The average age for the menopause is approximately 51, although the perimenopause (the time when alterations to the menstrual cycle begin) is usually between the ages of 45 and 47.
Approximately 70% of women suffer from hot flashes (hot flushes) during the menopause, not to mention emotional changes and other symptoms such as irritability and reduced libido.
Treatment of hot flushes is the most common reason for taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT). However, although HRT relieves menopausal symptoms in 80-90% of women and offers some protection against osteoporosis, its reputation has been tarnished in recent years by evidence that it increases the risk of venous thromboembolic disease, breast cancer, stroke and coronary artery disease. Consequently, there are many women who refuse to take HRT, or cannot take it because of their medical history, and who are looking for an alternative to help them cope with the symptoms of the menopause.
Chinese medicine offers an alternative to HRT and can reduce the intensity and frequency of hot flushes and many of the symptoms which accompany the menopause. At a very simple level, Chinese medicine views the menopause as a time when the yin (cooling) and yang (warming) functions of the body become unbalanced. The picture is often complicated by other patterns of disharmony, but the aim of treatment with a combination of lifestyle advice, acupuncture and herbal medicine is usually to regulate the fluctuations in yin and yang and bring the body back into balance.