Menopause normally initiates in the sixties and continues for over a period of 4 to 5 years. The symptoms of menopause are said to reduce the general well-being and may affect every aspect of life.
While most symptoms of menopause can be treated, the current methods used for this purpose still require perfection.
Hormone replacement therapy or HRT has been effective for a lot of people. However, the same therapy has also been said to increase the risk of acquiring breast cancer.
Due to this reason, a lot of people go for non-hormonal therapies but even these treatment options have their own list of unpleasant side effects too. These include dizziness, sleep disturbances, fatigue, and nausea.
Because of this, a lot of scientists are trying their best to find non-pharmaceutical methods of combatting these treatments.
An Alternative Approach
In recent years, the medical community has seen a swing regarding the therapies meant for menopause. One of the most important therapies includes acupuncture.
Acupuncture has been maintaining its status as an extremely effective therapy for different diseases for a long time. The benefits are so much that it is easily said to compare the effects of medicinal treatments.
People have been using this technique to manage a lot of diseases such as chronic pain, depression, schizophrenia, and epilepsy, each with a different level of success.
In the most recent study, the researchers belonging to the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and the University of Southern Denmark tried to check the effects of acupuncture on the symptoms of menopause.
A lot of other studies have tried to explore the effects of acupuncture as a possible solution for menopausal symptoms, however, no definite diagnosis has been established so far.
Acupuncture and Hot Flashes
To check this further, the researchers mainly focused on one predominant symptom of menopause i.e. hot flashes. These hot flashes tend to continue for a number of years, affecting more than half of people experiencing menopause. They can also be extremely distressing.
The study took into account 70 women who had experienced menopause. The researchers chose half of these women to undergo standardized acupuncture for over 5 weeks. The acupuncturists used for this purpose had 14 years of experience on average.
The rest of the individuals were kept as a control group and they received no other intervention. The findings of this study are present in BMJ Open.
Every participant was said to complete a questionnaire assessing their experience regarding the menopausal symptoms. They filled it out just before the beginning of the study and later at 3, 6, 8, 11, and 26th weeks
The questionnaire included different symptoms like memory changes, sleep problems, hot flashes, skin changes, and symptoms related to urination and vagina.
After the completion of three weeks, the women in the acupuncture group were found to experience a decreased level of hot flashes. Till 6th week, almost 80 percent in the same group were sure that this session helped them.
Acupuncture was not only found to reduce hot flashes but also decreased the severity of other symptoms like sleep disturbance, skin problems, hair problems, and excessive sweating.