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  • Menopause - A Natural Progression Of Womanhood | with Rebecca Tanner

    March 19, 2024 5 min read

    Menopause is part of the natural progression of aging and being a woman. As far as we know whales are the only mammal that have adapted to live beyond reproductive age. In the case of whales, it is known matriarchs guide the pod to good food sources and provide navigational skills vital for the survival of the group.

    In Traditional Chinese Medicine, aging is commonly revered as part of the gaining of wisdom and like whales- elders have a central role to play in the community.

    Not surprisingly many women in Asian and traditional cultures experience a lot fewer symptoms than western women.

    During perimenopause, women are said to experience a gradual reduction in “kidney energy” a term that encompasses the reproductive system, adrenal glands as well as ancestral/ genetic influences on health. A Yin & Yang imbalance is seen to be responsible for the common symptoms of menopause such as hot flushes, night sweats, poor sleep, poor memory, aches and pains etc.

    There are so many traditions that we can adopt from traditional Chinese medicine that can reduce these symptoms by nourishing the body with diet, herbal medicines and lifestyle changes - some of my favourite remedies are 1000 year old traditional Chinese formulas.

    I was recently interviewed on a podcast and asked what surprised me the most about being a menopausal woman. My answer was - how good one can feel when you adapt to the new hormone levels and without menstrual blood loss, the energy gained for some women is a big boost in springing you into the next fabulous 3rd of your life.

    My advice is - be kind to yourself, there are pros and cons along the journey. Oestrogen does appear to help put rose coloured glasses on your relationship but you will find a strength you have never known, a birds eye view of life and what's important, an ability to be a great support and rock for those that you love and put your energy into where it matters most. Your beauty and light can shine stronger if you adopt consistent daily practices to support your health.

    Reduce black tea, coffee and alcohol. These drinks are deemed Hot in nature. By over consuming these beverages, it can add additional Heat into the body therefore exacerbating hot flushes and night sweats. Heat has the ability to dry fluids up. Fluids are considered Yin in nature which assist in nourishing our skin, lubricating the vagina and helps support the cooling function of the body.

    Another randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study was conducted on 31 postmenopausal women in the Netherlands, in which the Chinese medicine Zhibai Dihuang was administered for 12 weeks followed by 4 weeks of treatment discontinuation. At follow-up, researchers evaluated the effect of this treatment on vasomotor symptoms, including hot flushes and night sweating, and found that Zhibai Dihuang significantly improved symptoms compared to a placebo (p < 0.01).

    A systematic review consisting of six randomized, controlled studies with a total of 510 patients comparing the efficacy and safety of JiaWeiSuanZaoRen soup and sleeping pills in the treatment of menopausal insomnia showed that JiaWeiSuanZaoRen soup showed comparable effects to diazepam and alprazolam tablets, whereas JiaWeiSuanZaoRen soup treatment showed better efficacy than estazolam (p < 0.05). Additionally, JiaWeiSuanZaoRen soup improved the quality of sleep, as indicated by the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, when compared with alprazolam (p < 0.05). More adverse events were reported in the group receiving sleeping pills than in the JiaWeiSuanZaoRen soup group (p < 0.05, χ2 = 4.9246).

    Saikosaponin, the active ingredient of the radix bupleuri in Xiangshao granules, has anti-inflammatory and anti-convulsion effects and can extend sleep duration. It has demonstrated good therapeutic efficacy against anxiety and depression, possibly by affecting serotonin activity in the central nervous system. Wang observed that Xiangshao granules regulated serum neurotransmitter levels, including serotonin, norepinephrine, and epinephrine, thereby indicating that Xiangshao granules may improve menopausal depression through balancing the neuroendocrine system.

    A study observing the effects of bilateral acupuncture at the Feishu, Xinshu, Ganshu, Pishu, Shenshu and Geshu points on patients with menopausal depression found that the Hamilton Depression Scale scores at the 6th week of treatment were comparable between the acupuncture group and the fluoxetine hydrochloride group. Notably, acupuncture exhibited better outcomes (p < 0.05) at weeks 2 and 4.

    In Chinese Medicine, when our body ceases menstruation, the qi and blood is redirected to our Heart, where our 'Shen' or Spirit resides. It is this shift in qi and blood that allows us to access the vibrancy, courage and creativity that accompanies our Second Spring.

    The appropriate formula used to treat major symptoms of hot flushes, night sweats, and other accompanying symptoms, will depend on the patient’s presentation. Commonly used formulas, include:

  • Zuo Gui Yin or Zhi Bai Di Huang Wan, when symptoms include thirst, dry mouth or throat, nights sweats, heat sensations in the hands and feet.
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  • You Gui Wan, when symptoms include fatigue, cold limbs, aversion to cold, and oedema.

     

  • Jia Wei Xiao Yao San, when symptoms include heat, with irritability and moodiness, and high stress levels, and indigestion.

     

  • Tian Wan Bu Xin Dan, when symptoms include anxiety, palpitations, and insomnia.

     

  • Er Xian Tang, used for mixed Kidney Yin and Yang symptoms, with general coldness, with hot flushes night sweat, irritability, and fatigue.

     

    Isoflavones, 40-80 mg, total isoflavones per day (dosing varies based on isoflavone), minimum 12 weeks
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  • A meta-analysis of 17 trials found reduced frequency (20.6%) and severity (26.2%) of hot flushes when compared to placebo; further analysis found isoflavones with 18.8 mg of genistein were twice as effective for reducing frequency of hot flushes.

     

  • Daidzein-rich isoflavone supplementation in doses of 40 mg and 60 mg improved frequency of hot flushes by 43% and 41% after 8 weeks, and 52% and 51% after 12 weeks, respectively, when compared to 32% and 39% with placebo, without any alteration of endogenous sex hormones or thyroid hormones.

     

  • For acute menopausal symptoms, 60 mg of isoflavones for six weeks decreased hot flushes by 57% and night sweats by 43%, with no other changes in serum levels of lipoproteins, estradiol, and follicular stimulating hormones when compared to that of placebo.

     

  • Mean number of hot flushes decreased by 36.2% and 41.2 % in treatment group compared to 24.0% and 29.3% with placebo at week 6 and 12, respectively.

     

  • Red clover isoflavones decreased Kupperman Index score at three months and number of hot flushes at one month compared to that of placebo, with no effects on cardiovascular risk markers.

     

  • Hot flush frequency decreased in a pooled mean analysis when compared to that of placebo while having no statistically significant reported side effects.

     



  • Appointments to support you through perimenopause and menopause can be booked with Rebecca here.

    Acupuncturist, naturopath and trained midwife, Rebecca Tanner, enjoys blending eastern and western healing traditions and is experienced in supporting women and couples on their fertility journey.


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