Most older women will tell you menopause is a difficult stage in life. They experience hot flashes, night sweats, irregular periods, and a loss of libido, among others. These bothersome symptoms make it harder for them to enjoy life after retirement.
Other women take medicine to get going. But recent research shows they don't have too. Menopausal women can turn to acupuncture instead.
A review from Duke Clinical Research Institute that covered previous research and randomized controlled trials showed that women who sought acupuncture experienced less menopausal symptoms than those who did not. Far from suffering difficult menopausal symptoms, these women enjoyed better health and an improved quality of life.
The research results, as discussed in the article "Management of Menopause Symptoms with Acupuncture: An Umbrella Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis," were published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (JACM), a peer-reviewed publication.
The researchers thoroughly reviewed studies that examined the effectiveness of acupuncture in alleviating the symptoms of menopause and the harmful effects of treatment in perimenopausal and postmenopausal women.
JACM editor-in-chief John Weeks said the research results show "real promise" for patients facing difficult symptoms of menopause.
Besides acupuncture, menopausal women, and those in the perimenopause stage can turn to these natural ways of fighting aging that comes when women cease having their period.
Foods packed with calcium and vitamin D -- Hormones change during menopause and bones can weaken, raising the risk of osteoporosis. It's important to take a lot of calcium and vitamin D, which promote bone health. Calcium-rich foods include dairy products like yogurt, milk, and cheese. Green, leafy veggies like kale, collard greens and spinach are also rich in calcium. Sunlight is a natural source of vitamin D, since your skin manufactures it when exposed to the sun. But the skin's efficiency in producing vitamin D decreases as you age. That's why it's advisable to eat oily fish, eggs, cod liver oil and vitamin-D fortified foods.
Maintaining a healthy weight -- Changing hormones, aging, lifestyle and genetics make weight gain inevitable during menopause. But excess body fat, especially around the waist, makes you more prone to heart disease and diabetes. It could also affect your menopause symptoms. A study of 17,473 postmenopausal women found that those who lost at least 10 lbs., or 10 percent of their body weight within a year were less likely to experience hot flashes and night sweats.
Fruits and vegetables -- These low-calorie foods help maintain weight and promote weight loss by making you feel full. They also prevent diseases like heart illnesses, which tend to rise after menopause. Fruits and veggies may also prevent bone loss.
Food rich in phytoestrogens -- These plant compounds that mimic the effects of estrogen in the body may help balance hormones. Frequent intake of phytoestrogens in Asian countries like Japan is believed to be the reason why menopausal women in these areas rarely have hot flashes. Foods packed with phytoestrogens include soybeans and soy products, tofu, tempeh, flaxseeds, linseeds, sesame seeds, and beans.
Water -- Menopausal women often experience dryness due to lower estrogen levels. Water helps reduce dryness and bloating due to hormonal changes. Water can also prevent weight gain and help you shed unwanted pounds. It helps you feel full and raise your metabolism slightly.
Menopause is inevitable. But we can breeze through this difficult period in life with the help of acupuncture, nutritious food, and a healthy lifestyle.