Being a middle aged woman myself, and experiencing the challenges of the perimenopause, I have plenty of sympathy for everyone going through this phase of our lives!
And I love that there’s a much more open discussion going on about how this powerful transition can affect us. Often the focus is on physical symptoms that we may experience, whether it’s hot flushes or an increased risk of urinary tract infections.
But, I have a particular interest in working with mental health and emotional wellbeing, and the impact on mood for some women at this time should not be underestimated too. Unfortunately, studies have shown that women in perimenopause are at higher risk of depression than premenopausal women.
So, how about acupuncture for perimenopausal depression? Can it help?
Research on acupuncture for perimenopausal depression
Well, I was really pleased to see that 2021 also saw the publication of a systematic review and metanalysis (a study of all the studies) into acupuncture for perimenopausal depression.
The study looked at the results of 25 randomised controlled trials, including 2,200 women.
“Women are twice as likely to suffer from depression in their lifetime as men … Menopausal transition, also called perimenopause, refers to a critical stage of dynamic hormonal flux that occurs at midlife in women … Perimenopause is defined as a “window” of vulnerability for the development of depression.”
“In comparison with standard care, acupuncture alone or combined with standard care was associated with significant improvements in PMD [perimenopausal depression] and reductions of other menopausal symptoms. This finding suggests that acupuncture may be a useful addition to treatment for PMD.”Extracts from a 2021 systematic review and metanalysis of acupuncture for perimenopausal depression
I’ve written before about how the evidence base for acupuncture is unfortunately not being well integrated into health systems. Hopefully, over time, more and more women who are going through this part of their life and finding it difficult will get access to everything that can help them, including acupuncture.
Ready to try some acupuncture?
Zhao F-Y, Fu Q-Q, Kennedy GA, Conduit R, Zhang W-J and Zheng Z (2021) Acupuncture as an Independent or Adjuvant Management to Standard Care for Perimenopausal Depression: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Front. Psychiatry 12:666988. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2021.666988