Hot flashes, mood swings, irregular periods, night sweats, and nutritional deficiencies are premium symptoms of menopause. In 2002 news surfaced that hormone replacement therapy (HRT), the most common treatment provided to ease the main symptoms of menopause, proved a danger to women. Women using HRT showed increased risk for breast cancer, heart disease, stroke, and blood clots. Now substantial evidence shows that Moxibustion therapy and other natural remedies are effective alternatives to treat classic symptoms of menopause.
Moxibustion therapy, or moxa treatment, is an Oriental medicine therapy that involves burning moxa (mugwort herb) near or on the skin, particularly at acupoints. Moxa treatment strengthens and stimulates the blood flow and qi (life energy) of the body. This process is typically used to treat diseases, provide pain relief, expel colds, and upkeep health in general.
A recent study conducted by the Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine in Daejeon, South Korea found that Moxa treatment can be used to treat hot flashes, one of the most prominent symptoms of menopause. The study results showed that Moxa treatment reduces both the intensity and frequency of hot flashes in menopausal women. The study consisted of 51 women between the ages of 45 and 60 who were experiencing moderate to severe hot flashes at least five times a day. The women were split into three groups. Two of the groups received 14 Moxa treatments over the course of four weeks, and the third group was a control group. In four weeks results showed a “statistically significant” difference in the intensity and frequency of hot flashes between the treatment groups and the control group.
Another alternative solution to HRT is acupuncture. Studies have proven this to be an effective means to ease menopausal symptoms. In addition to other studies that produced similar results, a study conducted in 2007 by the Stanford University School of Medicine showed acupuncture significantly reduced the intensity of nighttime hot flashes. The study consisted of 29 postmenopausal women experiencing at least seven hot flashes per day. The intensity of the hot flashes ranged from moderate to severe. The intensity of nocturnal hot flashes decreased in the active acupuncture group (28%) as opposed to the placebo group (6%).
Herbs are also a remedy for menopausal symptoms. Black cohosh, for example, is an effective natural remedy for menopause that helps with a variety of symptoms including hot flashes, heart palpitations, and headaches. Additionally, St. John’s Wort can treat mild forms of depression and anxiety. Because herbs can regulate the levels of all three essential hormones in the female body – estrogen, progestin, and testosterone – herbal remedies have had positive results when treating menopausal symptoms.
Non-estrogenic herbs in particular are more commonly being used as an alternative to HRT. Herbs that can treat hormonal problems without introducing artificial hormones into the body are referred to as “non-estrogenic.” The use of non-estrogenic herbs is widespread in countries such as France, Japan, and Germany, and doctors often prescribe these herbs as remedies for menopausal symptoms specifically.
From HRT to herbal remedies, a multitude of treatment options exist to help ease women through menopause. But no single treatment is a panacea. Because each woman is different, her menopausal symptoms will also be different. While some women will experience severe hot flashes, others may only experience mild symptoms or none at all. Some will experience fatigue and others will experience severe nutrition deficiencies. Menopausal symptoms vary and their level of intensity ranges. Optimal treatment methods will vary from woman to woman, but HRT is hardly the only available remedy. Alternative solutions are out there, and they are effective.
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