Huang Di Nei Jing, the classic medical writing in Traditional Chinese Medicine, was believed to be written in somewhere 200 A.D, has a vivid description about the progression of human life. For female life, it goes:
1. Qi the Master said, “female’s kidney energy flourishes at the age of seven, when permanent teeth and hair grow. (7 year old)
2. The Deca comes at the age of double seven, when the ren channel(the front middle channel)is open and the tai chong channel is prosperous then menstruation comes shortly, so she can breed. (14 years old)
3. The kidney energy is mild and even at the age of triple seven, so the wisdom teeth grow and hair becomes very long. (21 years old)
4. At quadruple seven, bones and tendons become strong, very long hair and flourishingly strong body. (28 years old)
5. At quintuple seven, when the yang min channel declines, the face starts to desiccate and hair to come off. (35 years old)
6. At sextuple seven, three yang channels decline from the top, face thoroughly desiccates and hair starts to turn grey. (42 years old)
7. At septuplet seven, with deficiency in the ren channel and decline in the tai chong channel, Deca runs out and menstruation stops, so the body declines, unable to breed. (48 years old)
The terms and concepts contained in the description may be difficult to understand, however, the progression in a female life literally remains the same after thousands of years to this day.
The onset of menopause signals the ending of a woman’s reproductive cycle. Menopause actually begins after the women’s last period. This event marks the culmination of several years of peri-menopausal changes during which hormones secreted by the ovaries (estrogen and progesterone) gradually decline.
Peri- and menopausal symptoms vary considerably from person to person. Asians are known to have few to no symptoms other than irregular menses. Western women, however, have much higher incidences of body changes such as hot flashes, night sweats, reduced libido, forgetfulness, heart palpitations, loss of bladder control, frequent urination, and joint pains, to name a few. For some, these symptoms are like a living hell.
All women go through menopause. There is no escape for anyone.
Once menopause arrives, the body’s internal production of estrogen and progesterone stops. Women can no longer depend on their own body to produce these two hormones to protect themselves against osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease. The result to their health can be devastating.
Osteoporosis is the loss of bone density, leading to fractures. Post-menopausal women low in estrogen have a 25% chance of serious bone loss and fracture. The lifetime risk of hip fracture approaches 30% for those afflicted with osteoporosis, resulting in the loss of independent living. Many will die from their injuries.
Estrogen increases pliability of blood vessels, lowers bad LDL-cholesterol, increases good HDL-cholesterol, and decreases platelet aggregation that leads to blood clots. These protective properties of estrogen result in pre-menopausal women having a lower risk of heart disease than either men, or post-menopausal women. Post-menopausal women are just as vulnerable to heart disease as men of the same age. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in women over 45 years of age.
The two primary hormones secreted by the ovaries are estrogen and progesterone. The properties of one offset the other and together they are maintained in optimal opposing balance in our body at all times. Too much of one hormone or the other leads to significant medical problems.
When it comes to hormones, synthetic hormones (those made in a laboratory) may not work as well as the original, natural form. The body knows and can recognize the difference between many natural and synthetic compounds. Take Vitamin E as an example. After decades of study and debate, the National Academy of Science now acknowledges that natural Vitamin E is better absorbed and is twice as potent as the synthetic version.
We know that estrogen, whether natural or unnatural, helps relieve symptoms of menopause, prevents heart disease, and slows the development of osteoporosis.
The natural form of progesterone is quite different from the synthetic unnatural form made in a laboratory (the widely prescribed Provera). The synthetic version is not really progesterone, but a compound called Progestin. Progestin is far more powerful than a woman’s natural progesterone, and is metabolized as a foreign substance into toxic metabolites. This synthetic progesterone can severely interfere with the body’s own natural progesterone, creating other hormone-related health problems, further exacerbating estrogen dominance, if the dosage is not adjusted properly. Side effects of synthetic progesterone include increased risk of cancer, abnormal menstrual flow, nausea, depression, masculinization, and fluid retention.
Natural progesterone made from wild yams and soybeans is nearly identical to the progesterone a woman produces. This form of progesterone comes in micronized capsules or in creams. Creams are easily applied to the skin with the breast, thigh, and abdominal areas being the most common areas. The body easily converts this natural progesterone into the form identical to that found in the human body. Adverse side effects are very rare. If taken inappropriately, it might slightly alter the timing of the menstrual cycle. Please note that yam-derived natural progesterone should not be confused with “yam extracts” sold in health food stores. The effectiveness of “yam extracts” remains in doubt.
Both men and women make testosterone. Testosterone is made by the adrenal glands, and the amount made by women is much less than the amount produced by men. A decline in testosterone levels in the body is associated with a decrease in sex drive and libido in both sexes. More than 50% of women past menopause report a decline in sexual desire. Testosterone replacement re-energizes the entire body, increases lean muscle mass, reversing the fat accumulation and muscular atrophy characteristic of aging.
For women, a small amount of testosterone, can work wonders to revive a sagging sex life. Note that other causes of decreasing sex drive (like depression) should be ruled out first.
It is medically proven that Acupuncture treatment can effectively alleviate some of menopausal symptoms that include hot flash, excessive sweating, and irritability and so on.