PCOS or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is a female reproductive disorder that affects the endocrine system. This condition gives rise to enlarged ovaries containing follicles - small fluid accumulations found in each ovary. PCOS leads to symptoms such as prolonged or infrequent menstrual periods, infertility, obesity, acne, and excess hair growth.
How Acupuncture Works in the Treatment of PCOS
When an acupuncture needle is stuck into the skin and underlying muscle, it stimulates the muscle. Acupuncturists believe that this bioelectrical stimulation makes the muscle send out information to the brain through the spinal cord. In treating PCOS, the acupuncturist inserts needles into specific acupoints that dispatches neural information to the brain regarding the ovary. This causes the brain to send out commands that leads to a reduction in the release of male hormones known as androgens from the ovaries. It is these androgens that bear a huge responsibility for many of the PCOS symptoms.
One other theory is that the acupuncture needles stimulate the brain into releasing certain hormones in the neuro-endocrine system. This causes a cutback in the secretion of luteinizing hormone that also leads to a lessening of androgens from the ovaries.
Low Ovarian Reserve
Low Ovarian Reserve is a condition in which the number of eggs a woman carries is not enough to bring about a likelihood of pregnancy. It is usually the result of aging ovaries. Women with low ovarian reserve, however, do often have normal ovarian function. The disorder can be caused by chromosomal or gene problems such as Turner Syndrome, a condition in which a woman have gene irregularities such as Fragile X or does not have two X chromosomes. Other causes can include a high body mass index, pelvic adhesions, autoimmune disorders, chemotherapy or radiation therapy, malignant or benign ovarian tumors, ovarian cysts (endometriosis), oophorectomy (surgical removal of the ovaries), or ovarian torsion.
How Acupuncture Addresses Low Ovarian Reserve
Acupuncture along with lifestyle changes, vitamins, and Chinese herbs can work well in enriching ovarian reserve. If you commit to a plan of three up to twelve months of treatment with or without the aid of IVF, your reproductive essence can be replenished once more, giving you a greater chance to conceive.
A condition that causes tissue lining in the uterus to develop to other parts of the body usually in the bladder, ovaries or bowels, endometriosis is a painful and debilitating condition whose cause is still a mystery. Treatment is therefore aimed at quelling the pain in the pelvic region. In severe cases, sometimes even the reproductive organs are extracted from the patient via surgery to resolve the issue. Endometriosis increases the risk of female infertility since it causes scarring and adhesions in the pelvis that may affect the ovaries and fallopian preventing the eggs from transferring to the fallopian tubes. The pain endometriosis causes can also make sexual intercourse painful for the woman which can prevent the likelihood of conception from taking place.
Acupuncture Treatment of Endometriosis
Acupuncture in combination with lifestyle and dietary changes and herbal medicine can ameliorate the pain and severe menstrual bleeding associated with this condition.
This plan of treatment can also help restore hormonal balance that regulates menstrual cycle. Acupuncture boosts blood flow to the reproductive organs allowing them to function efficiently. This can prevent the rise or even reverse the scarring and adhesions. Acupuncture has worked very well for a lot of women suffering from this condition.
Endometritis is an inflammation of the endometrium which is the inner mucosal membrane of the uterus. It is caused by an infection disease such as tuberculosis, gonorrhea, Chlamydia or other types of vaginal bacteria. Women at risk for this disease include those who have recently undergone C-section or long labor, or after childbirth or miscarriage. Severe or chronic cases of endometritis can lead to scarring of the uterine wall which may result in infertility.
Chinese Medicine Treatment for Endometritis
In Chinese medicine, an infection is known as an invasion of Heat in the body. This Heat causes an imbalance in the Yin (cold) and Yang (heat) in the body. To restore balance and clear the infiltrating Heat, the practitioner uses acupuncture and Chinese herbs. This is the way Chinese medicine treats endometritis and other gynecological infections such as Candidiasis or STDs.
Uterine fibroids or fibroids, for short, are also known as leiomyomas, fibroid tumors, or myomas. Fibroids are offshoots of the solid muscle tissue in the uterus. Most fibroids tend to naturally resolve by themselves after menopause and occur less in white women than other races. Nevertheless, when they occur, they cause menstrual bleeding and pain, heavy sensation in the stomach, bowel difficulties, dyspareunia (pain during sexual intercourse), urinary incontinence or frequency, and infertility.
Chinese Medicine Treatment for Uterine Fibroids
In Chinese medicine, uterine fibroids are believed to be brought about by a buildup of unvented anger in the body. The uterus is where this unexpressed anger resides. This anger generates energy imbalances that lead to the rise of the tumors. Acupuncture along with Chinese herbs generates a relaxing feeling in the body and a soothing calmness in the mind allowing those unexpressed feelings to dissolve. Imbalances are corrected and stress and anger is resolved. This is the way Chinese medicine cures uterine fibroids.
Autoimmune disorders that can contribute to infertility include thyroid disorders/Hashimoto’s Disease, Natural Killer Cells, etc.). Both male and female genders can develop hormonal issues that can impair their ability to produce an offspring. No one knows how autoimmune disorders occur although women of childbearing age are more prone to these conditions than men. They can be genetically inherited or may be triggered by a past infection or environmental factors.
Treating Autoimmune Disorders with Acupuncture
Studies have confirmed that acupuncture can be a very helpful treatment for a lot of immune system disorders especially when they involve the thyroid and the hormones. These disorders almost always entail hormonal imbalances that have developed due to a deficiency or excess in yin or yang and affect the circulation of qi in the body. Chinese medicine practitioners use acupuncture and herbal medicine to help restore balance, and address the underlying cause of the disorder, while at the same time resolving the symptoms manifested by each patient.
Thin Uterine Lining
A thin uterine wall makes implantation of the embryo difficult or even impossible. Three factors are responsible for this condition:
- The health of the uterine wall itself
- Circulation of blood to the uterus
- The levels of estrogen in the blood
How Acupuncture Strengthens The Uterine Lining
In addressing this condition, acupuncture can perform a couple of things:
- It boosts the flow of blood to the uterus thereby nourishing the uterus which causes it to develop a healthy and thick uterine wall
- It restores balance to the hormones regulating the production of estrogen in the blood
Through these, acupuncture treats infertility associated with a weak uterine wall.
Amenorrhea is a sign that a woman is not ovulating, which therefore, leads to infertility. Causes of amenorrhea are as follows:
- Too much exercise
- Abnormal chromosomes
- Pituitary gland issues
- Lack of reproductive organs, such as uterus vagina, cervix
- Birth control pills
- Hormone imbalance
- Thyroid conditions
- Low body weight
- Medications, such as corticosteroids
- Pituitary tumor
- Premature menopause (onset of menopause prior to 40 years of age)
Chinese Medicine Treatment of Amenorrhea
In Chinese medicine the kidneys, spleen, and liver are the organs that control blood and menstruation. Along with Chinese herbs and a healthy lifestyle, acupuncture helps regulate Ovarian/Pituitary/Hypothalamus function resulting in hormonal balance and improving blood flow to the brain and the reproductive organs. This treatment also leads to stress relief which is important since too much stress in the body can disrupt menstruation as stress can obstruct block blood flow to the reproductive organs. This treatment can thus normalize the menstrual cycle thus resolving both amenorrhea and infertility.
Blocked Fallopian Tubes
A blocked fallopian tube is one of the most common reasons why a lot of women are infertile. The fallopian tubes are the channels in which a woman’s eggs move from the ovaries to the uterus. So, if these tubes are blocked, natural conception is impossible.
There are two causes for fallopian tube obstruction: Structural and functional. The structural blockages are caused by infections or surgery that does damage to the tube. These may include pelvic endometriosis, fibroids, PID (pelvic inflammatory disease), and others.
Functional blockages can be caused by weak or too much secretion within the tubes themselves or from a stiffening or spasm of the fallopian tube walls.
How Chinese Medicine Helps Unblock Obstructed Fallopian Tubes
By itself, acupuncture cannot treat blocked tubes emanating from structural causes although along with Chinese herbal medicine, it can improve the effectiveness of surgery in the cure of this type of blockage.
Acupuncture treatment for blocked fallopian tubes focuses on the breakdown of adhesions and scar tissue and adhesions along the fallopian tubes, lessens or increases the mucus within the tubes, eases the spasms and tension within the tubes, and boosts blood flow to the tubes and other reproductive organs. Furthermore, acupuncture can regulate fallopian tube function and relieve stress.
Intestinal or digestive disorders that can cause infertility include celiac disease, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease.
Science has still no explanation why a lot of women with untreated celiac disease have become infertile. One theory is that malnutrition as a result of the mal-absorption of nutrients in food digested is to blame or due to some other yet still unknown reason. Ulcerative and colitis and Crohn’s disease both involve the inflammation of the colon or inflammation that directly affects the ovaries or fallopian tubes can reduce fertility. Colitis and Crohn’s are diseases that do not directly affect the reproductive organs. However, related symptoms such as possible infection, anemia, and fever can be factors that can affect the rate of fertility.
Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs for the Treatment of Intestinal Disorders
Acupuncture combined with herbal medicine as well as dietary and lifestyle changes can restore the amount of beneficial flora in the gut and rid you of the symptoms of these three intestinal conditions. Circulation of blood to the digestive organs can improve the digestive efficiency of the stomach and intestines and boost the ability of these organs to absorb nutrients which maintains the health of the body, strengthens the immune system, and relieves inflammation. As a result the inflammation and symptoms that may potentially lead to infertility are treated or prevented.