience the premenstrual symptoms which could be irritability, feeling of bloating sensation in the abdomen, headache, water retention and weight gain. Acupuncture helps to alleviate some of these Pre menstrual symptoms.
If all the hormones in the woman’s body like the oestrogen, progesterone, LH and thyroid are working well and the anatomical structures like the uterus and the ovaries, the tubes, and the external genitalia are normal then she can conceive.
When there is difficulty in conceiving due to functional imbalances acupuncture can help to balance them. Various studies have been done showing that acupuncture could be used as an adjuvant to IVF.
When the woman becomes pregnant monthly periods stops. She could experience nausea and vomiting and altered taste, craving for certain type of food and distension of breast and heat sensation.
If her basic energy was good some problems like asthma and migraine gets better during pregnancy. Acupuncture could be done to help the pregnant mother with excessive nausea and vomiting, restlessness, sleep problem and anxiety .It is a good form of support.
Acupuncture can be used in lack of milk secretion after delivery along with dietary advice.
Perimenopause is a stage before menopause. It could be 4 to 5 years prior to the actual menopause. There are irregular periods, with hot flushes, sweating, palpitations increased premenstrual (PMS) syndrome, breast tenderness, mood swings, anxiety etc.
Researchers have shown that acupuncture regulates the Hypothalamic-pituitary ovarian axis (HPO axis) and thus changes the estradiol level, Follicular stimulating Hormones (FSH) and Luteinizing Hormone (LH levels).
The menstruation stops and she cannot reproduce any more. Roughly around 50 years the menstruation stops and the women is said to be in her menopause. It is a normal physiological state .It is said to be early onset of menopause when the age of the woman is 35 or earlier. Smoking, obesity, precocious puberty could be associated with early onset of menopause.
Chinese medicine says that symptoms of menopause are the result of stress, worry, anxiety, combined with overwork and poor diet over years of life. Chinese medicine explains that menopause is due decline in the basic energy.
Some of the symptoms of menopause are irritability, headaches, nervousness, lack of sleep, tiredness, anxiety, dryness, hot flushes, night sweats, sleep deprivation etc
Acupuncture helps in the reduction of symptoms of Menopause. Hot flushes or vaso dilatation, sweating experienced by women was found to be caused by a change in the hypothalamic thermoregulatory system. Acupuncture increases the endorphin activity and there is better stabilisation of thermoregulation. It was seen to reduce the intensity and frequency of hot flushes. Acupuncture could be suggested for Hormone replacement in women for whom it is contraindicated, and in the women who have high incidence of stroke, breast cancer, coronary heart disease, endometrial cancers. For them Acupuncture could be a good choice.
Acupuncture for menopause is a highly recommended to help women overcome this phase in their women’s lives and cope with it well. Along with acupuncture for menopause, Yin nourishing food is advised. When there are symptoms of heat in Menopause then Acupuncture along with avoidance of foods classified as ‘hot’ such as red meat, red wine, chocolate would go a long way in ameliorating the symptoms.
At Body Balance Acupuncture in Lincoln we can, through our treatment protocols with Dr Tan’s balance method , help alleviate the symptoms of Menopause, Stress, Premenstrual syndrome, and help women to cope with some of the adverse manifestations.