Acupuncture Treatment of Hot Flashes
Chief Complaint: Hot flashes
Western Diagnosis: Menopause
Medical History: A forty-nine year old patient, experiencing menopausal symptoms, was on Hormone Replacement Therapy for eight months. She felt great, had no hot flashes, but developed an ovarian cyst. The entire ovary had to be surgically removed. She’d been off of HRT for 11 months when she came in for acupuncture. Hot flashes were getting more frequent and more intense, moving from the groin up to her head. She did not want to take any medications or herbs. Her mother died of ovarian cancer. She had been on HRT since the age of 50.
Patient’s cycle was irregular. Her last period was 3 months ago and 4 months ago before that. She’d had normal, regular cycles before HRT: no pain, no PMS, moderate bleeding. She had had one pregnancy, no children. She had a low level headache for the last 2 weeks. Clenches teeth at night. She’s usually a highly energetic person, but was feeling fatigued from waking frequently at night from the sweats. She was getting anxious and angry. She was experiencing some discomfort just below rib cage.
Her diet included some protein (fish, chicken, eggs), vegetables only in salads and fruit. Very few fresh vegetables. Supplements included Calcium/Magnesium, a Multi, baby aspirin, Primrose Oil and Vitamin E. She drank plenty of water (room temperature). Her exercise included cardio or weights 6 times a week.
Questioning exam: Frequent and intense hot flashes, extremely stressful working environment, excess pulse
Pulse exam: The right was excess, full and wiry. The left was smaller, thin, wiry and tight.
Tongue exam: The tongue was bright pink, only the tip was red, shiny, swollen on the sides. Face had malar flush. Patient was tall and thin, very fit and healthy other than the hot flashes.
OM Diagnosis: Liver and Kidney Yin Deficiency with Liver Yang Rising
There was clearly a combination of excess and deficiency reflected in the pulses. Liver Yang Rising usually stems from a Yin Deficiency.
Treatment Principle: Reduce Heat, Nourish Kidney Yin, Soothe Liver Qi/Yang
Point Prescription: H6, K7, Ren3, Pc7, Sp6
S44, Liv2, Liv14 (varied with K3, Liv3), Yintang
Acupressure on K1, Ear: Shenmen
Taiyang, GB34, St7 or 8, GB2 for clenching
Herbal Formula: None. The patient did not want any medications or herbs.
Lifestyle Prescription: I taught patient to do mini meditations. Recommended 10 minutes every morning and some deep breathing breaks throughout the day. Recommended foods that nurture Kidney Yin (from Healing With Whole Foods) and to reduce intake of spicy, hot foods.
Results: Patient improved with first treatment and then the hot flashes gradually increased until the following week. By week 3, clenching was better, hot flashes still frequent. By week 5, only waking once a night with hot flash, greatly improved during the day as well. By week 8, no hot flashes at all. Treatments started in early October. By March, she still had no hot sweats.
Synopsis: It’s good to have first hand experience of the effectiveness of energetic rebalancing without the use of medications and herbs for such conditions as menopause.