Acupuncture for menopause, a personal experience
This is my personal experience with both western and Chinese medicine for the treatment of severe menopausal symptoms. I had excellent results with Premarin but was worried about the side effects so went off of it. I went into a nasty depression and tried acupuncture and Chinese herbs with excellent results.I knew it was coming, it was just a matter of weeks before the darkness would set in.
I'd been on Premarin for years for menopausal symptoms but in early October I decided it was just too expensive so I switched to the generic. The generic kept my hot flashes and irritability away but after a few weeks I had this horrible dizziness and lethargy. I could barely function so I stopped taking it and asked the pharmacist what was wrong. He told me I was sensitive to one of the inactive ingredients.
Oh please, I said to myself, please don't let me fall into that pit of doom and despair. I'm in nursing school and I'm working weekends, I don't want to slip into the darkness. This should be a time of happiness in my life, I'm 48, I'm single, my kids are grown and gone. Its my time!
Menopause for many women is a fairly smooth transition in life, many women experience some hot flashes and minor mood changes. But for some women, like me, menopause can be debilitating. Its not the hot flashes that got to me, it was the brain fog, depression, anxiety, and decreasing cognitive abilities. I didn't want to do anything, couldn't concentrate on studying. I was irritable, it was so hard to bite my tongue and not lash out at everyone. It took so much effort to do my job and not make mistakes.
Be careful, don't let the psychosis set in...you know its coming soon.
I had a hysterectomy in 2002 and was left with one ovary. After a few months of some minor hot flushes my ovary was doing its job and I felt great. Then in the summer of 2007 I started feeling horrible. I'd get these hot flushes that started at my feet and they'd run up through my body, they happened almost every 30 minutes. I had shoulder pain and a constant headache. I was anxious and irritable, depressed and barely functioning. I thought I was losing my mind. I wanted to end the pain by cutting myself, I wanted to die, I couldn't stand myself. I couldn't function, couldn't work, I checked myself into the hospital because I was suicidal. I was so scarred, I called my mother to come stay with me. I was started on anti-depressants, but they made me dizzy.
You're losing your mind, you know what the problem is, only you can pull yourself out.
My primary care doctor wanted me to try another anti-depressant, but I wasn't willing to do that. I'd been reading up on menopause and knew that what I was experiencing was probably due to menopause. I asked to be put on Premarin, my mother had excellent results and no side effects from Premarin.
You can't go back on Premarin, you smoke and you don't want a stroke. What other options are there?
I'd tried estrogen supplements such as black cohosh in the past with no luck. I decided this time to try acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. This had worked wonders for me in the past with a case of bronchitis and sinusitis that my western doctor couldn't clear up.
I've had 3 acupuncture treatments in the last 5 days and have been taking Chinese herbs. My darkness, despair, anxiety and cognition have all greatly improved. I can finally concentrate long enough to write this article. The hot flashes are still with me, I sat in class today one minute fanning myself and the next putting on a sweater. I'm getting better with each new day, I can't wait to sleep through the night without being woken by a hot flash.
I hope this article encourages readers to consider acupuncture and Chinese medicine for menopausal symptoms. In my case it saved my life.Last edit by Joe V on Nov 23, '10
I'm a new LPN and in school to become an RN. I'm single and my kids are grown and gone. Its my time in life and I'm going to make the best of it.
Joined: Oct '09; Posts: 2,380; Likes: 2,875
Home Care Supervisor; from CA
Specialty: home careNov 22, '10Before pharmaceuticals there were alternatives. Acupuncture helped me to quit smoking so I know it has value. It is inexpensive and relatively painless given the benefits. Thank for sharing your experience.Nov 22, '10The next drug of choice for my western doctor to prescribe for hot flashes was clonidine. Oh hell no.
I'm taking 3 different chinese herbs...45 little pills a day. Sounds like a terrible amount of pills to take but its not really that bad considering the alternative. I feel much better and have had no side effects.Nov 24, '10right now i am in perimenopause, and about 2 years ago, while using acupuncture for tennis elbow, i told the acupunturist i was having hot flashes and she treated that also with acupunture, so my hot flashes dissapeared. now i have not done acupuncture. I have tried black cohosh-didnt help. i have now returned to aerobic exercise, about 3x/week and the hot flashes have diminished significantly in intensity. so i will continue with cardio exercise:spin:, plus the exercise is helping with S.A.D..Feb 17, '13Thank you for sharing your personal experience with acupuncture and for your honesty with your struggles. I too, am going through the change and am in nursing school (one more year left), I exercise 3-4 x week, receive massage therapy, and just started taking a low dose antidepressant (with some reservations). I have considered acupuncture for these issues before and now will look into it more seriously. Thank you again for sharing!
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