The female reproductive system is controlled by a delicate balance of hormones, and even minor issues can quickly snowball into major pain and discomfort. Western medicine largely discounts women’s health concerns as a cure-all. In contrast, traditional Eastern medicine treats them holistically, addressing both the symptoms and the underlying causes with a blend of acupuncture, herbal remedies, and lifestyle/nutrition guidance. Here is a look at some common women’s health issues that acupuncture and related techniques can relieve.
PMS and Hormonal Issues
PMS (premenstrual syndrome) is one of the most common and complex complaints for women of childbearing age. It can cause symptoms ranging from cramps and pelvic pain to mood swings, fatigue, and difficulty regulating body temperature. Even a mild hormonal imbalance can take PMS from annoying to debilitating. Hormonal issues can also cause a wide range of symptoms that can last throughout the entire monthly cycle, such as abnormal bleeding and ongoing cramps. They are often caused by stress, exhaustion, and major life changes, as well as the hormone surges of puberty and menopause.
It is always important to have a full Western medical workup to rule out any serious underlying conditions. If you get the all-clear, however, acupuncture combined with herbal remedies and lifestyle changes can bring your body back into a safe and healthy balance even if you do not fully understand what is causing your symptoms.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS, is a remarkably common condition that is the leading cause of infertility. It can cause a complex collection of symptoms, including ovarian cysts, acne, weight gain, and increased facial or body hair. Untreated, it can lead to such secondary conditions as heart disease and diabetes. A carefully designed holistic program of acupuncture, Chinese herbs, and nutritional changes can help bring this condition under control.
Endometriosis, or the overgrowth of uterine tissue, can cause painful scarring, adhesions, and inflammation in the reproductive system and beyond. Heavy, painful, long cycles are a common symptom of this benign but misery-inducing condition. While extreme cases may require surgery, the vast majority of women with endometriosis can find relief through acupuncture and holistic Eastern medicine.
Although this complicated and highly painful condition does occasionally strike men, it is approximately nine times more likely to affect women. Fibromyalgia causes a collection of symptoms that affect nearly every system in the body, from widespread and excruciating pain to fatigue, memory issues, and depression. It is unclear exactly what causes fibromyalgia, though it has been shown to cause detectable changes in the brain. Acupuncture works against fibromyalgia by retraining the brain, making it less sensitive to pain signals and increasing the flow of brain chemicals that fight pain.
In addition to its well-known ability to boost fertility and improve the efficacy of IVF, acupuncture can also help to support a healthy pregnancy. Reducing the risk of early miscarriage, fighting pregnancy-related nausea, minimizing back and joint pain, and preparing your body for a healthy, natural birth are just a few of the benefits of pregnancy acupuncture. In some cases, acupuncture can even induce labor and encourage breech babies to turn. Your acupuncturist will work hand in hand with your obstetrician to formulate a complete plan for enhancing the quality of your pregnancy.
Menopause and Perimenopause
Menopause is the complete cessation of your monthly cycles, while perimenopause is the phase that immediately precedes it. Most women experience at least several months of perimenopause, while some report symptoms for as long as a decade. This is a time of radical hormonal shifts and fluctuations that often result in such physical symptoms as worsening PMS, longer cycles, hot flashes, mood swings, and difficulty sleeping.
Acupuncture and traditional Eastern medicine combat these hormonal shifts by gently bringing your system back into alignment. You will receive a personalized treatment protocol based on your unique, individual needs.
Women’s health issues can be frustrating, painful, and even life-limiting, yet Western medicine tends to discount them. While it is always important to get a thorough medical exam to ensure that no underlying disease is present, Eastern medicine offers a gentle, balanced, and holistic solution to many common difficulties. If you are suffering from any of these common conditions, why not give acupuncture a try?
Located in Pacific Palisades, with satellite clinics in Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks, and Beverly Hills, Thumos Health Center offers patients exceptional personalized care. If you are ready to take the first steps toward a more integrative approach to your health care, we invite you to phone 310-927-2792 to schedule an appointment at any of our Los Angeles locations. Our highly knowledgeable and friendly staff will be happy to answer any questions or concerns you might have.