Reproductive Acupuncture vs Medication for Anovulation
What is Anovulation?
Anovulation is when an egg is not released during a woman’s menstrual cycle. Reproductive health includes mental, physical and social well-being, not just an absence of a reproductive condition. It is an important aspect of general health and human development. For women, reproductive health is of special importance, especially at the age where they want to have children. There are several threats to women’s reproductive health. These include conditions like Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and Luteinized Unruptured Follicle Syndrome (LUFS) both of which cause anovulation. These ovulation disorders may cause infertility. However, there are benefits to using acupuncture for anovulation, as discussed below.
Causes of Anovulation
A woman may experience anovulation for one cycle, then go back to a regular cycle with no complications. However, for other women the condition may be ongoing. Anovulation may be caused by a number of factors, the most common being PCOS, which is where hormonal imbalance leads to irregular or absent ovulation. Another cause, LUFS, involves a follicle than grows to an unusual size but does not release a mature egg. In both cases, it is impossible to get pregnant when ovulation does not occur. Other causes include obesity, Hyperprolactinemia, thyroid dysfunction, and extremely high stress levels. Hyperprolactinemia is a state where there are high levels of prolactin in the blood, produced by the pituitary gland. While normal during a pregnancy, it can cause irregular menstrual cycles in women.
Symptoms of Anovulation
Anovulation is not easily diagnosable, but certain symptoms exist. These include irregular periods, increased amounts of cervical mucus and fluctuations in resting body temperature during a menstrual cycle.
Reproductive Acupuncture for Anovulation vs Western Medicine
When looking at anovulation and its causes, the recurring theme is imbalance. Conventional medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) take different approaches to solving the imbalances that may be causing anovulation.
Western medicine requires that a specific cause of the ovulatory disorder be determined. Medications given to bring on ovulation may have side effects on the patient. IVF may be required, and this has side effects and is very expensive.
Acupuncture for Anovulation
TCM, and specifically acupuncture, take a holistic approach to remedy anovulation and infertility as a whole. As the main issue is hormonal imbalance, acupuncture addresses this by aiming to return balance to the body by improving blood and Qi energy flow. It aims to support the body not only to self-heal but to re-establish the balance between the ovaries, hypothalamus and pituitary gland. So, for each of the causes of the ovulatory disorder, acupuncture addresses them directly. Whether it be stress, obesity or PCOS, reproductive acupuncture may be used to treat the cause and thus treat the disorder. Acupuncture may be used to relax the nervous system to bring about stress reduction, which helps promote general wellbeing and fertility. It may also be used to address side effects caused by conventional medicine.
Research – Acupuncture for Anovulation
There is research which demonstrates how low-frequency electro-acupuncture brings about ovulation induction. (Stener-Victorin, E., Kobayashi, R., Kurosawa, M., 2003 Ovarian blood flow responses to electro-acupuncture stimulation at different frequencies and intensities in anaesthetised rats). In a trial, 14 treatments on 24 anovulation cases with PCOS were carried out. 38% of them experienced induced ovulation. The treatment increased the number of healthy follicles in the ovary and regulated the menstrual cycles.
So, if you are suffering from a condition which causes anovulation, or are interested in how our clinic may help you with your fertility, visit our clinic at Centre of Balance Hamilton, or call us on 07 846 7956.
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Stener-Victorin, E., Kobayashi, R., & Kurosawa, M. (2003). Ovarian blood flow responses to electro-acupuncture stimulation at different frequencies and intensities in anaesthetised rats. Autonomic Neuroscience, 108(1-2), 50-56.