Acupuncture for Menopause
January 22, 2013
By Rosemary Anzalone Bartolik
Let the Qi Flow.
The only thing that helped get me through menopause was to have someone stick me with needles on a regular basis. Sounds horrible but it saved my life.
I didn’t go “through” menopause until I was 58! I had the typical hot flashes, brain fog and extra weight gain. But one of the worst symptoms I suffered was unexpected bleeding that seemed to last forever.
A few weeks before my son was to graduate from college, I got my period after eight months. At 54, I thought I was almost through menopause. No such luck. The bleeding began heavy and did not stop. Day after day for a month. Not regular period bleeding but what the doctors called “flooding.” The kind of bleeding that goes through heavy-duty pads every 15 minutes, and that is with a tampon in.
Meanwhile I had my elderly mom and father-in-law flying up from Florida. They were both planning to stay at my house. Besides the logistics of dealing with them during the graduation, which would involve lots of walking and long days, I also was planning a party at my home for relatives and friends.
Progesterone didn’t work. I was sent to a surgeon at one of the top Boston hospitals. Ultrasounds and biopsies already done, he suggested a D & C, (dilation and curettage of the uterus) which meant I had to take the morning after pill to prepare my cervix. Something I really didn’t want to do. The surgery was scheduled a few days before the elderly houseguests were set to arrive.
I went into Boston for the pre-surgery testing. Later that day, I had an appointment for acupuncture, which I had made before my endless period. I had never gone–heard good things about it and thought maybe it would help. The acupuncturist happened to be an OB-GYN in China who learned acupuncture in her training. Having met and married an American, she followed him to the US and decided to focus on acupuncture.
A form of traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture, has been around for more than 5,000 years. More than 3 million people in this country use it as an adjunct to conventional medicine.
The Chinese believe the qi (pronounced chee) is a vital force that circulates on pathways through the body called meridians. If there is a blockage, the body can’t maintain its balance and harmony and this can cause dis-ease.
Acupuncturists use needles to open the meridians so the qi can flow. Sometimes the acupuncturist will suggest herbs to help your condition, a change in diet or massage.
After asking questions and taking my pulse, she looked at my tongue and traced her finger along my back. She said she could see the blockage. She told me she could stop the bleeding and get rid of the cysts that had shown up on my ovaries!
I lay on my stomach and she put three or four needles in. Never felt them. She shut off the lights and put on soothing music. Soon I stopped worrying about all I had to do, and just relaxed. Some people fall asleep. Next thing I know, the needles were out and I was set to go.
When I got home the bleeding had stopped. Just like that. I called the surgeon the next day and he suggested we wait. If I had no more bleeding I could come in after the last of the houseguests had gone. I felt great for the graduation and party. A few weeks later, I had the ultrasound. The surgeon was astonished. Not only did my uterus look fabulous, with no signs of built up tissues, but also the cysts on my ovaries were gone. Everything was documented and he said he would recommend patients for acupuncture. He had never seen anything like it.
I continued to go see the acupuncturist twice a week for a few more weeks. I like to go now for regular tune-ups to unblock the qi, which the Chinese believe is the energy flowing through the body. It helps control my allergies, helps with pain, all sorts of things. My husband goes for back pain. My daughter goes for help with migraines.
I have now tried several acupuncturists. Each one is a little different. But I am hooked. In California, most insurers pay for acupuncture. In Massachusetts, several insurers give a discount. Studies have proven acupuncture helps alleviate pain. Try it. You’ve got nothing to lose. Just make sure to check the practitioner’s qualifications, training and license.