Acupuncture and Women’s Health

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AA Women's HealthWomen’s health issues are numerous and multifaceted, ranging from infertility to pregnancy, from amenorrhea to menstrual irregularities, from perimenopause to menopause. At Acupuncture Associates in Wilmington, NC, women’s reproductive health is one of Robert’s specialties, an area in which he has had great success in helping patients achieve their goals. Whether you want to create better conditions to become pregnant or relieve the symptoms of menopause, acupuncture can help:

Amenorrhea:  Amenorrhea is a condition in which a woman has not had a menstrual period for at least three consecutive months, or a girl has not yet begun menstruation by the age of fifteen.

Pregnancy is a frequent cause of temporary amenorrhea, which typically resolves itself after childbirth or once breast-feeding has concluded.  The concern is when women experience this condition without being pregnant. Other common causes of amenorrhea are contraceptives, medications (allergy meds, antidepressants, chemotherapy), lifestyle issues (low body weight, stress, excessive exercise), hormonal imbalances, and structural problems (uterine scarring, lack of reproductive organs). If left untreated, complications from amenorrhea can include infertility and osteoporosis.

Acupuncture can often help reduce stress levels, improve hormonal balance, and generally improve your system’s energy levels, thereby helping to resolve amenorrhea.

Infertility:  There are many reasons why some women are initially unable to become pregnant. The good news is that acupuncture can help prepare their bodies to conceive by increasing the levels of blood flow to the pelvic organs, balancing estrogen levels, and strengthening the uterine lining. Additionally, acupuncture greatly reduces stress levels, thereby enabling critical blood flow to the ovaries.
Acupuncture is frequently given in conjunction with traditional infertility treatments such as IVF and IUI.

Menstrual Irregularities:  It is not uncommon for women to experience some form of menstrual irregularities during the course of their lifetimes.  Cycles can be early or late, heavy or scanty, long-lasting, or painful. And of course, there’s the infamous PMS, which often causes uncomfortable physical symptoms as well as emotional mood swings.

The good news is that many, if not all, of these associated symptoms of menses can be reduced through acupuncture. The most significant success rates occur when women combine acupuncture with herbs, improved nutrition, increased exercise and/or healthy lifestyle changes.

Pregnancy:  Some of the most common side effects of pregnancy can be significantly reduced through acupuncture. Back pain, morning sickness, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, fatigue, heartburn, and constipation can all be reduced or alleviated with the appropriate acupuncture treatments.

Licensed acupuncturists are trained to know which acupuncture points should be avoided on a pregnant woman and which areas provide the most relief throughout the pregnancy. Once women approach their due date (around week 37), it is often a good idea to be treated more frequently in order to prepare your body for the labor and delivery.

Menopause:  “Today, an estimated 50 million women in the United States have reached menopause. Most women will spend at least one-third of their lives in or beyond menopause”  That’s a long time.

Menopause is a gradual process that often takes several years to complete. Throughout that time women often experience one or more uncomfortable symptoms including, but not limited to hot flashes, insomnia, mood swings, cold extremities, and weight gain.

Western medical treatments frequently included hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Although HRT can help reduce hot flashes, research has now discovered that the therapy can also increase risk of more serious conditions such as breast cancer, heart disease, stroke, and blood clots. As a a result, many women are now looking for safer, alternative treatments such as acupuncture to manage their symptoms.

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, “Several studies show acupuncture may help many women with symptoms of menopause, particularly with hot flashes and mood changes.”

Conclusion:  Acupuncture is increasingly recognized by traditional Western medicine as a source of symptomatic relief for many women’s health conditions, including labor pain, low back pain and menstrual cramps. Even the Mayo Clinic says, “Since acupuncture has few side effects, it may be worth a try if you’re having trouble controlling pain with more conventional methods.”

 

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