Could the 2,000-year-old practice of acupuncture answer the prayers of women suffering from menopausal hot flushes?
At any given time, up to 1.5 million of women in Australia alone are experiencing hot flushes associated with menopause, and around 400,000 of those have such severe and debilitating symptoms that they are forced to seek medical help. With many women still wary of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and some with individual risk factors that make HRT unsuitable, interest in complementary therapies is high.
Two small trials of acupuncture for treating menopausal symptoms have shown promising results, and now the treatment is being put to the test in hundreds of volunteers across Australia. A -placebo-controlled' trial, in which participants can't tell if they are receiving traditional acupuncture or a dummy treatment, is underway at 15 sites in Victoria, NSW and Queensland.
The new trial, Acupause, is jointly supported by Jean Hailes for Women's Health, the University of Melbourne, Monash University, RMIT and Southern Cross University.
So far, more than 200 women have volunteered to attend ten free treatment sessions and keep diaries of their menopause symptoms. More participants are still needed: If you're a woman over 40, have not had a period in at least two months, have not had needle acupuncture in the last two years, and have not started any other treatment for hot flushes in the past 12 weeks, you could be eligible.
Treatments are given by experienced practitioners in Melbourne CBD, St Kilda, Bentleigh, Coburg, Malvern, Ringwood, Melton, Bundoora, Mount Waverley, Rosanna, Mornington and Echuca (Vic), Ballina (NSW) and Southport on the Gold Coast (Qld). You can choose the most convenient location for you (subject to availability) and most of the practitioners can be available after hours and on Saturdays.
Visit www.gp.unimelb.edu.au/acupause or call 03 9035 5018 for more information.
Published with the permission of the Jean Hailes Foundation for Women's Health
Tollfree number 1800 JEAN HAILES (532 642) for women seeking further health information www.JeanHailes.org.au