Did you know Acupuncture can help with irregular periods?
At our Acupuncture Clinic in Brisbane, we regularly treat women with irregular periods who are seeking help to regulate their cycle.
Many women have heard of friends or family who have used acupuncture for fertility. The first step to improving fertility with Chinese medicine is to regulate the menstrual cycle.
But it’s not just women who are trying to conceive who seek help regulating their periods.
Irregular periods can affect your mood, skin, digestive system and general health.
What are the causes of irregular periods?
Many women struggle with irregular periods at different times in their lives, perhaps due to stress, illness, hormonal imbalances, medication reactions, over-exercise, poor diet or thyroid problems.
More serious problems can also cause irregular periods including:
- Polycystic ovary syndrome; https://www.acunaturalhealth.com.au/acupuncture-for-polycystic-ovarian-syndrome/
- Premature ovarian failure;
- Hypothalamic anovulation;
- Hyperprolactinemia ;
- Tumours of the ovary, pituitary or adrenal gland.
When women go to a Western doctor, the oral contraceptive pill is often prescribed. This causes a monthly “bleed” but does not resolve the underlying problem.
This is why many women seek Acupuncture with or without Chinese Herbal Medicine for help regulating their cycle.
What happens during a regular menstrual cycle?
A healthy menstrual cycle is around 28 to 29 days but may vary between 21 and 35 days.
Day 1 is the first day of the period. During day’s 1-5 or 7 the period flows and the pituitary gland begins to make the hormones FSH and LH.
By day 7, a follicle becomes dominant and begins to make estrogen. During day’s 7-12 the high levels of estrogen stimulate the uterine lining to proliferate.
By day 12 and 13 there is a surge of LH triggering ovulation, the release of the egg, on day 14.
From day 15, progesterone is produced. This inhibits the production any more FSH and LH. By day 28 the levels of progesterone and estrogen drop and the cycle begins again.
Can Chinese Medicine and acupuncture regulate periods?
Modern research has shown acupuncture may assist regulating the period by decreasing serum FSH and LH levels, raising E2, and reducing stress and anxiety (Chen et al, 2013).
Chinese medicine can also treat irregular periods, with or without Acupuncture.
In a controlled clinical trial, the herbal formula Xiao Yao San effectively regulated the cycle in 80% of people, whilst the group who received acupuncture and the herbal formula had an 92% effective rate. Both groups had significantly less adverse effects than the control group who received hormone medication (Peng & Du, 2018).
A treatment plan of Acupuncture every week or two for a two or three menstrual cycles is most effective in regulating the period.
Some women with long-term amenorrhea (no period) or health problems may need further investigation by a Western doctor and a longer course of treatment.
How does Chinese Medicine treat irregular periods?
Chinese Medicine sees the cycle of the period as one of the physical reflections of the ebb and flow of Yin and Yang energy.
On Day 1 of the cycle, Yin begins to grow, and builds the follicle develops and the new endometrial lining thickens.
When ovulation occurs, the Yang part of the cycle begins as progesterone begins to be released. Yang reaches its’ maximum just before the period when it gives way to Yin and the cycle begins again.
If a women does not ovulate or it takes time for a follicle to develop, no progesterone will be released and the cycle will be long and irregular.
When treating irregular cycles with Acupuncture or Chinese medicine, the treatment is changed according to the individuals cycle, to nourish Yin, encourage ovulation and ensure a smooth transition from Yin to Yang and Yang to Yin.
Combining Western Science and Chinese Medicine- the BBT chart
One way women can understand the patterns of their own cycle is by taking a daily chart of your body temperature (BBT) in the morning before rising from bed.
When ovulation occurs, a women’s body temperature rises. If ovulation doesn’t occur, there is no rise in body temperature. You can think of this as a “spike of Yang” as the egg is released and moves towards the uterus.
This is why a BBT chart can help determine whether you are ovulating and on what day this occurs.
Many women use BBT charts when trying to concieve, as a natural family planning method (not recommended for those with irregular cycles), or just to track their own hormonal changes.
See this link for mor information on BBT. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/basal-body-temperature/about/pac-20393026
At Acunatural Health, we ask clients to take a BBT chart to help track their cycles. Treatment with Acupuncture and Chinese medicine is then adjusted for where the client is at that point in time.
This individual treatment helps many women bring their cycles back into balance.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to book or for any queries about how Acupuncture or Chinese medicine can help you.
Chen, Y., Fang, Y. et al. (2014). Effect of Acupuncture on Premature Ovarian Failure: A Pilot Study; Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/718675
Lyttleton, J. (2013). Treatment of Infertility with Chinese Medicine 2nd ed. Churchill Livingstone
Maciocia, G. (2011). Obstetrics and Gynaecology in Chinese Medicine. 2nd ed. Elesvier.
Peng, D & Du, A (2018). “Therapeutic effect of Xiao Yao San combined with acupuncture on patients with menstrual irregularity due to liver depression and spleen deficiency”. World’s Latest Medical Information Digest Vol. 18 (82). 145.
Ren-hai, M., Ping, J. et al. (1999). Acupuncture Treatment of Amenorrhea due to Medication: Clinical Observation of 117 Casesm International Journal of Clinical Acupuncture, 10(1), pp. 105-109.