Acupuncture and Menstrual Disorders
The most common menstrual disorders include:
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
Amenorrhea (Absent menstrual periods for more than three monthly menstrual cycles)
Dysmenorrhea (Severe and frequent menstrual cramps and pain associated with menstruation)
Menorrhagia (Heavy and prolonged menstrual bleeding)
Acupuncture is an alternative and effective treatment by itself or as assisting methods for these common menstrual disorders.
How can acupuncture help with menstrual disorders?
1. Regulating Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Ovarian (HPO) axis. If this loop between the brain and ovaries communicates effectively, it helps to balance hormones which in turn benefits the menstrual cycle, promotes ovulation, and regulate the menstrual cycle.
2. Acupuncture may improve blood flow to the ovaries and uterus. Acupuncture treatment can calm the nervous system which in turn can help dilating the blood vessels and increasing the flow of blood to the ovaries and lining of the uterus. Well-nourished ovaries function more efficiently. Sufficient blood flow to the uterus ensures the endometrial lining can grow to an appropriate thickness to allow for menses or ready for pregnancy.
3. Acupuncture may promote ovulation by increasing blood flow to the ovaries to support the maturation of a healthy egg. Acupuncture may help promote the LH (Luteinizing Hormone) surge which triggers the egg to be released from the dominant follicle on the ovary.
Acupuncture and the 4 phases of the menstrual cycle
PHASE 1: MENSTRUATION (DAY 1-5)
Acupuncture treatment during this phase is moving blood in the uterus to ensure the endometrial lining built up over the previous month is fully shed and to reduce the pain from cramping as well as treating any other symptoms that coincide with the period such as clots, flooding, cramps, nausea and constipation/loose bowel movements ect.
PHASE 2: FOLLICULAR PHASE (DAY 6 – PRE-OVULATION)
Acupuncture during this phase is aimed at improving the uterine and ovarian blood flow to aid development of the ovarian follicles and increasing the lining of the endometrium and increasing cervical fluid. Acupuncture during this phase is aimed at improving the uterine and ovarian blood flow to aid development of the ovarian follicles which contain an egg, increasing the lining of the endometrium and increasing cervical fluid.
PHASE 3: OVULATION
Acupuncture treatment during this phase is focused on assisting the release of the egg and helps drive the temperature rise we look for when charting a women’s temperature. At this stage, we usually add on Moxibustion to help the spiking of body temperature.
PHASE 4: LUTEAL PHASE (POST-OVULATION)
Acupuncture treatment during this phase depends on whether pregnancy is trying to be achieved. If a woman is trying to conceive then treatment is focused on assisting implantation and to prevent miscarriage. If not trying to conceive, treatment is focused on regulating Qi and Blood flow to prepare for the next cycle and help to relieve PMS symptoms.