The aim of the study was to evaluate the short and long–term effects of acupuncture on vasomotor symptoms (VMS) and quality of life–related measures. The authors found that a course of acupuncture treatments was associated with significant reduction in VMS, and several quality–of–life measures, compared with no acupuncture, and that clinical benefit persisted for at least 6 months beyond the end of treatment.
- A total of 209 perimenopausal and postmenopausal women aged 45 to 60 years, experiencing four or more VMS per day, were recruited from the community and randomized to receive up to 20 acupuncture treatments within the first 6 months (acupuncture group) or the second 6 months (waitlist control group) of the 12–month study period.
- The primary outcome was mean daily frequency of VMS.
- Secondary outcomes were VMS interference with daily life, sleep quality, depressive symptoms, somatic and other symptoms, anxiety, and quality of life.
- The VMS frequency declined by 36.7% at 6 months in the acupuncture group and increased by 6.0% in the control group (P < 0.001 for between–group comparison).
- At 12 months, the reduction from baseline in the acupuncture group was 29.4% (P < 0.001 for within–group comparison from baseline to 12 months), suggesting that the reduction was largely maintained after treatment.
- Statistically significant clinical improvement was observed after three acupuncture treatments, and maximal clinical effects occurred after a median of eight treatments.
- Persistent improvements were seen in many quality of life–related outcomes in the acupuncture group relative to the control group.
From 10 Ways Perimenopause Is Destroying My Life – The Mid.
1. My Period Is Trying to Kill Me
For years, I enjoyed a regular and uneventful menstrual cycle. Now, I never know when I’m going to get my period. It could be in the next six weeks causing a panicked pregnancy scare, or it could decide to come every two weeks (and always when I’m not expecting it at all, and wearing white pants). How long it will last is also a mystery. Once, I had my period for two days, and another time it lasted a full 12. Cramps, heavy bleeding—I’ve got all that in perimenopause. Last month, I passed something that resembled a London broil. It was as if my entire uterus was trying to escape through my vagina. I don’t like this. I want the boring periods I experienced in my 20s back.
2. I Can’t Sleep
Every day I tell myself that this will be the night that I will go to bed at a decent hour and get a full night’s sleep, but it never happens. My sleep patterns now resemble a newborn’s. I’m up every two hours. I’m hungry, I have to pee, I’m bored. I’ll toss and turn for hours each night, praying that my mind will shut off and let me go to sleep, but nope. Naturally, because of this, I’m exhausted all day long and have to drink a ton of coffee to stay awake. To further torture me, in the past year, my body has decided it doesn’t want to metabolize caffeine like it once used to. I’ve morphed into a hybrid of Lady Macbeth and Cornholio. If you ever see me furiously Irish step-dancing through the aisles of Walmart, I swear it’s not meth. I just had a cup of coffee, because I was tired, because I can’t sleep at night, because of perimenopause. Save me, please.
3. Unexplained Weight Gain
No, I’m not pregnant. I’m just cruelly bloated. They make mom jeans for women like me. Once a sworn enemy, elastic is now my greatest ally. I swear, I haven’t changed my diet at all. If anything, I eat healthier now than ever, but my metabolism is nonexistent these days. I used to be able to rip through nachos, Twix bars and Slurpees, and remain a size four, but now a single Cheeto will force me into a higher dress size.
4. My Body Is Growing Weird Hairs
I hate my teenage self who used to wonder why older ladies always had wiry hair on their chins. Now I know. It’s because those hairs can randomly sprout three inches in about two seconds. And also because we are so old that we can’t even see black whiskers shooting out of our faces. Yes, I’ve accepted it, I’m either turning into Witch Hazel from Looney Tunes, or a walrus.
And when I cough, laugh, or jump up and down. I’m an old house—quaint and charming on the outside, but my plumbing system is a leaky nightmare.
PMS is apparently having its last hurrah with me and is determined to go out with a bang. Irritable doesn’t begin to describe it. Little things set me off: going to IKEA, wanting tortilla chips but being out of them, if my daughter whines because, God forbid, I gave her the wrong plate at lunch, and when my clock ticks too loudly in the middle of the night. It’s awful. Whenever I see a woman on the news who’s had a road rage incident, I sigh knowingly and say that I bet she’s in perimenopause. Sometimes I have fantasies of getting a job at an amusement park haunted house just so I can chase people around with a chainsaw, because most of the time, that’s what I feel like doing anyway. I may as well get paid for it, right?
7. My Skin Is Freaking Me Out
I’m so dry and wrinkly that I think my vagina has cobwebs. I recently read somewhere that during perimenopause “breast tissue may reduce.” Great. That thing sputtering around the room? Not a deflating balloon. That’s my left boob. The skin on my arms and chest is so crepe-y that you could make streamers out of me. Yay! I love looking like a beige party decoration. I found an age spot on my hand the other day, and I also heard that you can get age spots on your nether regions, which is fabulous because I always wanted my crotch to look like a Chinese crested puppy. Said no woman ever.
8. I Can’t Remember Anything
What was I saying? You know that feeling when you’re trying to remember something, and it’s right on the tip of your tongue? That’s me 24/7 these days. They call this brain fog, and I feel like I’ve reached my brain’s natural storage capacity and now it’s malfunctioning from overload. I need an external hard drive for my mind. The number of times in a day when I find myself standing in the middle of a room and have no idea how I got there or what I’m supposed to be doing is staggering. Every time I open an app on my phone, I forget what I meant to look up, log or check. I’ve officially turned into the guy from Memento and am going to have to start writing notes on my skin to piece together my life.
9. Everything Makes Me Cry
Last week, I cried because I saw a high school marching band coming down the street playing Stevie Wonder. I cried at a puppet show, from watching children ride a carousel and over the grand finale of a fireworks display. Forget Idina Menzel. Before she even opens her mouth to sing, I’m weeping uncontrollably.
10. I’m Hot—NO, I’m Freezing
My internal temperature gauge has gone haywire. I wear cardigans in the summer, and bathing suits in the snow. Nothing makes sense anymore.
But that’s the nature of perimenopause—everything is different, it’s confusing, and most women don’t know what to expect. Now that I know I’m not insane, that this stuff is pretty normal, and that I’m not dying from a terrible illness that causes insomnia, vaginal dryness and ugly boobs, I can usually laugh off my symptoms. When I’m not hysterically sobbing, that is. Perimenopause is a sucky part of life, like puberty was, and when it’s over, the very second my last period ends, I’m throwing a huge party. Or, more than likely, just going to bed.
What is it?
A common symptom of perimenopause is increased headaches and often debilitating migraines.
A migraine headache is a recurrent, throbbing headache generally felt on one side of the head. Migraines usually begin in early childhood, adolescence, or young adult life.
What causes it?
Migraines are caused by a rapid widening and narrowing of blood vessel walls in the brain and head. This causes the pain fibers in the blood vessel wall to become irritated. Blood vessels in the scalp are often involved. The following items and events (precipitants) have been reported to cause migraine attacks:
- Changes in weather
- Oral contraceptives
- Menstrual periods
- Foods cured with nitrates (e.g., hot dogs)
- Emotional stress
- Meat tenderizers (e.g., MSG)
- Alcoholic beverages.
- It is not known why some individuals have migraines and others do not.
What are its common symptoms?
There are many forms of migraine headaches. The classic migraine and the common migraine are the two main types:
CLASSIC MIGRAINES — There is usually a warning (aura or prodrome) of an approaching headache attack. Eyesight may suddenly change. Bright spots or zigzag lines are seen. Many people experience double vision or temporary, partial blindness. The change in eyesight is often followed by numbness and tingling of the lips, face, hands (on one or both sides), weakness of an arm or leg, dizziness, unsteadiness in walking, drowsiness, slight confusion of thinking, and inability to speak or slurred speech. Any given person may have only one or a few of these symptoms, and they tend to occur in the same combination in each attack. The symptoms may last for 5 to 15 minutes or more. As these symptoms disappear, a throbbing headache begins on one side of the head. The severity of the headache builds. Once the headache becomes very painful, people often have nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and noise.
COMMON MIGRAINES — A throbbing headache begins suddenly without warning of an attack. The location of the headache varies. The pain may be on both sides of the head, or it may shift from side to side. Nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and noise usually accompany the headache. Children who have migraines experience mostly common migraines and, therefore, do not have any warning. In addition to the headache, some children experience abdominal pain, which gets better after vomiting.
Is it contagious?
How long will it last?
Migraines can last from a few hours up to several days.
How is it treated?
Treatment for this problem consists of two important parts:
- What you can do, and
- What your health care provider can do.
What can you do?
There are many measures you can try to reduce the pain :
- Some people find relief by applying heat to the area of the head where the pain is most severe. Apply heat in the form of a dry towel warmed in the oven or use a heating pad set on a low setting. Other people gain relief by applying an ice bag wrapped in a towel to the painful area.
- Lying down in a dark, quiet room at the first sign of an attack may also decrease the pain.
- Many people find a relaxation technique helpful when they are lying down.
Concentrate on a soothing thought or image and take slow, deep breaths.
- Dearest Recommendations: Try breathing into a small paper bag when in the throes of a migraine, or when you feel one coming on. The paper bag cuts down on the oxygen (organ stimulant), and increases the carbon dioxide intake during inhalation (organ relaxant). Inhale/Exhale for about 30 seconds to one minute. It has served me well during severe headaches/migraines, as well as during anxiety ridden moments – such as holiday shoppingAnother recommendation for treating migraines is to take 500 mg. of magnesium at the first onset of a migraine.
- Record on a calendar the date of the migraine, the time it started and ended, and the amount of medication you took. Remember to bring this record with you on follow-up visits to your health care provider. It will help in your treatment.
What can your health care provider do?
Medications are needed by some individuals. Your health care provider may prescribe one or more of the following medications.
- Analgesics — These medications reduce the pain of a migraine.
- Ergotamine preparations — These medications interfere with the widening of the blood vessels in the head and decrease the pain of migraines. Note: To enable your body to use most of the medication, it is important to take the medicine at the first sign of an attack. Special arrangements are necessary for school-age children to allow them to take the needed medicine in school.
- Other medications — Biofeedback is another method being used successfully by some people to reduce migraine attacks and their severity. Your health care provider may refer you to a specialist in biofeedback therapy.
Can you prevent it?
Because migraine headaches may recur for years and constant use of medication can lead to serious side effects, prevention is a key aspect in the management of migraines:
- Pay close attention to your diet. See if a migraine can be prevented by avoiding certain foods (e.g., nuts, cheese, avocados, chocolate, bacon, ham, hot dogs, cold cuts) and tenderizers used in food preparation. If hunger precipitates a migraine, eat frequent small meals on a regular basis. Women who have migraines just prior to their menstrual period should lower the salt in their diet. This helps to decrease water retention associated with precipitating attacks. Avoid alcoholic beverages. Alcohol causes the blood vessels in the body to widen, which contributes to the pain of migraines.
- If stress or emotional conflict triggers the onset of a migraine, it is important to find ways to reduce the stress in your life. Regular exercise (e.g., walking, biking, swimming) and relaxation techniques (e.g., yoga, meditation) may help you. Exercise and relaxation not only reduce stress but, in addition, decrease the severity of the pain and frequency of the headaches. A trained counselor can be helpful in providing assistance to identify stresses in your life and to make suggestions to resolve the problems.
- A regular schedule for sleep is necessary if fatigue precipitates attacks.
- Fatigue may become exaggerated at times of weather change.
- Women with a history of migraine headaches should avoid oral contraceptives. Your health care provider can suggest alternative forms of birth control.
It is a myth that only women get migraines. Men do suffer from migraine headaches. However, migraines occur in women about four times as often as in men. It is also a myth that all bad headaches are migraines. There are many causes for headaches. A tension headache can be as painful as a migraine. People who have head pain should have a medical evaluation.
It is important to return for your follow-up care as advised.
Call your local community center, YMHA, YWCA, or adult education program for information about classes in yoga, meditation, aerobic dance, or other exercise classes. A community mental health center can assist in an evaluation for stress and make a referral to a counselor for you.
Remember…..Notify your health care provider if you have any of the following:
- Headaches that last longer than 2 days
- More than 3 migraine attacks in 1 month
- Warning symptoms of a headache that do not disappear when the headache begins
- Marked change in the severity of the headache
- Questions concerning the symptoms you are experiencing
- Shamansky, S., Cecere, M. C., & Shellenberger, E. (1984). Primary Health
- Care Handbook: Guidelines for Patient Education. Boston: Little, Brown & Co.
- This information has been provided to you via Med Help International (a non-profit organization).