Acupuncture and its utility to reduce the symptoms of menopause


The menopause This is a normal stage of female physiology, which results in a lack of menstruation due to the discontinuation of ovarian activity, which usually begins in the fifth decade of life and continues for an average of 4 to 5 years.

The majority of women report symptoms associated with menopause, of different kinds and tensions, which may endanger general well-being, such as hot flashes, affecting more than three-quarters of menopausal women.

Although this symptom is therapeutic, current methods have many side effects and contraindications. As in his case Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)Although it is effective for many women, it can increase the risk of developing breast cancer in patients with a family history.

Because of these dangers, in recent years, there has been an increase in the use of calls by Western societies alternative therapies or complementary, such as the popular oneacupuncture.

This ancient Chinese technique is based on its application
needles that act stimulating nerve skin ends and others
tissues, which when sending messages to the brain produce different results in the brain
as analgesia or anti-inflammatory action.

There are several scientific studies that have demonstrated the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating or supplementing certain pathologies of an organic and / or emotional nature such as sinusitis, asthma, depression, chronic pain, migraine, epilepsy, schizophrenia or arthritis. , among others, with varying degrees of success.

In terms of menopause, some studies have considered acupuncture as a potential cure for mitigating their symptoms, but have not provided substantiated evidence in their findings.

Acupuncture and heat

The most recent study on acupuncture was conducted by researchers at the University of Copenhagen and the University of the South in Odense – and from Denmark, whose aim was to assess the effects of acupuncture on reducing certain menopausal symptoms. The findings of the study were published in the journal Open the BMJ this week.

In relation to previous studies, the authors report that:

"They have been criticized for methodological limitations, for example, inadequate design, insufficient sample size, inadequate control groups or placebo, lack of standard protocols and lack of data on adverse reactions"

So, to correct these criticisms and weaknesses, we focused on investigating a major symptom in particular: Hot flashes.

The sample included 70 menopausal women, half of whom were subjected to a 15-minute standard acupuncture session each week for 5 weeks. with acupuncturists of enormous orbit, because they had an average of 14 years of experience. The other participants were part of the control group and did not receive any treatment.

Each of the women completed a questionnaire to evaluate her experience with the most common symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes, sleep disturbances, memory changes, genital symptoms and skin changes. This data was provided before starting the study and after 3, 6, 8, 11 and 26 weeks.

After just 3 weeks, participants in the acupuncture group observed a reduction in hot flashes. After 6 weeks, 80% of the women in the group who participated in these sessions believed they helped them, so Acupuncture not only reduced hot flashes, but also reduced sweating frequency – including night sweats – sleep disturbances, emotional-type symptoms and skin capillary problems.

Usefulness and limitations of the study

Although the results were considered statistically significant, the authors note that the sample size was small and the duration of the study was small.

In addition, in the absence of a placebo that should be used in the control group, this reduces the findings, as the authors explain:Currently, there is no validated placebo comparator for acupuncture"Because the placebo effect may have a greater impact on those cases where a person receives personalized attention from a professional rather than administering a drug.

There is a technique called acupuncture simulation, which is very similar to standard acupuncture and which researchers believe could be useful in future studies. The difference lies in the fact that the acupuncturist does not apply the needles to the acupuncture points or does not penetrate the skin with them.

But this type of technique is also not ideal as a control, since a placebo should be inactive, but virtual acupuncture has an effect that could not be defined as neutral compared to the actual placebo, as the researchers explain: "a study evaluating real acupuncture simulations is not a placebo-controlled study, but a study evaluating two different types of acupuncture"

The question is that, in the absence of a suitable placebo that covers this deficiency in the study of acupuncture, it is unknown whether the relief provided by this technique can be compared with the benefits for example due to the care of a doctor, a relaxing massage and rest or other kind of reassuring interaction, in addition to the reinforcing effect of patient expectations.

But despite that
restrictions and objections, if the women who received acupuncture have become aware
improvements in his symptomatology could be a valid technique for improvement
their quality of life and redeem this new stage they spend.


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