Menopause and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
In TCM, the female life is divided into cycles, with one cycle occurring every 7 years. This is termed ‘Tiangui’, or ‘heavenly tenth’. By the completion of the seventh cycle at 49 years the female body begins to age with the decline of functions of various organ systems particularly the kidney system. As the ovarian function declines, so does the level of oestrogen production. This leads to autonomic nervous system dysfunction, including hot flushes and sweats, emotional disorders, insomnia, fatigue, headache, dizziness, palpitations, musculoskeletal pain, and genitourinary symptoms. There is often a noticeable decline in all systems.
In Chinese Medicine each organ is understood as a system rather than just a physical organ. Menopause is connected to Kidney qi deficiency. In TCM the kidney system is responsible for the regulation of temperature, fertility, and fluid balance. During the perimenopausal phase women will experience a decline in kidney qi which will have an impact on visceral function and metabolism. Yin and Yang are two opposing but complementary components in nature that ensure that every system within the body functions in balance with qi and blood. As a woman journey’s into the perimenopausal phase of her life she will experience a depletion of kidney qi which will have an impact on all systems as they try to maintain their balance of yin and yang, qi and blood. If she enters this period of her life already depleted in some way, she will experience more symptoms.
What to expect from TCM
Once a full history is taken then a TCM diagnosis can be made and treatment applied. This may involve acupuncture, herbs, supplements, diet, and lifestyle changes to support the body’s qi and blood to keep the yin and yang more balanced. These treatments can be combined with other pharmaceutical treatments. Studies have shown that TCM treatments can significantly alleviate menopausal symptoms, improve quality of life and is safe.