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Maintain your body on Menopause with Traditional Chinese Medicine

by Junko Lodge, registered acupuncturist at Yinstill Reproductive Wellness

After more than 30 years of maintaining a regular menstrual cycle, the role of the reproductive organs changes. The communication between the reproductive organs and the command center in the brain, the hypothalamus, goes through a transitionary period. The message continues to be sent from the hypothalamus but the reproductive organs are no longer able to fulfill their tasks.

The autonomic nervous system which controls involuntary body functions such as breathing, heartbeat, blood pressure and the dilation/constriction of blood vessels is deeply connected with this command center and is also triggered by its attempt to get the reproductive organs to function. That is why this hormone imbalance makes the body unable to adjust body temperature for example, so that excessive sweating or hot flushes can occur. Irritability, anxiety, depression, thirst, vaginal dryness, burning pain on the tongue or bad breath, irregular heartbeat and sleep issues may also manifest. Other possible symptoms include, feeling nauseous due to excessive stomach acid production, brittle nails, hair loss, headache, fatigue, joint pain and osteoporosis. The list goes on and on, but the good news is, if you listen to your body and maintain it well during the peri-menopausal stage, you can prevent these symptoms. If you already have some of these symptoms, it’s never too late to ease your symptoms and prepare for the future.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, we use the same organ names as Western medicine but the functions and understandings can be a little different. Let me explain by using the understanding of how a car works as a metaphor.

The Liver is the like the car’s engine, responsible for movement and regulation of the moving parts of the car. The Kidneys would be seen as providing the oil/liquid in the car. With insufficient oil and liquid, the engine will not be able to cool down, it will overheat and if allowed to continue will result in the early breakdown of the car’s moving parts. Similarly, in the human body, when the Kidney does not supply the Liver with ample fluid, heat builds up causing symptoms such as irritability, headaches and insomnia.

What do you do when you see the check engine light comes on in your car? Do you keep driving your car?

What about when your body sends you signals that it is depleted? Do you drink coffee to force your body into action, go for a run, work overtime or fill your social calendar? Then when you can’t sleep when you are over tired or too stimulated from caffeine or exercise, do you reach for wine or something stronger to calm the body? When it is put in this way, the healthy answer becomes obvious.

Traditional Chinese Medicine is a great alternative way of balance back your hormones and functions. Acupuncture is a big tool of TCM. Acupuncture can treat autonomic nervous system-related diseases through modulating the imbalance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic activities. This is one of the reasons why acupuncture is so effective for menopause.

So what can be done to get the body back into balance? A comprehensive approach that addresses the individual and their unique body constitution, lifestyle and dietary habits is the right path. “Hot flushes” is a common symptom of menopause, but not every single woman experiences it. Also severities and manifestations are different. You must have a treatment which is totally customized for you. Simply put, that treatment is Traditional Chinese Medicine.