Research shows that acupuncture can treat many common symptoms of menopause including, but not limited to, hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, anxiety, insomnia, and fatigue.
Hot flashes and night sweats
Research has shown that acupuncture can help regulate serotonin levels and subsequently control symptoms related to low serotonin, such as hot flashes and night sweats.
A 2016 study consisting of 209 perimenopausal and postmenopausal women supports acupuncture as an effective therapy for treating hot flashes and night sweats. The women who received acupuncture found that the frequency of their symptoms decreased, with results lasting for at least six months after receiving treatments.
Mood swings and anxiety
Perimenopause and menopause may cause mood swings and anxiety in women due to fluctuating neurotransmitter levels.
A 2013 review investigating acupuncture's ability to regulate mood found that acupuncture can alter the levels of several neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, to improve overall mood. The review also found that acupuncture helps to calm and regulate the activity of the autonomic nervous system, which tends to be overactive in individuals experiencing mood swings and anxiety.
Hot flashes, night sweats, and changes in mood can all contribute to poor sleep. As such, it is common for perimenopausal and menopausal women to unfortunately suffer from insomnia.
A study comparing the effects of acupuncture, placebo, no treatment, and medication in individuals with insomnia found that acupuncture was the most effective method in improving sleep quality and reducing the time it takes to fall asleep. Acupuncture was also found to be more effective than medication for increasing total sleep duration.
Acupuncture has been shown to help reduce fatigue symptoms. One study comprising 133 patients diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome found that individuals who received acupuncture treatment reported having significantly less mental and physical fatigue than those who did not. Additionally, another study found that patients with chronic fatigue syndrome who received acupuncture in addition to conventional treatment had better outcomes than those who received conventional treatment alone.
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Avis, N. E., Coeytaux, R. R., Isom, S., Prevette, K., & Morgan, T. (2016). Acupuncture in Menopause (AIM) study. Menopause, 23(6), 626–637. https://doi.org/10.1097/gme.0000000000000597
Cao, H., Pan, X., Li, H., & Liu, J. (2009). Acupuncture for Treatment of Insomnia: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials. National Library of Medicine, 15(11), 1171-1186. 10.1089/acm.2009.0041
Li, Q.-Q., Shi, G.-X., Xu, Q., Wang, J., Liu, C.-Z., & Wang, L.-P. (2013). Acupuncture Effect and Central Autonomic Regulation. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3677642/#, 2013(2013). National Library of Medicine. 10.1155/2013/267959
Lund, K. S., Siersma, V., Brodersen, J., & Waldorff, F. B. (2019). Efficacy of a standardised acupuncture approach for women with bothersome menopausal symptoms: a pragmatic randomised study in primary care (the ACOM study). BMJ Open, 9(1). 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-023637
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Wen, G., He, X., Lu, Y., & Xia, Y. (2010). Effect of Acupuncture on Neurotransmitters/Modulators. Acupuncture Therapy for Neurological Diseases, 120-142. Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-10857-0_5