Acupuncture Helps Edmonton Women Overcome Reproductive Health Issues

Endometriosis is a painful reproductive condition that along with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is one of the many factors associated with infertility.

There are many issues that can occur with a woman’s reproductive system. Some of these complications can make the monthly menstrual cycle very unpleasant. It can cause pain and discomfort that can interrupt a woman’s daily routine. Some issues can be so severe that it can make it very difficult to conceive a child. Many of my clients in Edmonton had never thought that acupuncture would be so effective with assisting them in managing and correcting the pain of their reproductive problems, until they tried it for themselves!

In the days leading up to your period, if you experience breast tenderness, irritability, fatigue, bloating, and constipation; then you are suffering from Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) or Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD.) An effective way to alleviate PMS symptoms is through acupuncture. My Edmonton clients have have found relief with a combination of acupuncture and herbs that regulate PMS and PMDD symptoms for current and future menstrual cycles.

Acupuncture and herbal medicine treatments for PMS and PMDD have been shown to reduce the severity of symptoms by 50% or better compared to periods before treatment.* You also don’t have to worry about any serious adverse effects. Acupuncture and the herbs that I use are proven to be safe; a bonus is that you shouldn’t have to take painkillers during your period with this course of treatment.

*Jang SH; Kim DI; Choi MS, BMC Complementary And Alternative Medicine [BMC Complement Altern Med], ISSN: 1472-6882, 2014 Jan 10; Vol. 14, pp. 11; Publisher: BioMed Central; PMID: 24410911, Database: MEDLINE

Dysmenorrhea is the medical term for experiencing a very painful period. This is usually caused by excessive contractions of the uterus which result in uncomfortable cramping. The pain is located mainly in the pelvic and lower abdominal area and lower back. It can also cause nausea, headaches, and dizziness.

Some women may experience pain with such severity that it interferes with their life for multiple days during their period. If you have to miss time at work or school because of the pain that your period causes, it’s time to take control and manage your symptoms. Acupuncture has been found to be as effective as Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (such as Advil, Aspirin, Motrin, Aleve) for relieving pain in women experiencing dysmenorrhea.* Book an appointment with me for acupuncture. My Edmonton clients have noticed significant relief of their pain after a visit.

*Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2013 Jul;169(2):292-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ejogrb.2013.02.016. Epub 2013 Mar 20.

Women who have missed three or more periods in a row, or teen girls who have not begun menstruating by age fifteen, are considered to have amenorrhea. For a menstrual cycle to occur, the hypothalamus (the area of the brain that controls hormones)has to signal the pituitary gland to release Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and Luteinizing Hormone (LH). When FSH and LH are released, this will cause the ovaries to produce the hormones estrogen and progesterone. As estrogen and progesterone levels cycle, this causes changes in the thickness of the uterine lining (endometrium.) This is how the menstrual cycle works. There are many causes of amenorrhea and if there are any issues with the endocrine system, or with the vaginal tract, that may be the reason. If you are certain that pregnancy isn’t the cause of your amenorrhea, you should seek medical attention and consider a appointment with me for acupuncture in my Edmonton office.

Endometriosis is a condition where the uterine lining grows and implants in areas of the body where it normally shouldn’t. Endometrial tissue can occupy fallopian tubes, ovaries, areas of the pelvis, bladder, bowels and even the diaphragm. Women experience pain at different times in their cycle; usually most intensely during their period, but it is also important to know that, when it comes to pain and endometriosis, there is no rhyme or reason.

Individuals with small amounts of endometrial tissue may experience more pain than individuals with larger amounts, and vice versa. The endometrial tissue can cause pain, inflammation and scar tissue.

Symptoms of endometriosis:

  • chronic pelvic pain
  • painful periods (dysmenorrhea)
  • abnormal uterine bleeding including heavy/excessive bleeding
  • pain with intercourse
  • pain between periods
  • pain with bowel movements or urination
  • fatigue, nausea
  • digestive issues and bloating
  • ovarian cysts (endometriomas) and
  • infertility

Acupuncture can help to manage the symptoms that come along with endometriosis including severe abdominal cramping, lower back pain, fatigue, nausea and headaches. Acupuncture can significantly reduce the amount of pain you experience due to endometriosis. Acupuncture causes a release of neurotransmitters that reduce pain and allow you to go about your normal routine.

Traditional chinese herbal medicines have also been shown to be effective in managing pain caused by this condition as well. Fertility acupuncture treatment can also increase conception rates with this diagnosis. It’s important that acupuncture be combined with herbs and nutritional suggestions to achieve the best results when treating endometriosis.

To learn more about our clinical approach to endometriosis Endometrosis and Acupuncture

Fibroids and ovarian cysts are pretty common in women. Fibroids are tumors that form on the inside of the uterus, whereas ovarian cysts are are fluid-filled sacs that form inside or on the surface of ovaries. These tumors are almost always benign. Symptoms of having fibroids and ovarian cysts include:

  • Heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Severe cramps
  • Bloating in the lower abdomen
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Lower back pain
  • Frequent urination

Although fibroids and ovarian cysts generally do not cause major health issues; they can become a problem when a woman tries to conceive a baby. These conditions can cause issues in producing a viable egg or with implantation of the embryo in the uterus. Acupuncture can help to manage the levels of estrogen and progesterone. When estrogen levels are high, the fibroids and ovarian cysts tend to increase in size. When the fibroids and cysts are at their largest this can cause a discomfort and prevent an embryo from implanting in the uterus. A combination of herbal remedies and acupuncture can help my Edmonton patients manage and decrease the size of fibroids and ovarian cysts.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is an endocrine system disorder that is characterized by the following symptoms:

  • Increased androgen levels
  • Irregular ovulation
  • Infrequent menstruation
  • Multiple cysts on the ovaries
  • Weight gain
  • Hair growth

Acupuncture has helped many Edmonton women cope with this disorder, and you can overcome it too. In severe cases, this disorder can impact a woman’s fertility. Acupuncture can improve menstrual frequency, stimulate ovulation, decrease circulating androgens in the body, and normalize estrogen activity in women with PCOS.

To learn more about managing PCOS with acupuncture click here 

*Elizabeth Jedel, Fernand Labrie, Anders Odén, Göran Holm, Lars Nilsson, Per Olof Janson, Anna-Karin Lind, Claes Ohlsson, and Elisabet Stener-Victorin. Impact of electro-acupuncture and physical exercise on hyperandrogenismand oligo/amenorrhea in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 300: E37–E45, 2011.
Electrical and manual acupuncture stimulation affects estrous cyclicity and neuroendocrine function in a DHT-induced rat polycystic ovary syndrome model. Yi Feng1,2, Julia Johansson1, Ruijin Shao1, Louise Mannerås Holm1, Håkan Billig1, Elisabet Stener-Victorin1,3 . Experimental Physiology. DOI: 10.1113/expphysiol.2011.063131.

When women come to the end of their reproductive years and undergo menopause, most will experience a multitude of unwanted symptoms during this time, including:

  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats
  • Poor memory and “brain fog”
  • Difficulty with sleep, anxiety
  • Irritability and mental restlessness

If you are a woman in her late 40’s to early 50’s and experiencing these symptoms, you should know that acupuncture can help Edmonton women through this transition. In a small study twenty-seven women received acupuncture twice a week for ten weeks. The results showed lower amounts of hot flashes, as well as decreased irritability and mood swings. Estrogen levels rose in the blood; and Luteinizing Hormone (LH) levels decreased. Acupuncture could be an alternative for women who are unable or unwilling to use hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

Read more about this study from the BMJ-British Medical Journal. (2011, March 8). Acupuncture curbs severity of menopausal hot flushes, study suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 13, 2014.