There are many health issues women commonly find themselves confronted with. From irregular menstruation, cramping, very heavy menstrual flows, skipped periods, long menstrual cycles, short menstrual cycles, spotting, the list seems to go on and on. It seems like most women at some point or other find themselves with one or more of these conditions.
We’ll first look at what treatments for these menstrual issues are available from “western medicine”. Then we’ll look at how acupuncture can be used to regulate the menstrual cycle without drugs, artificial hormones, surgical procedures, or unpleasant side effects.
Western Medical Approaches
Western medicine has primarily two treatment approaches in the domain of menstrual cycle regulation.
Hormonal Regulation – The Pill
Hormonal regulation, usually in the way of hormonal birth control (e.g. “The Pill”) is the most common answer from western medicine. It can help with many of these conditions and makes a huge difference in the quality of life for many women. These artificial hormones take over your body’s natural signaling and impose a new monthly pattern.
The underlying issue is never addressed with this approach. The drugs simply take over regulation of your cycle with a louder message to your body. It’s like cranking your radio to drown out the sound of your noisy neighbors. Like it or not, the noisy neighbors haven’t gone anywhere.
Some common side effects of “the pill” include weight gain, decreased libido (decreased desire for sex), nausea, mood swings, breast tenderness. More serious side effects are also possible. Be sure to see your doctor if you experience headaches, blurred vision, swelling in the legs or thighs, chest pain or abdominal (stomach) pain.
D&C – Dilation and Curettage
In cases of heavy menstruation or even for prolonged periods a surgical procedure called a “dilation and curettage” is often performed. In this procedure the lining of the uterus is removed either with a sharp scraping tool or a suction tool.
The hope is that the lining will reform in a more organized fashion and that future menstrual bleeding will be more regular. As this is a surgical procedure there are risks that you should talk to your doctor about before having a D&C.
Acupuncture for Menstrual Regulation
Most styles of acupuncture provide lots more specific treatment approaches for irregular periods than what is available from the west. My training provides me with some very special, powerful and specific approaches in this regard. These techniques and concepts are beyond what is available to most acupuncturists for regulating the menstrual cycle.
Re-establishing the Rhythm
Sometimes an otherwise healthy woman has menstrual cycles which are scattered all over the calendar. One month her period will be long, another month it will be short. Sometimes she may skip a period entirely. She may have light spotting a couple of times a month.
This is where my style of acupuncture really shines. Using a specific technique we can re-establish the menstrual cycle. We can give the body specific signals so that all of the body systems are working in a coordinated, synchronized fashion to produce a healthy regular period. From ovulation, to migration through the fallopian tubes, to the building of the lining of the uterus, to menstruation; we can walk the body through this step-by-step. The body systems get reminded how to work together to produce health.
Without this technique re-establishing this rhythm is really tricky to do.
Goldilocks- Regulating Things “Just Right”
When a consistent imbalance is occurring acupuncture provides a powerful way to set it right. Periods that are always too long can be shortened when the underlying imbalance is addressed. Cycles that are too short (say, 21 days long) can be lengthened when that imbalance is corrected. Heavy cramping during the menstrual period can be addressed in this way as well.
Acupuncture provides a way to make these specific adjustments in the body. Through Chinese Medicine the body can be given a clear signal that helps bring it back to homeostasis and that state we call health.
Having your menstrual cycle regulated can lead to a huge improvement in your quality of life. I trust that you see the value of this ancient and effective approach.
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