Irregular Menstrual Cycle
The definition of an irregular menstrual cycle differs in western and Chinese medicine. In western medicine, it is defined as a cycle that is shorter than 23 days or longer than 35 days. According to Chinese medicine, it tends to be anything other than either 29.5 days (a woman's menstrual cycle should follow the moon cycle) or her historical cycle length.
Most women will suffer some type of irregular periods, whether it is the length of their cycle or irregular symptoms. These irregular symptoms are so common, around 95% of women have them, that they are considered normal, when in actual fact, they are not. Symptoms include:
- Abdominal cramps
- Cravings for sugar
- Cycle too short or too long
- Long follicular phase
- Low back pain
- Scanty blood flow
- Night sweats
- Poor memory
- Short luteal phase
- Thin endometrial lining
- Tender breasts
Within western medicine, the causes of an irregular menstrual cycle are a hormone imbalance:
- High levels of prolactin (hyperprolactinaemia)
- Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)
- Chronic emotional stress
Acupuncture for irregular menstrual cycle
The treatment for this in western medicine is the contraceptive pill, which regulates the cycle when on the medication, but can then revert back to being irregular and cause short term infertility after stopping the pill. However, if the thyroid is underactive, then thyroxin is prescribed. Various drugs can be prescribed for hyperprolactinaemia, see below. Within Chinese medicine, all of the symptoms above are treatable using either acupuncture or Chinese herbs, hence why Chinese medicine is very good at enhancing fertility.
The secret to acupuncture's ability to help female fertility, is it's unique ability to regulate a woman's menstrual cycle. By regulating the ovaries and uterus cycles, acupuncture is able to sync these two cycles together allowing for optimal fertility.
Acupuncture is able to regulate a woman's menstrual cycle in various ways, including; regulating the hypothalamus and pituitary gland that release fertility hormones, reduce emotional upset and anxiety, reduce stress hormones that affect the release of fertility hormones, regulate blood flow to the uterus, which regulates hormone movement.
Auricular Acupuncture in the Treatment of Female Infertility. Gerhard & F. Postneek. Gynecological Endocrinology Vol. 6, Iss. 3, 1992