Tag Archive for: menopause

It’s officially Women’s National Health week May 8-14, 2022.

I really wish the focus on women’s health was at least a month. Better yet, at least a fiscal quarter. 

There has long been a huge deficit in western medicine in understanding women’s health as unique from men’s health.

For example, heart attack symptoms in a woman often present differently than in men. Another example, the Mayo Clinic reports that only 20% of postgrad residents are taught a formal menopause curriculum, and fewer than 1 in 10 residents, even in gynecology, felt “adequately prepared” to manage patient care during menopause.[1]

Considering that there will be 55 million women in menopause in the United States by 2025[2] this is not just ridiculous, it’s unacceptable

Even more stunning, research shows that gender bias in healthcare is “widespread.”

This shows up in many ways, from not believing women’s symptoms, viewing women as “emotional” or “hysterical,” and that women exaggerate their pain.[3] This is much worse for women of color or LGBTQIA people.

(Imagine me pulling my hair out about this for a minute…)

While male and female bodies have a lot in common, the differences in hormones create big differences in everything from metabolism to heart disease risk to being prone to spraining your ankles. Every organ in the body is affected by your hormones. This is why women’s health risks change so much after menopause.

But women’s health is not just about menopause, or even just about periods.

It’s about heart health, maintaining a healthy weight to stave off diabetes and high cholesterol. It’s about managing stress, and acknowledging the weight that women often feel they must carry.

While I don’t feel a week does Women’s Health justice, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health has good info on their page for this week.[4] 

They remind us to

  • Schedule your annual physical and other Health appointments
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Get moving and stay active
  • Eat balanced meals and snacks
  • Practice self-care for Mental Health
  • Find healthy ways to manage stress
  • Create good sleep habits
  • And several more.

Truly, these are good advice, but how helpful is a webpage?

We need a seachange in how we, as a culture, educate both our providers and patients on what it means to be healthy and why.

I don’t pretend to have all the answers on how to do that. But let’s start with changing our minds on a few important things….

  1. Periods are not a disorder
    Difficult periods are a sign of imbalance that can be treated symptomatically with hormone therapy (ie birth control), AND the underlying causes and symptoms can be effectively treated with acupuncture and Chinese medicine.

  2. Menopause is not a disorder
    Ditto above

  3. Feeling emotional is not a disorder
    I think we can all agree that men are also quite emotional, even if they don’t express it. I hope this doesn’t need any explanation. Seriously.

  4. Women are not “less-than” men.

  5. Our society will function better as a whole when women are consistently receiving the care they need

I’ll get off my soapbox now. I obviously feel strongly that women’s healthcare needs to be better.

There are signs things are starting to change, and I’m here for it.

As always, Chinese medicine, acupuncture, diet, and lifestyle can all make huge improvements in a woman’s health, and men, children, and everyone else, too.

Let us know if we can help.

Here’s to all the women out there!

Dr. Jennie Luther, DACM, L.Ac
Acupuncturist Centennial
Family Tree Acupuncture & Wellness

[1] https://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196(18)30701-8/fulltext

[2] https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/04/28/menopause-hormone-therapy-nih-went-wrong/

[3] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/gender-bias-in-healthcare

[4] https://www.womenshealth.gov/nwhw/about

Welcome to the Hormone Rollercoaster…Hot flashes, migraines, crazy periods, insomnia, night sweats, mood swings and low libido. Sister, at 48 years old, I am with you on this wild ride. Let’s make it a good one!

What is Perimenopause?

You are considered to be in menopause when you haven’t had a period for at least 12 months. Perimenoupause is the time leading up to menopause. It usually starts in your 40s, and can last as long as 10 years, although for most women it’s closer to 4 years. This is when your ovaries start to give up the game, so to speak, producing less hormones. 

First, let’s get rid of this idea that perimenopause is some kind of disorder, once and for all.

Perimenopause is a totally natural and healthy part of life.

While we’ve all heard horror stories about how bad it can be, those symptoms are signs of imbalance which are quite treatable with acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine (CHM). You will notice changes in your body, but you do NOT have to suffer horribly through perimenopause.

Your Second Spring

I’d like to offer a different perspective on menopause. Here in Western cultures, we tend to think of this with some dread of aging, losing something of ourselves. I call cultural bulls….um, brainwashing on that perspective. This weird worship of youth is not doing anyone any favors. While youth has its benefits, so does the wisdom of aging and experience. 

For centuries, Asian cultures have viewed menopause as your Second Spring. All that energy that goes into cycling and preparing for pregnancy every single month for nearly 40 years is freed up. The ancient texts say that the energy of the uterus moves up to the heart, leading to deeper wisdom. All that energy is coming back to you, instead of out in the world. 

What if you looked at menopause as a new beginning?

After years of so much of your energy going to others, what if you give it back to yourself? What if you can finally focus on some long-lost dreams or realize you might have entirely new dreams? What would this world look like if women entering menopause were also entering their power, their gifts, and their voice?

I invite you look at menopause as a kind of personal rebirth.

But the symptoms…

Yes, the symptoms…that is important! Did you know that many women breeze through perimenopause with hardly a symptom, and that is actually normal

Of course many of us do have symptoms that are quite uncomfortable and disruptive, and we need some relief!

While there are many western medical approaches to perimenopausal symptoms, they come with their own risks and side effects. They also are more of a “band-aid” treatment, treating symptoms but not the root imbalance. These can be worthwhile. However, if you are looking for a more natural approach to treating your symptoms AND the root causes, it’s time to try acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine (CHM).

Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine for perimenopause relief and rebalance

Chinese medicine has been successfully treating the symptoms of perimenopause (and the root imbalances leading to those symptoms) for centuries. And it’s pretty darn good at it! One of the things I like the most about Chinese medicine and perimenopause is that it doesn’t look at it as something to fix, just something that may need to be rebalanced for optimal health. Because, as I said above, perimenopause and menopause are not a disease or disorder! Just a normal part of life.

With both acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, we can cool those hot flashes, dry those night sweats, calm your moods, help with your sleep, reduce migraines, and just generally even you out. As with most things, we strongly recommend weekly acupuncture treatments for 4-6 weeks then tapering to every other week as your symptoms subside. The best part about acupuncture is that you will feel more relaxed and better after each treatment, and the effect is cumulative. As one of my patients says, it makes her “less killy,” lol.

Chinese herbal medicine is really important and effective in treating perimenopausal symptoms, as they work daily.

These formulas focus on cooling, moistening and anchoring your Qi, so you feel calmer and, well, cooler. In fact, studies have found these formulas to be safe and effective in relieving symptoms.¹ You can expect to be taking these formulas for several months, and may need them again as you move through the stages of perimenopause. We keep it easy for you, though, and do all of our formulas in capsule form. Even the worst hot flashes find relief withing a day or two with formulas like Zhi Bai Di Huang Wan. 

Together, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can bring you fast and lasting relief from your perimenopausal symptoms, and keep you more healthy and balanced along the way. 

We offer free 15-minute initial consults to answer your questions and see if we’re a good fit for you! For more personalized perimenopause support with acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, or for your free 15-minute initial consult, book an appointment with Dr. Jennie.

Dr. Jennie Luther, DACM, L.Ac
Acupuncturist Centennial
Family Tree Acupuncture & Wellness

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6752783/