Medical Research

Acupuncture and Menopausal Symptoms

Kristen Sparrow • June 25, 2011

This study was cited in the most recent issue of Acupuncture Today. It compares acupuncture with sham acupuncture with symptoms, estrogen levels and FSH levels as outcome measures. I was not aware of it, and as a study it is pretty small, but I put it up for discussion’s sake. Sara Calabro, LAc, reviewed the study. She also notes that in the U.K. there was a large study of over one million postmenopausal women looking at the risks of HRT (hormone replacement therapy.) Their findings show that women who took HRT in the early stages of menopause were at higher risk of developing breast cancer than those tho took it five or more years after menopause began. Of course, HRT has also been shown to increase heart problems, stroke and blood clots. So, we can hope that one day, acupuncture will be a first line recommendation for the symptoms of menopause, it’s safe and many studies confirm that it is effective. Previous posts related to menopause are here and here. (For more information about my practice, please click here.)

Acupunct Med. 2011 Mar;29(1):27-31.

The effect of acupuncture on postmenopausal symptoms and reproductive hormones: a sham controlled clinical trial.
Sunay D, Ozdiken M, Arslan H, Seven A, Aral Y. Source Department of Family Medicine, Ministry of Health, Ankara Training and Research Hospital, Kiz kulesi sokak 3/5 Gaziosmanpasa Çankaya, Ankara, Turkey. didemsunay@gmail.c

Acupuncture is commonly used to treat menopausal symptoms and other gynaecological conditions. In this study, the authors aimed to investigate whether acupuncture has an effect on menopausal symptoms and to explore whether this effect is related to changes in hormone levels. Materials and methods A total of 53 postmenopausal women were alternately assigned into two treatment groups: acupuncture (n=27) and sham acupuncture (n=26). Menopausal symptoms were assessed using the Menopause Rating Scale (MRS). The serum oestradiol, follicular stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinising hormone (LH) levels were measured at baseline and again after the first and last sessions. The Student t test was used for normally distributed data and the Wilcoxon signed rank test for not normally distributed data. The group differences in MRS scores were assessed using non-parametric Mann-Whitney U test.


After treatment, total MRS, and the somatic and psychological subscale scores were significantly lower in the acupuncture group than the sham group (all p=0.001). The severity of hot flushes was found to be significantly decreased after treatment in acupuncture group (p=0.001). In the acupuncture group LH levels were lower and oestradiol levels were significantly higher than sham group (p=0.046 and p=0.045, respectively) after treatment, but there was no difference in FSH levels.


Acupuncture was effective in reducing menopausal complaints when compared to sham acupuncture and can be considered as an alternative therapy in the treatment of menopausal symptoms.