Menopausal hot flashes and night sweats are issues I frequently treat in my practice. With estimates suggesting that 70 - 85% of menopausal women suffer from hot flashes it is no surprise that so many are now seeking Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) treatment.
Hot flashes occur when blood vessels in the skin of the neck and head dilate larger than normal, allowing more blood to transition to these areas. This phenomenon creates a sudden feeling of heat, visible redness and blotching that is most intense in the head, neck and chest.
In TCM theory the cause of hot flashes is primarily viewed as a relative imbalance between the Yin & Yang aspects of the Kidneys. The key roles of the Kidneys in TCM relate to hormonal balancing and body temperature regulation, therefore it is no surprise that when the Kidneys in TCM are in decline a common symptom that patients will experience is hot flashes and/or night sweats.
In Western Medicine the exact cause of hot flashes is not completely understood, and the main theory is that hot flashes are caused by declining levels of the primary female sex hormone estrogen. There are, however, cases of women experiencing hot flashes with normal estrogen levels but high progesterone levels or fluctuating estrogen levels. Other hormonal fluctuations may also play a role in causing hot flashes. High levels of FSH (follicle stimulating hormone), surges of LH (luteinizing hormone), increases in cortisol and stress hormones and low beta–endorphin levels have all been linked to hot flashes.
The most commonly recognized form of treatment for hot flashes here in the West is hormone replacement therapy. Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine have been used for thousands of years in the East and more recently it is being used in the West as a clinically proven and “side effect free” form of treatment for hot flashes and other menopause related symptoms.
Researchers in Turkey decided to put Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine to the test in order to discover if it could be an effective form of therapy for hot flashes. A ten-week Acupuncture trial was conducted on fifty-three postmenopausal women suffering from hot flashes. Twenty-seven women received Traditional Chinese Acupuncture twice a week, and the other twenty-six women received “sham” Acupuncture (Acupuncture with blunt needles that did not penetrate the skin). Estrogen and other hormonal levels were measured prior to the study and after the first and last Acupuncture treatments.
At the end of the ten weeks the women that received Traditional Chinese Acupuncture reported their hot flashes to be significantly lower in severity versus the “sham” Acupuncture group. The researchers also found that the estrogen levels were significantly higher, while LH (luteinizing hormone) levels were significantly lower in the group of women that received Traditional Chinese Acupuncture versus “sham” Acupuncture group.
For more information about Acupuncture treatment for hot flashes or to book an appointment you can contact the office of Ryan Samuels at (250) 860-2212 or through his website at: www.kelownaacupunctureclinic.com
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.