Can acupuncture help menopause symptoms?

4 years ago by Dr Ruolin Sun

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The BBC recently published the following article on it's health page:

Can acupuncture help menopause symptoms?

The article cautions that the positive effects of acupuncture treatment for the symptoms of menopause could be due to the placebo effect.  Dr Ridsdale's  response is "it is fair to say from the weight of evidence that some women definitely benefit.  My course was run by Dr Stener-Victorin, a well respected Professor from the Karolinska Institure, who has published over 250 research papers and has a special interest in acupuncture for women's health".  

Dr Ridsdale would recommend the following articles for further reading:

Borud E, White A. A review of acupuncture for menopausal problems. Maturitas. 2010;66:131–134. doi: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2009.12.010. This review published in 2010, reviews evidence available at that time and acknowledges most is positive for evidence of effectiveness of acupuncture but concludes that more research needed and better quality of trials.
 "For natural menopause, one large study has shown acupuncture to be superior to self-care alone in reducing the number of hot flushes and improving the quality of life; five small studies have been unable to demonstrate that the effect of acupuncture is limited to any particular points, as traditional theory would suggest; and one study showed acupuncture was superior to blunt needle for flash frequency but not intensity. For flushes associated with induced menopause, clearly acupuncture is useful for reducing flushes in clinical practice, but there is mixed evidence on the nature of the effect: one trial found genuine acupuncture superior to control needling, but another showed no significant difference between acupuncture and blunt needle. The possible mechanisms of acupuncture for hot flushes are discussed. Current evidence clearly justifies further research into the most cost effective form of acupuncture for treating hot flushes."