Changing the Change – For the Better

“Menopause is normal, but it’s not natural.”  It took a minute for the meaning of this statement to sink in.  How can something so prevalent in women’s health not be natural?

Simple: our environment and lifestyle affects our bodies.  There are women in other countries, such as China, that do not live with the same symptoms that we do here in the United States.  Hot flashes and night sweats are so rare, only 10% of Asian women experience menopause symptoms, compared to 75% in the US.  

Diet, acupuncture, and Chinese herbal medicines are likely reasons that Chinese women don’t experience the same level of symptoms that American women do.  In diet alone, it is estimated that women in Western countries are exposed to high levels of environmental estrogen, which may lead to breast cancer and other hormone related conditions in women.  Phytoestrogens, or plant-based estrogens, release slowly and naturally into the body, helping to replace the body’s natural stores.  Soy is the richest known source of phytoestrogens, and women who add it to their diets in the 20s and 30s increase their chances for trouble-free menopause. 

Acupuncture is a widely practiced form of medicine which naturally keeps the body in balance.  Hair-thin needles stimulate various points in the body, encouraging the body to work at its optimum level.  An increasing number of gynecologists are referring women to acupuncture as an alternative to hormone therapy, especially women recovering from or at high risk of breast cancer.  Most women respond well to acupuncture, and many see significant reduction in night sweats, headaches, and hot flashes after just a few sessions.  

Combining acupuncture with Chinese herbal medicine is incredibly powerful.  Herbal formulas further help correct deficiencies in the body.  Single herbs, such as ginseng, are effective treatments, but are not as powerful as herbal formulas, which also treat symptoms such as headache, insomnia, and depression.  

Western doctors tend to rely on hormone replacement therapy, especially estrogen replacement.  Recently, they have started progesterone treatment, as well.  Estrogen replacement therapy can be dangerous for women with histories of uterine fibroids, endometriosis, varicose veins, hypertension, diabetes, and breast cancer.  Hormone replacement therapy also creates nutritional stress, increasing the body’s need for folic acid, vitamin B, zinc, vitamin A, and vitamin C.  Women can also experience serious, if not fatal side effects, including rashes, hair loss, nausea, abdominal pain, bloating, jaundice, gall stones, changes in libido, fibroids, painful sex, migraines, irritability, muscle and bone pain, blood clotting disorders, liver tumors, and more.  

Changes in diet, plus the addition of acupuncture and Chinese herbal therapy, can prevent menopausal symptoms when started young, and diminish them for women already experiencing “The Change.”  Affinity Acupuncture can help.  Call us today at 615-939-2787 to schedule your appointment.  In the meantime, here are some foods that can help with your symptoms. 

Diet Should Include:
Seeds and nuts, especially sunflower seeds
Wheat Germ
Brewer’s Yeast
Soy 
Seaweed
Vitamin B Complex
Iodine
Iron 
Spinach
Calcium
Broccoli
Spinach
Kale
Yogurt
Bananas
Clams
Chickpeas
Rice
Peas
Egg yolks
Cherries

Diet Should Exclude:
Caffeine
Refined Sugar
Alcohol, especially red wine
Spicy Foods
Cold cuts
Canned soups
Processed cheese
Margarine
Foods high in fat
Breakfast bars
Vitamin Water (vitamins and water are better! Or mix 10% whole fruit juice and water.)
Bran muffins
Dried fruit
Instant oatmeal
Flavored yogurt

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