Menopause (Hot Flushes) – Basics

Menopause is a transitional period in which the female body experiences hormonal changes that affect the menstrual cycle, along with other things. On average, women begin to have symptoms of menopause in their late 40s to early 50s. They include: hot flashes, trouble sleeping, altered regularity and flow of menstrual period, vaginal dryness and mood changes. Menopause is considered to be over after going a full year without a menstrual period.

Menopause (Hot Flushes) – Diagnostic Patterns

The Chinese Medicine treatment of menopause (hot flashes) generally involves arriving at the appropriate TCM diagnosis or pattern. This pattern within the individual is what treatment is based on not the general condition. The following patterns may represent the underlying contributing factors for the development of menopause (hot flashes): Kidney essence deficiency or kidney yin deficiency.

The commonly used herbal formula include: Er Xian Tang, Liu Wei Di Huang Wan, and Suan Zao Ren Tang.

Research

Acupuncture improves the hot flash frequency and severity, menopause-related symptoms, and QoL (vasomotor domain) in natural menopause (Chiu 2015 – MA of 12 studies; 2 high-quality studies, 8 moderate and 2 low)(1) Promising results;

Selva Ovid 2013 (Review of 8 SRs and 9 RCTs)(2) Acupuncture superior to wait-list or no treatment; weak positive evidence

Acupuncture superior to sham in reducing severity but not frequency; very low quality evidence Acupuncture inferior to hormone therapy in QoL and frequency; no difference in severity weak positive evidence (Dodin 2013 – Cochrane SR of 16 RCTs)(3)

References

1. Chiu HY, Pan CH, Shyu YK, Han BC, Tsai PS. Effects of acupuncture on menopause-related symptoms and quality of life in women in natural menopause: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Menopause. 2015 Feb;22(2):234-44.

2. Selva Olid A, Martinez Zapata MJ, Sola I, Stojanovic Z, Uriona Tuma SM, Bonfill Cosp X. Efficacy and Safety of Needle Acupuncture for Treating Gynecologic and Obstetric Disorders: An Overview. Med Acupunct. 2013 Dec 1;25(6):386-97.

3. Dodin S, Blanchet C, Marc I, Ernst E, Wu T, Vaillancourt C, et al. Acupuncture for menopausal hot flushes. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013(7):Cd007410.