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MENOPAUSE

     Menopause is defined as the cessation of menstruation (a woman's period). Menopause usually begins around age 40 and is complete by age 55. Women will experience changes in their cycle, usually fewer cycles per year, longer and longer apart, until no more periods occur. The Western Science explanation is the normal decline in the number of follicles (immature eggs) in the ovaries become insufficient to produce high enough levels of Estrogens to trigger the hormonal cycle and menses. The drop in the blood level of Estrogens produces withdrawal symptoms in the woman. These symptoms can vary from woman to woman. Not all women will experience withdrawal symptoms as the Estrogens level begins to drop. Symptoms that women might experience while the body is adjusting to the new levels of Estrogens might include:


          1. Hot flashes. 60% of women may experience the sensation of intense heat spreading in the body; some only experience it in the upper portion, some all over

          2. Night sweats. Although with the hot flashes, some women will experience sweating as well. This can be a light sheen of sweat to a bed soaking sweat.

          3. Mood swings, irritability, depression

          4. Panic attacks, difficulty breathing,

          5. Dizzy spells, tachycardia (racing heartbeats)

          6. Worsening of pre-existing mental conditions

          7.Urinary bladder problems (cystitis, frequency, incontinence, burning)


            In Traditional Chinese Medical Theory, menopause occurs because of the drying up of the Tian Gui, The Divine Water. As mentioned earlier, period blood originally comes from Breast Milk. The Breast Milk came from the Tian Gui, which originated in the Kidneys. Both men and women have Tian Gui. In men, Tian Gui becomes Sperm/Semen. The Tian Gui travels up the Ren Meridian to the face and becomes the Beard. It must travel normally down through the Chong meridian to become Sperm/Semen. For women, the Tian Gui travels up the Ren meridian to the Breasts, where it then moves down the Chong Meridian to the Uterus leaving the body as Menstrual Blood. This is why menstrual Blood isn't exactly like regular blood. Sometimes regular blood will mix with menstrual blood and produce abnormal cycles. But normally, the Tian Gui is not considered blood. The ancient texts of Traditional Chinese Medical Theory states that a woman changes every seven years, a man every eight. At the age of seven, a girl has her permanent teeth, her kidneys become strong and her hair grows long. At fourteen, the Tian Gui matures, the Ren and Chong meridians open, her menstrual cycle begins and she can conceive. At 21, the kidney is healthy, the Wisdom teeth appear, and the body is vital and flourishing. At 28, a woman reaches her peak of her female development. Her bones and tendons are well developed and her hair and secondary sexual characteristics are complete. At 35, the meridians governing the facial muscles (Large Intestine and Stomach) begin to deplete and muscles will atrophy, sag, facial wrinkles start and hair begins to thin. At 42, all three Yang meridians deplete and the hair turns white. At 49, the Ren and Chong meridians are completely empty, the Tian Gui is depleted, menstruation ceases, fertility ends and menopause occurs. This is considered normal. As Tian Gui becomes depleted, the Uterus will shrink in size. The Uterus receives heat from the Small Intestine. Normally, this heat turns the White Breast Milk to the red menstrual blood. But as the Uterus shrinks, heat from the Small Intestine may escape producing hot flashes. If the Uterus can shrink normally, there may be minor heat escaping or none at all. However, if the Uterus is abnormal, full of blood stagnation or Cold pathogen, then shrinkage does not occur, as it should, so a woman will experience major hot flashes. The blood stagnation can be a symptom of Qi stagnation, which can produce the typical signs of menopause in Western women.


 HOW TO GET BACK INTO BALANCE AND STAY THERE

         If a woman is experiencing menopausal symptoms, the Traditional Chinese Practitioner will determine where the problem is arising. Typically the woman will be treated for the menopausal symptoms (hot flashes, mood swings, abnormal bleeding) in a way that assists the body in completing the natural process it has begun. Blood stagnation needs to be cleaned out of the Uterus so that natural collapse can occur. Abnormal Heat will be treated until the collapse is completed. We have many different herbal formulas available to treat the various symptoms Western women experience as they enter menopause. We assist your body through this process that should be relatively symptom free. We will also recommend diet and lifestyle changes to further assist your body. As our body ages, changes will occur. Ancient Chinese Medical practitioners believed that we could live to be well over 100 years and still maintain health and vigor. Some suggestions to assist you through the process of menopause and beyond are the following:


     1. Consume soy products. It is important to give your body an assist until a new balance is achieved. We recommend soy products as one way to help the body. It is important however not to consume soy extracts, powders or capsules. We recommend one helping of soy per day. Some women enjoy a soymilk shake in the morning adding fresh fruit. Others enjoy soy as Tofu and add it to their meals. Soy yogurt is another possibility or just drink a glass of soymilk once a day.

       2.  Proper weight bearing exercise is important to maintain healthy bones. Walking, dancing, biking, etc. will benefit your bones. A normal diet should contain calcium products to further assist the body in maintaining bone strength. Calcium in large amounts is contained in dairy products, dark green leafy vegetables and whole fish (sardines, etc). We don't recommend calcium supplements as that can be a burden to the kidney.

        3.  Exercises that produce Qi such as Tai Qi and QiGong are easy to do no matter what your age or physical abilities. These will also help in reducing your body's negative response to stress.

        4. Support your Kidneys with a daily intake of an herbal formula designed over 2000 years ago to strengthen the kidneys.

         5. Drink purified water that does not promote the formation of Kidney Stones. Here in Florida, everyone is prone to Kidney stone formation because of our hard water and temperature. Anything that decreases Kidney function will cause you to age faster.

         6. Keep your digestive system working properly. Do not eat after 8:00 PM. Do not consume sweets before bed. Food in your stomach rots as you sleep. Rotting food can produce gas, bloating, indigestion, gastric reflux, bowel movement irregularities, and impairment of nutrient absorption.

          7. Take the Good Health test. No matter what your age, you should have good health. If you don't pass, maybe you need to come in and have a physical by one of our Traditional Chinese Medical Practitioners.


02/07/01       Suzan Hathaway


Susan Hathaway, Ph.D., Acupuncture Physician

Chinese Traditional Medical Association

3149 North Courtenay Parkway

Merritt Island


Copied from Ni’s Acupuncture website




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