Nights sweats is up there in the top ten main symptoms experienced by women during menopause. Some women will complain of hot flashes during the day but then don’t have night sweats and yet for others , it is the other way around. For others, it is both.
What are night sweats according to Chinese medicine?
As a general rule, chronic night sweats in Chinese medicine diagnostics falls under the category of being a symptom associated with yin deficiency. Night time is classified as yin and should be a time of rest, sleep and stillness. Menopause is regarded as a sudden drop in the reserves of yin which then causes the remaining yang heat to manifest itself because it is out of balance in respect to yin. The heat then cooks the fluids in the body and cause night sweats. The longer the yin and yang imbalance remains, the more fluids are sweated out until a stage where eventually, the body stops sweating and only the heat surfaces at night.
What does western medicine have to offer?
Some lifestyle advice is recommended including doing exercise. Studies have shown that women partaking in jogging for 45 minutes a day for 5 days a week can reduce the severity and frequency of the night sweats. It is also recommended that hot spicy foods are avoided. In fact, Chinese medicine always has advocated to avoid excess hot spices, red type heating foods like tomato and chili as well as alcohol in yin deficiency. Western medicine also has hormone replacement therapy as an option but many women are hesitant to partake in in HRT especially if there is a history of breast cancer.
Estrogen, yin deficiency and night sweats
Modern medicine will tell you that the deficiency of estrogen is what causes the symptoms of menopause so it begs the question: Does acupuncture restore the estrogen to stop night sweats? The answer is unfortunately no. What is interesting though, is that the acupuncture balances the yin and yang of the body, cooling it down and hence stopping the heat and night sweating.
Are there any herbs that can help with night sweats?
There are many herbs and base herbal formulas that can address night sweats. Chinese herbs are prescribed based on the individual diagnosis of the patient and treatment is focused to the specific symptoms that may be troublesome to the patient. There is no one herb or formula that is a one size fits all. Often Liu Wei Di Huang Wan is prescribed as a basic yin tonic but care needs to be taken as one of the herbs in the formula, rehmannia often aggravates the digestion causing bloating and loose stools if the patient also has a concurrent spleen deficiency.
Dr Carolyn Eddleston in the UK and her discussion on night sweats, acupuncture and menopause
Have a listen below to an interview I did with Dr Carolyn Eddleston
Tung acupuncture style and menopause
Master Tung originally from Shandong province in China has passed down the historical lineage of his families unique style of acupuncture. The author, Heiko Lade from The Acupuncture Clinic in Hastings and Kane Monrad in Hamilton working from Connect Therapies both use the Master Tung style of acupuncture in the treatment of night sweats.