Having a regular, predictable menstrual cycle every 26 – 35 days is a good sign that your hormones are relatively balanced. If your cycle falls outside this range, or if you don’t get periods at all, it’s worth investigating further. Irregular cycles may be linked with serious conditions such as osteoporosis, heart disease and infertility, and shouldn’t be ignored. Chinese medicine can get to the root cause of menstrual irregularities and bring things back into balance.
There are many factors that can influence the length of your cycles. Coming off the contraceptive pill, polycystic ovarian syndrome, approaching menopause, prolonged stress, thyroid function and your diet and lifestyle all affect the regularity of your periods.
Amenorrhoea is the term used to describe no period for 3 months or more; many women have amenorrhoea after coming off the pill. The pill works by keeping your hormones at artificial levels, and it can take months or even years to return to normal after you stop taking it. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can support your body’s return to balance, and get things regular again.
Unpredictable or irregular cycles are a common feature of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), an imbalance of oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone in the body.
Clinical research supports the use of acupuncture to lower levels of sex hormones and increase the frequency of ovulation for women with PCOS. This study found that “repeated acupuncture treatments resulted in higher ovulation frequency” and that circulating hormone levels were “significantly lower”. A review of current studies of acupuncture and PCOS found it is “a safe and effective treatment to PCOS…” and that acupuncture may be helpful by “increasing of blood flow to the ovaries, reducing the number of ovarian cysts, controlling hyperglycaemia through increasing insulin sensitivity and decreasing blood glucose and insulin levels, reducing cortisol levels and assisting in weight loss.”
A short cycle of 25 days or less may indicate problems with ovulation and it’s particularly important to address this if you’re trying to fall pregnant. To become fertilized, an egg needs to reach a certain size and level of maturity. If it’s leaving your ovary too early, it may not be fully developed. Even if you’re not planning a pregnancy, consistently short cycles can become draining as you’re losing blood and Qi more frequently. Periods can also become shorter as you approach menopause.
The strength of Chinese medicine lies in its effectiveness in restoring the body to its normal function. I have a particular interest in women’s health and gynaecology, and would love to work with you to bring your body back into balance and harmony.