Menopause is the end to menstruation and fertility caused by a natural decline in the levels of the female reproductive hormones estrogen and progesterone typically when a woman reaches her late 40s or early 50s, though in some cases it can happen earlier. The shift towards menopause starts with a stage called perimenopause or menopausal transition, which can begin several years before the final cycle and last for up to a year afterwards. After this period, a woman is said to have been "through menopause" and into postmenopausal stage lasting the rest of her life.
Menopause is different for each woman, and its signs and symptoms may vary greatly. While some women may hardly be aware of a change at all, many experience such symptoms as hot flashes and sleep problems, mood changes, memory loss, problems with the vagina and bladder, and changes in sex drive. Other changes often associated with menopause are weight gain, muscle and bone density loss, thinning of the skin and mucosal tissues, and stiff and achy muscles and joints.
Menopause is not a disease that has to be treated, but its symptoms can be eased to a great extent by Oriental medicine. While Western medicine’s approach to menopause involves attempting to replace the diminishing estrogen and keep this natural process from happening, Chinese medicine supports this transition from within by nourishing hormonal, endocrine and organ systems, allowing the body to tap into its natural ability to regulate and heal. Acupuncture treatments and Chinese herbal therapy help reduce hot flashes, night sweats and cravings, promote better sleep patterns, relieve pain, stabilize mood swings, improve mental clarity and ability to focus, and alleviate emotional stress, anxiety and depression often associated with menopause.
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