Amenorrhea and Traditional Chinese Medicine

Amenorrhea and Traditional Chinese Medicine

By Audrey Cortez

Amenorrhea

What is Amenorrhea?

Amenorrhea is the absence of menstruation — one or more missed menstrual periods. Women who have missed at least three menstrual periods in a row have amenorrhea, as do girls who haven’t begun menstruation by age 15.  There are many causes or reasons why women do not have their period, such as late entering of puberty , due to stress or higher level hormonal changes. Depending on the cause, the amenorrhea condition can fall under categories:

 

  • Primary Amenorrhea is when there is no period by the time a teenage girl is 16 years and does not display other sexual characteristics such as breast development whereas;
  • Secondary amenorrhea is where there have been periods and then it would stop for more than a few cycles. Most women fall under Secondary amenorrhoea.

Testing of amenorrhea usually involves blood testing for hormone levels. The hormone levels which are investigated are  Prolactin, thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), +/– serum Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), Luteinizing hormone (LH), Oestrogen and Progesterone. Other tests conducted to rule out other conditions include MRI imagining and ultrasound in the case of a structural problem.

Amenorrhea

So how this is relevant to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)?

 

It is relevant because the very nature of TCM is to bring the body back to balance. In the case of amenorrhea, the body is internally imbalanced. This imbalance is either  excessive  or deficient of the fundamental substances Yin / Yang , Blood or Qi. There are  suggestions  that the cause could be from overwork, stress, constitutional, emotions or could be a symptom of conditions for example Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) . When this imbalance occurs there are channels which are affected are the Spleen, Heart, Liver and of course the Kidneys as well as two extraordinary channels, the Ren Mai (or Conception vessel) and the Chong Mai (or Thoroughfare vessel). Some of the syndromes which amenorrhea falls under are:

 

  • Qi and Blood Deficiency
  • Stagnation of Qi and Blood
  • Kidney Qi Deficiency
  • Phlegm and dampness obstruction

 

Can Acupuncture and Herbs help?Amenorrhea

Acupuncture may assist with the treatment of the amenorrhea signs and symptoms such as weight gain or weight loss, unusual breast secretion, acne, excessive facial and body hair and dry skin. Acupuncture can address the imbalances of the body by directing the energy to where it needs to. Additionally, using moxibustion may be used during treatment and at home to aid the nourishment of the body and to also warm the Yang of the body .

 

Chinese herbal pharmacopoeia can definitely assist with amenorrhea,  by introducing herbs with therapeutic actions to specifically target the imbalances. This is done via clear up any stagnation of Qi or Blood and by nourishing the deficiency of Qi Blood of specific Zang Fu Organs. There are hundreds of benifical herbs which could be used which may assist with amenorrhea including : Man Jing Zi (Vitex), Dang Gui, Shu Di Huang, Shan Yao and Chai Hu to name a few. In addition we utilize herbal formulas like Ba Zhen Tang (as a qi tonic), Xiao Yao San (to help with stagnation within the Liver channel and nourish the Spleen channel) and Zuo Gui Wan (to nourish Kidney channel).

 

What about Diet and Lifestyle?

Diet and lifestyle modification can be important for dealing with the condition. One can follow the following : Eating plentiful amounts of iron rich foods, either derived from animal or plant, increase your vitamin C and B substances, fibre from green vegetables and good essential fatty acids (e.g. almonds, salmon even flaxseed oil). Other factors to consider is to include moderate exercise and improve stress levels with meditation, yoga or tai chi. Overall we can use acupuncture and herbs to enable the body to mend itself.

 

Written By Audrey Cortez

Amenorrhea

DISCLAIMER

The information and reference materials contained here are intended solely for the general information of the reader. It is not to be used for treatment purposes, but rather for discussion with the patient’s own physician. The information presented here is not intended to diagnose health problems or to take the place of professional medical care.

Thanks and graduate for reading this blog if you would like to discuss your individual needs, please feel free to email info@roddsanchez.com.au or 02 8213 2888. www.roddsanchez.com.au

Rodd Sanchez Sydney Acupuncture and Chinese medicine

Why acupuncture is good prior to giving birth?

Pre-delivery acupuncture! Why acupuncture is good prior to giving birth?

Lately in the clinic, we have been helping ladies in their quest to become mothers with acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. Once pregnant, the female body undergoes some spectacular changes o adapt for the foetus to grow as well as preparing itself for the labour process. There are major physiological changes to hormone levels as well as physical changes. There can be a few hurdles in the initial stages of pregnancy with morning sickness, possible high blood pressure, carpal tunnel syndrome,, diabetes, lower back pain even itching. For the most part, mother nature will assist these mums. So, the question is, how can we assist your pregnancy with acupuncture? Well, let us investigate the last 5 weeks of the pregnancy and some of the positives reactions acupuncture provides.

 

  • Calms the body – the unknown can be very daunting for new and even second time around mums. The body and mind can be influenced with the stress of the birth or other stresses associated with the nesting process. The body can go into a sympathetic fight or flight response elevating cortisol levels, which at high levels, may hinder the body and delay possible contractions

 

  • Increases oxytocin – there are acupuncture points  throughout the body which have been used to increase oxytocin. This hormone is a feel good hormone that helps with contractions during labour and birth. It is also present during lovemaking and helps the bonding process with a mother and her baby.

 

  • Ripens and opens the cervix – this is important. Acupuncture helps to assist in softening and encouraging dilation of the cervix. This  helps to increase contractions and aid the foetus for a safe delivery. If the cervix is not soft, there can be a delay in delivery.

 

  • Keeping the fetus Calm –  at the end of the pregnancy there will be reduced amount of space and the the foetus will start to feel the walls closing in . Acupuncture can be a great treat to calm the mother and child 

 

It is truly a special gift for a newborn to come into the world and as such, we are offering a five-week acupuncture treatment program for the special price of $100 per week ($500 in total). This includes up to 3 sessions of acupuncture / moxibustion or massage (whichever is deemed appropriate at the time). This program may be claimed via health funds as well. To take advantage of this program, you must be more than 34 weeks pregnant and ready to be spoilt! Your body will thank you (and so will your bub).

 

Thank you for time to read article

Audrey Cortez & Rodd Sanchez

Acupuncturist and Moxibustion

DISCLAIMER

The information and reference materials contained here are intended solely for the general information of the reader. It is not to be used for treatment purposes, but rather for discussion with the patient’s own physician. The information presented here is not intended to diagnose health problems or to take the place of professional medical care.

Thanks and graduate for reading this blog if you would like to discuss your individual needs, please feel free to email info@roddsanchez.com.au or 02 8213 2888. 

Rodd Sanchez Sydney Acupuncture and Chinese medicine 

 

 

Supporting women health with Acupuncture and Moxibustion

Acupuncture / Chinese medicine and how we can support women’s issues

Woman health

Ladies, it’s time to have a chat about women’s health and what acupuncture and Chinese medicine can facilitate with women’s issues. In short acupuncture has long successful history assisting women’s health issues, ranging from infertility, amenorrhea, PMS to digestive and mood disorders. Many of these issues are common practice for are team of acupuncturists and moxibustionist. We have planned and co-ordinated a series of in-depth discussion papers for the future articles in the coming weeks. For today’s article, we’ll be outlining some of the conditions and how acupuncture can help. If you would like some areas explained or feel like you have had a positive response and would like to share please feel free. No names or personal details will be documented

Here are some of the conditions which Chinese medicine and acupuncture can assist:

  • Amenorrhea (no periods)
  • Dysmenorrhea (painful periods)
  • PMS, PMD
  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
  • Endometriosis, polyps, fibroids and cysts
  • Recurrent urinary tract infections
  • Subfertility (commonly known as infertility)
  • Miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies and immune infertility
  • Symptoms related to female hormone imbalance such as acne and fluid retention
  • Pregnancy and post-partum issues
  • Pre and post fertility issues
  • IVF assistance

We shall in the next coming articles discuss how both Western medical and Chinese medical model view / diagnosis / treat female health issues such as menses (periods). These in-depth articles will be looking at the language / and specific vocabulary of both Western and Eastern philosophies, reinforcing the ideas of qi, blood, yin and yang and how we integrate them for present times. Inclusive of diet and lifestyle choices and how this can impact on women’s health issues, we shall be discussing interpretation laboratory blood test results from Western medical and Chinese medical perspective.

Thank you for time to read article

Audrey Cortez

Acupuncturist and Moxibustion Specialist

Discussion of winter

Discussion of  Winter / Kidneys

As mentioned in prior discussions, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) uses terms and ideas to explain physiological, biological, spiritual, metaphysical and environmental manifestations that are around us. As such, when discussing the kidney, we are depicting the Shen (Chinese word for kidney) which encompasses all of the above, and as well as some of the physical western medical kidney definition.

A chapter in the ancient Nei Jing Su Wen text describes and gives insight into the four climatic seasons and how they both harm and harmonise our bodies. To be in harmony within the winter season, the Nei Jing states that winter is the essential time to “close and store”. We are instructed to not disturb the yang Qi energy, thus one must go to bed early and rise late (one must wait for the shining of the sun). In addition, to be in harmony with winter, we have to adopt the posture of stillness and conservation. We should sleep and rest more; our state of mind should be quiet and reflective. Nei Jing says, “Avoidance of the cold and seeking warmth is of the utmost importance. During winter, we should refrain from sweating as it causes the Qi to be scattered rapidly.

Important aspects of the TCM Winter

Winter is the most important time to tonify and strengthen the TCM kidneys and kidney function. In the darkness of winter, the emotion of fear can damage the kidney, so avoiding fear and fearful events are advisable. The kidneys are said to store Jing (life essence) which is the essential product for longevity and long life. Wasting Jing can lead to premature aging and age related illnesses.

During winter periods we should cook foods for longer periods at a low constant temperate and use less water to cook with. Hence the use of slow cookers are ideal and so is the use of fermentation to store foods for a later date.

Activities and substance that harm the kidneys [according to the Nei Jing Su Wen text] are varied and peculiar to some. These include excessive salt (some good salt ill nourish kidney, such as Celtic). A lack of water will cause damage to the kidneys and urinary bladder. Too many consecutive pregnancies for females (without appropriate time to recover) and excessive ejaculations for males will place a taxation on the kidneys.

Activities and substance that harm the kidneys [according to the Nei Jing Su Wen text] are varied and peculiar to some. These include:

  • excessive salt (some good salt ill nourish kidney)
  • lack of water will cause damage to the kidneys and urinary bladder; and
  • too many consecutive pregnancies for females (without appropriate time to recover) and excessive ejaculations for males place a taxation on the kidneys.

 

Functions of the TCM Kidney

  • Stores essence (Jing)
  • Governs birth, growth, reproduction and development
  • Produce marrow and fill the brain
  • Controls bones [osteo conditions]
  • Governs water
  • Controls the receiving of qi
  • Opens to the ears [hearing and tinnitus ]
  • Controls the lower two orifices
  • Houses the will power

 

Foods to support the Kidney include

Cinnamon ,  Clove, Ginger, Onion

Watercress, Celery, asparagus, carrots

Rye, Barley, oats quinoa, Miso soy sauce, Salt

Bone broth, Warm slow cooked soups, Roasted nuts

Dark beans, Kidneys, Dried foods, Chicory root, burdock root

 

Improving Fertility

The use of Acupuncture and Chinese medicine are known for improving fertility for both men and women. It is a well-known in fertility centers and more and more scientific evidence is being conducted and gathered supporting the effectiveness of Acupuncture and Chinese medicine. At the natural health practice, our practitioners are well equipped with knowledge and skills to assist the main different reason why fertility maybe an issue. We use traditional philosophy whilst keeping western diagnostic.

Some of the common concerns which can be assisted with the use of Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine include but not limited to the list below

 

AMENORRHEA

Amenorrhea is the lack of a menstrual period, Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can help address the many different types.  These include exercise-induced amenorrhea, PCOS, hormonal insufficiencies, and some types of imbalances with the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis.  At the Sydney Acupuncture clinic the experienced acupuncturists will provide customised treatment plan of herbal formulas based on each specific case to help the ovaries begin to ovulate and the cycles to become regular and a series of acupuncture sessions.   They may also suggest some dietary and lifestyle changes to help support your treatments.

 

DECREASED OVARIAN RESERVE

Our clinic is seeing more women of age coming in with a noticed ovarian reserve (or the capacity of the ovary to produce viable eggs) decline. In some females this happens prematurely whilst in other females the right time to attempt to conceive has come later in life and so a decrease in reserve can pose a problem with their intent to become pregnant. Mutually both cases will create issues, but recent studies are showing that acupuncture and Chinese herbs can help these women achieve a pregnancy.

 

ELEVATED FSH

With aging, women’s hormones which regulate the menstrual cycle begin to change. Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) which is a hormone released from the pituitary gland signals the ovaries to start preparing an egg to ovulate each cycle. It can become elevated as we age and increased levels are related with decreased fertility. FSH levels fluctuate each cycle and can respond very well to treatments with acupuncture and Chinese medicine. Most fertility clinics require FSH to be within a certain range in order to proceed with an IVF, so regulating this hormone can be very important for fertility and the success of treatments like IVF.

 

ENDOMETRIOSIS

Endometriosis can be one of the leading causative factors in pelvic pain. It can substantially affect a woman’s ability to conceive. Endometriosis will cause uncomfortable, heavy or irregular periods in most case but sometimes can be asymptomatic (no symptoms) only discovered when a woman pursues treatment for infertility. A combination of acupuncture and Chinese herbs aimed at improving blood circulation, clearing inflammation, relieving pain.

 

IRREGULAR PERIODS

Many women experience irregularly periods each month, which can make conception difficult.  Irregular menses can be due to an array of  imbalance in hormone fluctuations throughout the monthly cycle.  Acupuncture and Chinese herbs are wonderful for balancing the hormones and encouraging a more predictable ovulation, which helps regulate the menstrual cycle.

 

IVF SUPPORT

Clinical research has demonstrated the effectiveness of acupuncture used in conjunction with IVF. The studies demonstrating up to a 50% increase in success rate with acupuncture vs. without. Acupuncture enables improved success rates by increasing blood flow to the ovaries during the stimulation phase of IVF, improving the effectiveness of the treatment. Acupuncture can also relax the uterus and addresses uterine spasm after embryo transfer. Acupuncture as a positive can also reduces stress, calms anxiety, and offsets side effects of the fertility drugs.

 

IUI SUPPORT

During an Intrauterine insemination (IUI) cycle, acupuncture can help increase conception rates by improving blood flow to the uterus and ovaries, improving the effectiveness of any medications used, and assisting in the development of follicles and the uterine lining. Acupuncture also helps to address uterine spasm around the time of potential implantation and can treat any side effects that arise from the fertility drugs.

 

LOW LIBIDO

It has been estimated that around 43% of women report issues with libido. Many of the most common complaints can be addressed using Chinese medicine. In women, Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can help address low desire, dryness, inability to orgasm, painful intercourse, and problems with arousal.

 

LUTEAL PHASE DEFECT

When the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle (the phase after ovulation until the menses or a pregnancy is achieved) is shorter than ten days, it is diagnosed as luteal phase defect. Women with this condition often experience difficulty conceiving and may have low levels of the hormone progesterone. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can help support the ovarian function, improve progesterone levels and lengthen the luteal phase.

 

MALE FACTOR INFERTILITY

Male factor infertility accounts for 40% of couples struggling to conceive. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs have been shown in recent studies to help improve sperm count, motility, and morphology, as well as correcting some immune factors such as anti-sperm antibodies that can interfere with conception. Treatments that affect sperm quality in both Chinese medicine and Western medicine can take a minimum of 3-4 months, so it’s best to start as soon as possible.

 

POLYCYSTIC OVARIAN SYNDROME (PCOS)

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is becoming an increasingly prevalent cause of infertility. Women with PCOS are not ovulating and many do not have periods or have irregular cycles. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs to be very effective at stimulating ovulation and regulating their cycles. Recent reputable studies have shown these treatments to be as effective as the fertility drug clomid in stimulating ovulation.

 

PMS

Premenstrual symptoms are very responsive to treatment with acupuncture and Chinese herbs. Headaches, cramping, breast tenderness, bloating, moodiness, acne, insomnia, and changes in bowel movements can all be resolved with regular treatments. In combination with specific dietary changes, most women see an improvement in their PMS symptoms within one to three cycles.

 

RECURRENT MISCARRIAGE

There are many causes of recurrent miscarriage, some of which can be addressed with acupuncture and Chinese herbs. Our experienced acupuncturists can help determine potential imbalances leading to early pregnancy loss, and will refer to leading physicians for testing and concurrent medical treatment when appropriate. Studies have shown acupuncture to prevent some types of miscarriage, so we recommend our newly pregnant ladies to continue acupuncture treatments into their pregnancies.

 

STRESS RELATED HORMONE IMBALANCE

The modern diet and stress-filled lifestyles we often lead can wreak havoc on our hormones in multiple ways. Stress hormones communicate can lead to a cascade of signalling in our bodies, causing blood to divert away from organs like the digestive and reproductive systems. Since many hormones are dependent upon one another to remain balanced, over time, excess levels of stress can lead to imbalances in the reproductive hormones, potentially affecting fertility. Acupuncture has been shown to increase blood flow to the reproductive organs and in conjunction with Chinese herbs can work to regain hormonal balance of the entire body.

 

UTERINE FIBROIDS

Uterine fibroids are benign growths in the uterus and are often are associated with heavy periods, cramping, bleeding or spotting between periods, abdominal swelling, and sometimes pain during intercourse. They can also interfere with the ability to conceive. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can be effective as treatment for fibroids or as conjunctive treatment with Western medical interventions when fibroids are advanced in size.

 

DISCLAIMER

The information and reference materials contained here are intended solely for the general information of the reader. It is not to be used for treatment purposes, but rather for discussion with the patient’s own physician. The information presented here is not intended to diagnose health problems or to take the place of professional medical care.

Thanks and graduate for reading this blog if you would like to discuss your individual needs, please feel free to email info@roddsanchez.com.au or 02 8213 2888. 

Rodd Sanchez Sydney acupuncture and Chinese medicine