Acupuncture. Does it Work?
Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine is now being extensively used in the treatment of a wide range of gynaecological conditions with great success.
The compounding anecdotal evidence supporting the effectiveness of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in treating menstrual disorders has lead to a vast improvement in the quality and quantity of clinical trials used to determine its efficacy.
This is great news for women! If Western Medical Practitioners are presented with enough quality controlled studies on Acupuncture's efficacy they will no longer be able to brush it off as 'Quackery'.
As Acupuncture and TCM become more mainstream, women will need to rely less on drugs and invasive surgery in the treatment of Gynaecological conditions.
I have treated many women suffering from varying degrees of dysmenorrhea with great success. It is important to establish a diagnosis from a Chinese Medicine perspective in order to treat any condition effectively. I use a combination of enquiring about presenting symptoms, pulse taking, observation of the tongue and abdominal palpation to identify the root cause of the problem.
The treatment of dysmenorrhea, or painful periods, will usually involve acupuncture needles being used on the arms, legs, abdomen and/or lower back. I have found combining massage and heat therapy with the acupuncture treatment also helps to improve blood flow to the area and loosen any areas of thightness which may be exacerbating the problem.
The prognosis will vary depending on severity of the problem as well as a patient's individual response to treatment. As a general rule I recommend weekly treatments for 4-6 weeks then fortnightly for a further 6-8 treatments.
Patients usually find the treatment more effective when combined with Chinese Herbal Medicine and Nutritional Supplements.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a hormonal imbalance that can lead to weight gain, excessive hair growth, irregular menstrual cycles and difficulty getting pregnant.
Through working in the area of fertility management, my experience in treating women with PCOS has involved treatment aimed at regulating the menstrual cycle, and more importantly ensuring regular ovulation.
Women with PCOS who are trying to conceive are not ideal candidates for IVF as they are generally much more prone to
ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. At Alstonville Holistic Fitness we focus on a complete wellness program for our PCOS patients. The treatment involves reducing insulin resistance through exercise and lifestyle modifications, as well as promoting ovulation with Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine.
Our holistic approach is extremely effective in the management and treatment of PCOS.
Endometriosis is characterized by tissue similar to the lining of the uterus growing elsewhere in the body. 20-40% of women with infertility are diagnosed with Endometriosis.
Symptoms of Endometriosis include:
Endometriosis is difficult to cure. Western Medical treatment involves surgery or hormonal treatment.
Women usually come to my clinic seeking treatment for Endometriosis either to reduce pain or to help with conception.
Chinese Medicine views Endometriosis as blood stagnation, usually with an underlying deficiency. There has been extensive research done on the treatment of Endometriosis with Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine. These studies have shown that treatment, particularly Chinese Herbs, can significantly decrease the size of the masses and reduce symptoms of pain.
I find that patients benefit from a combination of Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs. Patients will often notice an improvement in symptoms after as little as one month of treatment.
Heavy Periods (Menorrhagia)
Menorrhagia refers to excessive uterine bleeding occurring at the regular intervals of menstruation. Heavy periods can be extremely debilitating both during and after the period. The excessive blood loss can often lead to anaemia (iron deficiency), which manifests as fatigue, palpitations, shortness of breath, and dizziness.
Menorrhagia may be a symptom of Fibroids, Endometriosis, Uterine Polyps, or Pelvic Inflammatory Disease. In which case investigation through a Pelvic Ultrasound or a Hysteroscopy may be required.
In any case, treatment with Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine can be of benefit in most situations.
It is important to establish the cause of excessive bleeding from a Chinese Medicine perspective. As a general rule this may be due to a deficiency (which many women experience after childbirth) or due to internal heat (which may relate to stress or lifestyle).
Treatment involves addressing and correcting the cause of the problem as well as using particular herbs and acupuncture points during the period to control bleeding.