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Acupuncture and the Menstrual Cycle



A woman’s menstrual cycle plays such a fundamental and central role in her life that it is an area where much imbalance can occur. As such, gynecological disorders make up more than half of the patient complaints that we treat with herbal medicine acupuncture.

Unfortunately it is also an area where there is a lack of conventional treatments. In broad terms, for a young woman with menstrual irregularity, period pains, pmt, lack of periods etc, the main suggested treatment is to use the contraceptive pill. While this may sometimes work, it has always seemed odd to me have a single treatment for all these different conditions. If a woman is menopausal and having similar problems, then the suggestion of hysterectomy arises much too quickly. Chinese medicine does not consider the removal of any part of the body can be done without creating great disharmony throughout the rest of the body. In general, there is a great lack of treatment options for an area which some reports suggests affects up to 90% of women at some time or another.
But the better news is that acupuncture and herbs have been treating menstrual irregularities for more than 2000 years!
A woman’s menstrual cycle is often a very delicate hormonal balance. When this delicate balance is disturbed by various stresses and strains of life, problems occur. Acupuncture is a very subtle treatment, looking closely and carefully at what imbalance has occurred and this is why it is particularly effective in treating gynaecological disorders. 
Chinese medicine has recognised gynaecology for around 3500 year, and has always been one of its main areas. Its development over the centuries has led it to be a very subtle and sophisticated system while at the same time maintaining a very simple basis. 
I find that with my patients, many women consider menstrual irregularities as normal. Because they have always had painful periods or PMT or other symptoms and have never had treatment, they consider it will always be this way. This is not true, and while it may not able to help everyone there are a lot of people that can benefit from treatment.
The most common complaints treated are:
Painful periods
Irregular periods
Heavy periods
PMT/Premenstrual bloating/headaches or breast tenderness
Polycystic ovaries

Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal medicine have been shown in many studies to be effective in the treatment of menstrual problems. Whilst the actual mechanism by which these treatments work has yet to be concretely identified by research, we know for certain that there is a significant benefit with treatment.

Menorrhagia is an abnormally heavy and prolonged menstrual period at regular intervals. Several causes can contribute to this condition: abnormal blood clotting, hormonal disruption, or a disorder of the endometrial lining. It may also be associated with painful periods (dysmenorrhea). Acupuncture or herbal medicine is effective in treating this condition.


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