The Chinese view is that at the menopause the Yin of the body declines. The Yin is cooling and moistening, like engine coolant or oil. So when it declines, the woman can become too hot and dry, like a car driven for too long without oil or water.
Yin is perhaps another way of looking at female hormones such as oestrogen and progesterone, which decline at menopause. A deficiency causes hot and dry symptoms, such as hot flushes and dry skin.
Should I take H.R.T.?
This is like artificial Yin. It works well for some women, but is associated with increased risk of cancer in others.
Chinese medicine provides a safe alternative. Many herbs, and plants such as soya, contain “phyto – oestrogens”, which are naturally occurring oestrogen – like compounds. Taking these herbs is like topping up with coolant and oil!
Should I opt for a hysterectomy?
Again, this can work well for some women, but can cause problems for others. By removing the ovaries, an important source of Yin is taken away, so the woman can end up even more “Yin deficient”. The surgery itself can sometimes cause problems: for example it may leave scar tissue, which can cause pain later. If the surgical incision cuts an acupuncture channel, this can block the flow of “Qi” in the channel, causing problems. Surgery is very traumatic to the body and can cause major “Qi Stagnation” and “Blood Stagnation”.
Often, Chinese herbs can be used as a safe alternative. Alternatively, if surgery is chosen, acupuncture and herbs can be used to help the body deal with the trauma, and prevent Qi and Blood stagnation.
Why do Chinese and Japanese women have such low rates of menopausal symptoms?
One theory is the amount of soya in the diet.
Another is that they lead less busy & stressful lives. Fast lives decrease the amount of Yin: it is like driving your car at top speeds, which uses up the coolant and oil more rapidly. So, it is very important to find time to relax: acupuncture is a great way to help you “switch off”!