by Mary Vincent, L.Ac.
At Beach Community Acupuncture we frequently treat symptoms related to menopause, as most women are affected with some level of discomfort during this transitional phase. Several recent studies have shown acupuncture to be a viable option, especially in the treatment of hot flashes (by far the most prominent symptom we treat in menopausal women). Depending on the severity of one’s symptoms, we typically recommend treatment 1-3 times week for 1-2 months to start. Some women require regular, follow up treatments to keep symptoms at bay, while others may only need an occasional treatment (or none at all if symptoms do not return).
Menopause occurs when a woman’s ovaries stop functioning due to age and is defined by the absence of menstruation for a full 12 months. It typically begins between the ages of 45 and 50, but can occur anywhere from 30 to 60. It is usually a gradual process, known as perimenopause, the length of which can be months to years. Menopause can also occur immediately after hysterectomy, or due to chemotherapy or radiation.
Symptoms and severity vary for woman to woman, most of which are due to declining estrogen levels. They can include:
▪ Irregular menstrual cycles: Ovulation becomes intermittent leading up to menopause, and most women will experience shorter or longer cycles during this transitional phase. When ovulation does not occur, progesterone will not be produced and estrogen levels may continue, causing a think buildup of uterine lining and a heavy flow for that cycle. As one gets close to true menopause, both progesterone and estrogen levels decline, causing less and less frequent periods with light flow. We often suggest herbs that help with heavy cycles.

▪ Hot [...]