Women’s Health has for many years been field of treatment that Acupuncturists love studying, and treating. More and more women are diagnosed with Endometriosis and PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) each year, and not every woman wants to rely on pharmaceutical regulation for their hormones. For this reason, our aim is to help educate Australian women on how Acupuncture may be able to assist with hormonal irregularities that effect quality of life among so many of our population.
Let’s first take a look at the similarities and differences between Endometriosis and PCOS and then discuss how Aus Acu may help these concerns with safely, gentle and effective treatment.
Endometriosis describes the presence of menstrual blood in areas other than the reproductive system, most commonly the tissue that surrounds the uterus. As a result, the blood is then not able to exit the body during menstruation as normal but becomes stuck, causing a great deal of pain and discomfort to the sufferer (http://www.whria.com.au/?s=endometriosis). Extreme pain before and during periods, dark and clotted menstrual blood, spotting mid cycle, fertility problems, bowel irregularity and pain with intercourse may be signs of Endometriosis and regardless of health or age women experiencing these symptoms should be checked by their gynaecologist.
Around 20% of women that are of reproductive age have PCOS. There is still more to be understood about PCOS from a Western medical perspective, we do know that the condition stems from a basic imbalance of hormones and can affect ovulation, fertility and bring unwanted signs and symptoms. Elevated testosterone levels result in Irregular menstrual cycles, weight gain, acne, amenorrhea, emotional imbalance (manifesting as anxiety, depression, irritability), facial hair and thinning hair. For PCOS to be diagnosed there needs to a blood test conducted that finds an imbalance in the levels of androgens (male hormone profile), cysts found via ultrasound (12 or more) and the presence of at least three of the associated symptoms (http://www.whria.com.au/for-patients/hormones/polycystic-ovarian-syndrome/).
Managing PCOS or Endometriosis
The good news is, Aus Acu may be able to help you. After the diagnosis of either of these conditions, and discussing appropriate treatment plans with your specialist, you may consider Aus Acu treatments to help manage your signs and symptoms and even help rebalance your hormones to lessen the cause and root problem of menstrual irregularities. Whether you are suffering from PCOS or Endometriosis, Aus Acu treatments help regulate the flow of blood in your body, and, since our blood carries our hormones, this assists your body to safely, naturally and effectively self-regulate hormonally (Zang WY et al 2009).
Our treatments will help using the following techniques:
Acupuncture: Depending on the length and severity of your condition, we will formulate a treatment plan beginning with weekly treatments and moving to maintenance treatments. Our treatments use evidence-based protocols however we are unable to give exact time frames or guarantee results due to the nature of Acupuncture’s mechanisms. Research suggests Acupuncture helps not just directly with PCOS, but by addressing anxiety and pain as triggers of many other health concerns (Hui KK et al 2010).
TDP Infrared Heat Lamp Therapy: Our heat lamp therapy is incredibly effective for regulating blood flow and hormones. Known by our patients as the ‘Red Light’, our infra-red lamps may encourage increased circulation to benefit the digestive and reproductive system. Infrared Heat Lamps warm faster and safer than hot water bottles or heat packs.
Stress Management: Let your Acupuncturist know if you have a stressful week. There are strong and proven links between what happens in your mind and what happens with your hormones, so a long stressful week at work means we need to adjust your treatments to take care of all your hormones, not just the reproductive ones. A great book we recommend to our patients is “The Cortisol Connection” (Shawn Talbott, PH.D, FACSM) which discusses current research on stress, your hormones and exactly how your lifestyle may be effecting your endocrinology.
Exercise: Regular moderate exercise will assist moving ‘stuck’ endometrial blood and regulating your blood flow, plus endorphins will keep you stress-free. Don’t overdo it though, focus on short workouts (HIIT sessions are great!) or restorative yoga classes and beach walks to keep your body fit but your mind at ease.
Dietary Improvements: We will chat with you about foods that may help you feel better, and some food types that should be limited. Warming foods are essential for a healthy reproductive system as they may promote increased blood flow for a healthier digestive system. In addition, prescribed herbal supplements may assist with insulin disorders often associated with PCO and we are able to supply these at our clinic for you.
Feminine Hygiene Products: Organic, toxin free products are considered by some to help reduce inflammation and pain. Consult with your gynaecologist as to what products would be most suitable for your concerns and lifestyle.
Meditation: Most of us find it difficult to switch our mind off and rarely find the time to slow down. Acupuncture may be one of the fastest and easiest way to meditate – just an hour a week of stillness during your treatment could give you more energy, more focus and help your body do its job of healing.
With the right approach to healing, one that encompasses environment, lifestyle and dietary changes, living with PCOS or Endometriosis may not have to negatively affect your lifestyle. Specifically, we will discuss your hormones and metabolism in depth to ascertain how we may be able to increase your quality of life and decrease the severity and frequency of your PCOS associated concerns (Lai, MH et al 2010).
We advise potential patients to think of it this way – you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by coming in for an initial consultation. We look forward to meeting you.
Lai MH et al. Effect of abdominal acupuncture therapy on the endocrine and metabolism in obesity-type polycystic ovarian syndrome patients. Zhen Ci Yan Jiu. 2010; 35: 298-302.
Hui KK et al. Acupuncture, the limbic system, and the anticorrelated networks of the brain. Auton Neurosci 2010; 157: 81-90.
Zang WY et al. Influences of acupuncture on infertility of rats with polycystic ovarian syndrome. [In Chinese]. Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. 2009; 29: 997-1000.