top of page
  • David Konikowski

Hot Flashes and Cool Solutions: Finding Balance during Menopausal Syndrome

Updated: May 23




As summer approaches and the heat index rises, the growing warmth can be accompanied by unwelcome surges of heat, uncomfortable sweating, irritability and other hormonal change symptoms by women transitioning from the childbearing years to the end of menstruation.


This can be part of the challenges endured by women experiencing symptoms of menopausal syndrome. As women transition through this natural phase of life, they often encounter a myriad of physical, emotional, and psychological changes that can significantly impact their well-being.


Along with hot flashes, night sweats, perimenopause can also come with fatigue, brain fog, insomnia, mood swings, vaginal dryness, skin changes, and other challenges. Yet, amidst the struggles that often come with change, there is a proven treatment to support a smoother transition.


Often considered as treatment for pain, acupuncture may offer significant benefit for the symptoms of menopause. From hot flashes to mood swings, insomnia to fatigue, acupuncture may help turn down the heat and bring the body back into harmony. Join us as we delve into the nuances of menopausal syndrome, debunk common myths, and embrace the journey towards holistic health and vitality during this transformative time.


Understanding Menopausal Syndrome


Menopausal syndrome, also known as menopause syndrome or perimenopausal syndrome, refers to a collection of symptoms that many women experience as they approach menopause and during the postmenopausal period. Menopause typically occurs between the ages of 45 and 55, marking the end of a woman's reproductive years. During this time, the ovaries gradually reduce their production of estrogen and progesterone, leading to hormonal fluctuations that can trigger various physical and emotional changes.


Possible Causes of Menopausal Syndrome


Menopausal syndrome, also known as perimenopausal syndrome, is primarily caused by the hormonal changes that occur as women transition from their reproductive years to menopause. The main hormonal changes associated with menopause include:


Decline in estrogen levels:

Estrogen is a key hormone produced by the ovaries, and its levels gradually decline as women approach menopause. This decline in estrogen can lead to various symptoms such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and mood swings.


Fluctuations in progesterone levels: 

Progesterone, another hormone produced by the ovaries, also decreases during perimenopause. Fluctuations in progesterone levels can contribute to irregular menstrual cycles, sleep disturbances, and mood changes.


Changes in follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH): 

FSH and LH are hormones produced by the pituitary gland that play a role in regulating the menstrual cycle and ovulation. During perimenopause, FSH and LH levels can fluctuate significantly as the ovaries become less responsive to their signals, leading to irregular menstrual cycles and other symptoms.


Alterations in other hormones: 

Other hormones, such as testosterone and adrenal hormones, may also fluctuate during perimenopause and contribute to symptoms such as changes in libido, fatigue, and mood swings.


In addition to hormonal changes, there are several other factors that can influence the development and severity of menopausal syndrome, including:


Genetics: 

A woman's genetics can play a role in determining her susceptibility to menopausal symptoms. Women with a family history of early menopause or a predisposition to certain health conditions may be more likely to experience severe symptoms.


Lifestyle factors: 

Poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking, and high stress levels can exacerbate menopausal symptoms. Adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise, a balanced diet, stress management techniques, and avoiding smoking can help alleviate symptoms.


Medical conditions: 

Certain medical conditions, such as thyroid disorders, diabetes, and depression, can worsen menopausal symptoms or mimic symptoms of menopause. Treating underlying medical conditions can help improve symptoms and overall well-being.


Surgical menopause: 

Women who undergo surgical removal of the ovaries (oophorectomy) or uterus (hysterectomy) may experience abrupt menopause and more severe symptoms due to the sudden loss of ovarian hormones.


Overall, menopausal syndrome is a complex and multifactorial condition influenced by hormonal changes, genetics, lifestyle factors, and medical history. Understanding the underlying causes of menopausal symptoms can help women and healthcare providers develop personalized treatment plans to manage symptoms and improve quality of life during this transitional phase.


Common Symptoms of Menopausal Syndrome


Menopausal syndrome, also known as perimenopausal syndrome, encompasses a range of physical, emotional, and psychological symptoms that many women experience as they approach menopause and during the postmenopausal period. While the severity and duration of symptoms can vary widely from one individual to another, some common symptoms include:


Hot flashes: 

Sudden feelings of intense heat, often accompanied by sweating and flushing of the skin. Hot flashes can occur during the day or night (night sweats) and may disrupt sleep patterns.


Irregular menstrual cycles: 

Changes in the length, frequency, and intensity of menstrual periods are common during perimenopause. Some women may experience shorter, longer, heavier, or lighter periods, while others may have irregular cycles or skip periods altogether.


Vaginal dryness: 

Reduced lubrication and elasticity of the vaginal tissues, leading to discomfort or pain during intercourse. Vaginal dryness can also increase the risk of vaginal infections and urinary tract infections.


Mood swings: 

Fluctuations in mood, including irritability, anxiety, depression, and mood swings, are common during perimenopause. Hormonal changes, sleep disturbances, and stress can all contribute to mood changes during this time.


Sleep disturbances: 

Insomnia, difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, and restless sleep are common complaints among women going through perimenopause. Night sweats, hormonal fluctuations, and anxiety can all disrupt sleep patterns during this time.


Fatigue: 

Persistent feelings of tiredness, low energy levels, and fatigue are common symptoms of perimenopause. Hormonal changes, sleep disturbances, and stress can all contribute to feelings of fatigue during this time.


Weight gain: 

Changes in metabolism and hormonal fluctuations can lead to weight gain, particularly around the abdomen, during perimenopause. Changes in diet, exercise habits, and metabolism can all contribute to weight gain during this time.


Changes in libido: 

Decreased sex drive or changes in sexual desire and response are common during perimenopause. Hormonal changes, vaginal dryness, and fatigue can all contribute to changes in libido during this time.


Memory lapses and cognitive changes: 

Some women may experience memory lapses, difficulty concentrating, or "brain fog" during perimenopause. Hormonal changes, sleep disturbances, and stress can all affect cognitive function during this time.


Bone density loss: 

Estrogen plays a crucial role in maintaining bone density, so the decline in estrogen levels during perimenopause can increase the risk of osteoporosis and fractures.


It's important to note that not all women will experience the same symptoms, and the severity and duration of symptoms can vary widely from one individual to another. Additionally, some women may experience symptoms for a few months or years leading up to menopause, while others may experience symptoms for a longer period of time. Seeking support from healthcare providers and adopting healthy lifestyle practices can help women manage symptoms and navigate the perimenopausal transition with greater ease and resilience.


Benefits of Acupuncture for Menopausal Syndrome


Acupuncture, a key component of traditional Chinese medicine, has been increasingly studied and utilized as a complementary therapy for managing symptoms associated with menopausal syndrome. While individual responses to acupuncture can vary, some potential benefits for menopausal symptoms can include:


Hot flash relief: 

Several studies suggest that acupuncture may help reduce the frequency and severity of hot flashes in menopausal women. Acupuncture points targeted during treatment may help regulate hormonal fluctuations and improve thermoregulation, leading to a reduction in hot flashes and night sweats.


Improved sleep quality: 

Acupuncture may help improve sleep quality and reduce insomnia in menopausal women. By promoting relaxation, reducing stress, and balancing hormonal levels, acupuncture may contribute to better sleep patterns and overall well-being.


Alleviation of mood swings and anxiety: 

Acupuncture has been shown to have anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) effects and may help alleviate mood swings, irritability, and anxiety associated with menopausal syndrome. By regulating neurotransmitters and promoting relaxation, acupuncture may contribute to improved emotional well-being during the menopausal transition.


Relief from vaginal dryness and discomfort: 

Acupuncture may help improve blood flow to the pelvic region and stimulate the production of vaginal lubrication, potentially alleviating symptoms of vaginal dryness and discomfort during intercourse. Some women may also experience relief from urinary symptoms associated with vaginal atrophy.


Regulation of hormonal balance: 

Acupuncture may help regulate hormonal balance by influencing the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and the release of endorphins, serotonin, and other neurotransmitters involved in hormone regulation. By restoring hormonal balance, acupuncture may help alleviate various menopausal symptoms.


Bone Health: 

Estrogen deficiency during menopause may increase the risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures. Acupuncture may potentially support bone health by stimulating osteoblast activity, the cells responsible for bone formation, and potentially reducing osteoclast activity, which breaks down bone tissue. Additionally, acupuncture may enhance circulation to bone tissue, potentially facilitating the delivery of nutrients essential for bone remodeling and maintenance.


Cognitive Function: 

Some women may experience cognitive changes during menopause, such as memory lapses and difficulty concentrating. Acupuncture may potentially improve cognitive function by enhancing cerebral blood flow and oxygenation, which support optimal brain function. Moreover, acupuncture may potentially reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in the brain, potentially mitigating cognitive decline associated with aging and hormonal changes.


Libido Enhancement:

Decreased libido or sexual desire may be a potential symptom of menopause. Acupuncture may potentially enhance libido by regulating hormonal balance, increasing blood flow to the pelvic region, and reducing stress and anxiety related to sexual dysfunction. Additionally, acupuncture may potentially stimulate the release of oxytocin, a hormone associated with bonding and arousal, potentially enhancing sexual satisfaction and intimacy.


Cardiovascular Health: 

Estrogen plays a protective role in cardiovascular health, and its decline during menopause may increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. Acupuncture may potentially support cardiovascular health by reducing blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and inflammation, potentially lowering the risk of cardiovascular complications. Additionally, acupuncture may potentially enhance circulation and improve endothelial function, potentially promoting overall cardiovascular well-being.


Enhanced overall well-being: 

Acupuncture is often associated with a sense of relaxation, stress reduction, and improved overall well-being. Menopausal women undergoing acupuncture treatment may experience benefits such as increased energy levels, improved mood, and a greater sense of vitality and resilience.


Individual responses to acupuncture can vary, and it may take several sessions before experiencing noticeable improvements. Working with a licensed acupuncturist who has experience treating menopausal symptoms can help ensure safe and effective treatment tailored to individual needs.


Complementary Treatments for the Symptoms of Menopausal Syndrome


Several complementary treatments may help alleviate symptoms associated with menopausal syndrome, offering women additional options for managing their well-being during this transitional phase of life. Some of these complementary treatments include:


Herbal Medicine: 

Certain herbs and botanical supplements have been used traditionally to help alleviate menopausal symptoms, regulate hormonal imbalances, and aid in the transition to post-menopausal wellness.


Individual herb remedies include black cohosh, red clover, dong quai, evening primrose oil, and soy isoflavones. Comprehensive Chinese Herbal Medicine formulas, customized by well-trained experts, can produce signifcant relief of symptoms with minimal side effects and drug-herb interactions.


It's essential to consult with a herbalist before using herbal remedies, as they may interact with medications or have adverse effects in some individuals.


Dietary changes: 

A balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can help support overall health and well-being during menopause. Some women find that reducing their intake of caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods, and refined sugars can help alleviate symptoms such as hot flashes and mood swings. Additionally, incorporating foods rich in phytoestrogens, such as soy products, flaxseeds, and chickpeas, may help regulate hormonal balance.


Mind-body practices: 

Stress reduction techniques such as yoga, tai chi, meditation, and deep breathing exercises can help promote relaxation and emotional well-being during menopause. These mind-body practices may also help alleviate symptoms such as hot flashes, sleep disturbances, and mood swings by reducing stress hormones and promoting overall balance in the body.


Regular exercise: 

Engaging in regular physical activity, such as walking, swimming, cycling, or strength training, can help alleviate symptoms of menopausal syndrome by promoting circulation, reducing stress, improving mood, and maintaining bone density. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity each week, along with muscle-strengthening exercises on two or more days per week.


Biofeedback: 

Biofeedback is a mind-body technique that involves using electronic monitoring devices to help individuals gain awareness and control over physiological processes such as heart rate, muscle tension, and skin temperature. Biofeedback may help women manage symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, and stress by teaching them to regulate their body's responses through relaxation techniques.


Stay Hydrated: 

Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated. Dehydration can exacerbate symptoms like fatigue, headaches, and mood swings. Aim for at least 8-10 cups of water daily, or more if you're exercising or in a hot climate.


Limit Caffeine and Alcohol: 

Both caffeine and alcohol may trigger hot flashes and disrupt sleep. Limit your intake of coffee, tea, soda, and alcohol.


Get Adequate Sleep: 

Prioritize quality sleep by establishing a regular sleep schedule, creating a comfortable sleep environment, and practicing good sleep hygiene habits. Though menopause symptoms may interfere with sleep schedules at times, try to aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night to improve mood, energy levels, and overall well-being.


Limit Spicy Foods: 

Spicy foods, along with caffeine and alcohol, can be common triggers for hot flashes in some women. Avoiding or reducing intake of spicy foods, especially in the evening, may help minimize hot flash episodes.


Maintain a Healthy Weight: 

Excess weight may exacerbate symptoms of menopause and increase the risk of health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. Aim to achieve and maintain a healthy weight through a combination of balanced diet and regular exercise.


Bone Health: 

Menopause is associated with a decline in estrogen levels, which may lead to bone loss and osteoporosis. Ensure an adequate intake of calcium (from leafy greens) and vitamin D (from sunlight, mushrooms and/or supplements) to support bone health. Be sure to protect yourself from harmful rays by limiting exposure to brief periods, about 10-15 minutes. Practice sun safety and consult a healthcare provider before starting new dietary supplements.


Avoid Smoking: 

Smoking is associated with earlier menopause onset, increased severity of hot flashes, and higher risk of osteoporosis and heart disease. If you smoke, quitting can improve your overall health and potentially reduce menopausal symptoms.


Social Support: 

Surround yourself with supportive friends, family, or peers who understand and empathize with your experiences during menopause. Joining a menopause support group or participating in online forums can provide additional encouragement and support.


Vaginal Moisturizers: 

During menopause, declining estrogen levels may lead to vaginal dryness and discomfort. Fortunately, there are several natural ways women can regain moisture in the vaginal area. Increasing hydration by drinking plenty of water and herbal teas can support overall moisture levels in the body. Consuming foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as flaxseeds and chia seeds, may help promote vaginal lubrication. Using natural lubricants like organic coconut oil or aloe vera gel during sexual activity may also help alleviate dryness and discomfort. Regular pelvic floor exercises, such as Kegels, can improve blood flow to the vaginal area and enhance moisture retention.


Enjoy Healthy Fats:

Incorporate sources of healthy fats such as avocados and chia seeds into your diet. Healthy fats may support hormonal balance, brain health, and overall well-being during menopause.


Limit Stressful Situations: 

Identify sources of stress in your life and develop strategies to limit and/or cope with them effectively. Practice assertive communication, time management, and boundary-setting to minimize exposure to stressful situations and promote a sense of control and resilience.


It's important to remember that while complementary treatments can be beneficial for managing menopausal symptoms, they may not be suitable for everyone, and individual responses can vary. It's always best to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new treatment regimen, especially if you have underlying health conditions or are taking medications. Additionally, integrating multiple complementary approaches, along with healthy lifestyle habits, may offer the most comprehensive support for women experiencing menopausal syndrome.



As we conclude our journey through the realm of menopausal syndrome, one thing becomes abundantly clear: this transitional phase is not merely an end but a new beginning. Acupuncture emerges as a reliable and reproducible method to aid those struggling throught the transition and coming out feeling healthy and happy on the other side.


From reducing hot flashes and improving sleep quality to alleviating mood swings and enhancing hormonal balance, acupuncture offers a comprehensive toolkit for women seeking relief during this transformative phase of life. By embracing acupuncture as part of a holistic wellness regimen, women can reclaim control over their bodies, minds, and spirits, and embark on their menopausal journey with confidence, vitality, and grace.


So, whether you're seeking relief from hot flashes, insomnia, mood swings, or other menopausal symptoms, consider exploring the benefits of acupuncture at Four Corners Acupuncture & Wellness Center with a complementary consultation.


Our provider, David Konikowski, L.Ac., will discuss your specific concerns, evaluate your condition, answer your questions, and create a customized treatment plan to treat your unique presentation. Its time to put a pause on menopause symptoms. Reach out to us today!

Σχόλια


bottom of page