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GYN: (pre or post menopause, infertility, hormonal concerns, PMS, menstrual cycle concerns)

Menopause (pre and post):
Menopause or "change of life" is the permanent end to menstruation and fertility caused by the change in the levels of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone. This typically occurs in a woman's late 40s or early 50s but may occur earlier.

The time of change is called peri-menopause or menopausal transition.  It can begin several years before the last menstrual period and last for one year after the final menstrual cycle.  After this period, a woman is said to have been "through menopause" and into post menopause, which lasts the rest of her life. Menopause is different for each woman. The signs and symptoms vary greatly. Some women have hot flashes and sleep problems while others are hardly aware of a change at all.  In addition to hot flashes and sleep problems, women may also experience mood changes, problems with the vagina and bladder, and changes in sex drive. A woman's body may also change.  Her waist may get larger.  She may lose muscle and gain fat.  Her skin might get thinner.  She might have memory problems and her joints and muscles may feel stiff and achy.  Menopause is not a disease that has to be treated; however, if the symptoms are uncomfortable the following are some things that have helped women:

  • Keep track of when hot flashes happen—a diary can help. This information can be used to find out what triggers flashes and then avoid those triggers.
  • Go somewhere cool when a hot flash starts.
  • Sleep in a cool room or with a fan on.
  • Dress in layers that can be removed.
  • Use sheets and clothing that let the skin breathe.
  • Have a cold drink (water or juice) when a flash is starting.

Acupuncture and herbs can be an effective therapy for menopause.  Numerous studies, including a recent study conducted by Henry Ford Hospital in Michigan, have shown acupuncture to be a safe, effective, and durable treatment for hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms stemming from anti-estrogen hormone therapy in women with breast cancer.  Furthermore, acupuncture is effective at boosting the sex drive and overall sense of well-being in women.

Relief of PMS and Menstrual Issues
PMS is a set of hormonal changes that trigger disruptive symptoms up to two weeks prior to menstruation. Of the estimated 40 million suffers more than 5 million require treatment for mood and behavioral changes. Often symptoms tend to taper off with menstruation and women remain symptom-free until approximately two weeks prior to the next menstrual period. These regularly recurring symptoms from ovulation until menses typify PMS. 

If a woman reports experiencing symptoms throughout the menstrual cycle, it is not PMS. Acupuncture and herbs are very good at treating PMS. According to Traditional Oriental Medicine, PMS is caused by a basic energetic imbalance in the liver vital energy channel. This is easily and effectively treated without the need for western medication.

Fertility the Natural Way
In Traditional Oriental Medicine, infertility is treated with acupuncture and herbs with the goal of decreasing stress in the bodily systems regulating the reproductive system. 

Of course, many women today elect to undergo in-vitro fertilization (IVF), which is a good treatment plan, but it is very expensive.  Moreover, recent studies have concluded that acupuncture performed immediately before and after IVF significantly increases the chances for a viable pregnancy (ongoing studies confirm these findings.)  Acupuncture reduces uterine contractions, which contributes to the failure of IVF treatments, before, during and after IVF. Acupuncture can also increase blood flow to the uterus, which creates a very favorable environment for pregnancy to occur.

In 2002, Weill Cornell Medical Center researchers published evidence that acupuncture may increase blood flow to the uterine lining making it more receptive to implantation.  Acupuncture seems to be most promising when used with IVF.  One German study showed that women who underwent acupuncture both before and after an IVF embryo transfer had a 43% success rate, while the no-acupuncture half had only a 26% success rate.  

 



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