Acupuncture + Chinese Herbs Beat The Pill for Menstrual Irregularity!
By Marieke A. Pieterman
A woman’s period, or menses, may not be a topic most are comfortable discussing amongst family members or friends, but having a regular, normal monthly menstrual cycle is important to the overall female reproductive health and well-being.
SEVERAL OF MY HOLISTIC HEART ACUPUNCTURE CLIENTS STRUGGLE WITH IRREGULAR MENSES
One of my clients was a 28-year-old female who had developed polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) by the age of 13 and her menstrual cycle has been irregular for years. In fact, my client had only about three menstrual cycles in the previous year and had experienced a pretty similar pattern over her last eight years! While this client was not ready to become pregnant at the time she came to see me, she knew she needed to do something to try and address her irregularity so that when the time came to wanting to conceive, it would not be an issue. After three weekly acupuncture treatments, she was able to menstruate normally that month, after having no period for the last nine months.
Another one of my clients was a 35-year-old female who had been struggling to come off birth control pills. For years, her gynecologist had identified numerous different birth control pills for her to try and she finally landed on one that was “adequate” and had the least amount of side effects. While this birth control pill was not managing her menses 100 percent, the pill was enabling her to have a monthly menses that not extremely heavy, clotty or crampy. However, at 35, my client knew it wasn’t healthy to remain on birth control for this long, but felt “trapped” because she was not aware of another way to manage her menses. My client decided to stop the pill and underwent four acupuncture treatments that month, and had a more normal flow, with significantly less clotting and cramping. She also had a significant reduction in migraines near her monthly cycle. She continues to remain off the pill nearly two years later.
It is also interesting to note that in both cases, I did not use Chinese herbs with either client as each wanted to see what kind of results they could achieve with acupuncture alone. However, acupuncture and Chinese herbs have proven to be even more effective for treating menstrual irregularity and even outperformed today’s contraceptive pharmaceuticals.
At the People’s Hospital of Zhangwu County (Liaoning), researchers set up a controlled clinical trial and found that acupuncture and Chinese herbs were an effective treatment for irregular menses in women, compared to taking oral daily hormonal treatments.
The clinical trial had one hundred women randomly assigned to either an acupuncture and herbs group (50 females, aged between 21-39) or the contraceptive medication group (50 females, aged between 20-38).
For the acupuncture and Chinese herb group, the women received a standard list of acupuncture points, which were administered on a daily basis and needles were retained for 30 minutes in each treatment.
In addition, a standard blend of Chinese herbs, Xiao Yao San, or Free and Easy Wanderer, was administered two times a day, in the morning and evening. Additional Chinese herbs were administered and added to the standard formula for women who were suffering from certain types of depression or had a blood deficiency.
The contraceptive medication group was given oral hormonal contraceptive tablets containing ethinylestradiol and cyproterone acetate, which is commonly prescribed for menstrual irregularity. This contraceptive was administered daily, beginning on day five of the menstrual cycle and lasting for 21 days for the first course. A total of three courses of contraceptive medication was administered.
MENSTRUAL IRREGULARITY DEFINED
Menstrual irregularity was defined as having symptoms of dark red menstrual blood, significant clotting of menstrual blood, fatigue, breast tenderness and swelling, pain along the sides of the abdominal cavity, dizziness, and vertigo.
Women were excluded from the study if they suffered from a vast number of diseases or organ disorders or dysfunctions that could be causing menstrual irregularity that were much more complicated in nature.
CLINICAL EFFICACY DEFINED
Clinical efficacy was defined as cured, markedly effective, effective, and ineffective cases.
Cured cases were when menstrual cycles were normalized and the woman experienced complete resolution of the menstrual irregularity symptoms (e.g., breast tenderness, dizziness) described above.
Markedly effective cases were when menstrual cycles were normalized and the woman experienced a significant reduction in the menstrual irregularity symptoms.
Effective cases were when women experienced somewhat of a reduction in the menstrual irregularity symptoms.
Lastly, ineffective cases were when menstrual cycles were not normalized and had no improvement in menstrual irregularity symptoms.
The results were defined as cured, markedly effective, effective, and ineffective cases and the differences between the effective rates were statistically significant. For each group, the effectiveness category was added together (minus the ineffective group) to show a total effectiveness rating for each group.
The acupuncture and Chinese herbs group had a total effective rate of 92 percent with females in the following categories: 10 cured, 20 markedly effective, 16 effective, and 4 ineffective cases.
The contraceptive medication group had a total effective rate of 80 percent with females in the following categories: 8 cured, 15 markedly effective, 17 effective, and 10 ineffective cases.
Furthermore, the women in the acupuncture and Chinese herbs group experienced significantly less adverse effects than those in the contraceptive medication group and demonstrated how well Chinese medicine is tolerated.
ISN’T TIME THAT YOUR ONE WEEK OUT OF EVERY MONTH - BE YOUR OWN AGAIN?!?!
Are you tired of dreading your monthly? Sick of re-arranging your plans because you know you’ll be lying in bed in a fetal position suffering from your menstrual migraines for 2-3 days every month? Full of anxiety worrying if your tampon or pad will last during your 2-hour business meeting? Stop worrying and start living life fully again. Come and try acupuncture for your menstrual cycle. We should be celebrating our monthly cycle – as it makes us who we are as women! Take your life back and give Holistic Heart Acupuncture a call today.
Acupuncture and Herbs Beat Hormones For Menstrual Irregularity