Recent Study Concludes Acupuncture Significantly Reduces Menopause Symptoms
A recent study concludes that acupuncture can significantly reduce the most unpleasant symptoms of menopause.
Menopause begins on average between 45-51 years of age, although it may affect women from their 30s into their 60s. Menopause typically continues for an average of 4–5 years.
The symptoms of menopause can take a toll on women. They can reduce overall well-being and quality of life.
Medical doctors may prescribe hormone replacement medication or other pharmaceuticals to treat the symptoms of menopause. These methods can have immediate and or long-lasting negative health effects.
For example, Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may effective for many people, but, it has negative side effects and can increase the risk of developing breast cancer.
Acupuncture has become a leading treatment of the symptoms of menopause. People frequently use acupuncture to treat a wide range of disorders including depression, chronic pain, epilepsy, and schizophrenia. Even the most sceptical medical doctors now accept acupuncture treats pain.
Researchers from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and the University of Southern Denmark, Odense led, studies acupuncture's ability to treat the symptoms of menopause. Other studies have looked at acupuncture as a possible remedy for the symptoms of menopause, however due to study limitations, clear evidence frequently eluded researchers.
The researchers from this most recent study wrote, earlier studies "have been criticized for methodological limitations, for example, poor design, inadequate sample size, inadequate control or placebo groups, absence of standardized protocols, and a lack of data on adverse effects."
In this most recent study, researchers focused predominantly on hot flashes. Hot flashes affect over three-quarters of people who experiencing menopause. Tracking acupuncture’s ability to effectively treat hot flashes may be considered a proxy for other symptoms.
Each study participant completed a questionnaire that assessed their experience of menopause symptoms. They filled this out before the study began and then after 3, 6, 8, 11, and 26 weeks. The questionnaire covered the most common symptoms, including hot flashes, sleep problems, memory changes, urinary and vaginal symptoms, and skin changes.
After only 3 weeks of acupuncture treatment, the participants in the acupuncture group noted a decrease in hot flashes. Within 6 weeks of receiving regular treatment, 80 percent of the women in the acupuncture group believed that the sessions had helped them.
The acupuncture reduced hot flashes and produced significant drops in the severity or frequency of sweating (including night sweats), sleep disturbances, emotional symptoms, and skin and hair problems.
The results were statistically significant. The researchers note more extensive study is required on the subject.
Acupuncture is appropriate for women who wish to use medical treatments (plus acupuncture), or for those who prefer to use acupuncture as an effective stand-alone treatment.
Study conclusion: The standardised and brief acupuncture treatment produced a fast and clinically relevant reduction in moderate-to-severe menopausal symptoms during the six-week intervention. No severe adverse effects were reported.