What is menorrhagia and why acupuncture for heavy period is effective
Acupuncture for heavy period becomes more and more popular choice of treatment. In this article we will discover the mechanism of acupuncture for heavy period treatment. Heavy menstruation is called menorrhagia or hypermenorrhea. Menorrhagia is a menstruation at a regular cyclical interval with excessive flow and duration; clinically, loss of blood is in excess of 80 ml or more per cycle and/or bleeding lasts longer than 7 days. Aside from the social distress of dealing with a prolonged and heavy period, over time the blood loss may appear to be greater than the body iron reserves or the rate of blood replenishment, leading to anemia.
Causes of a heavy period (menorrhagia).
There are many causes of menorrhagia (heavy period). The condition should always be diagnosed by a doctor to rule out a variety of potentially serious underlying conditions such as cancer and uterine fibroids. The causes of heavy menstruation are regularly divided into two categories:
- Functional uterine bleeding: A change in hormone levels is a common cause of abnormal menstrual bleeding.
- Organic uterine bleeding (non-functional uterine bleeding): it is not caused by hormone imbalance but by underlying diseases. The following causes are quite common.
- Endometrial hyperplasia
- Cancer of the uterus
- Uterine fibroids, uterine polyps or adenomyosis
- Medical conditions such as thyroid and pituitary disorders, diabetes, cirrhosis of the liver, and systemic lupus erythematosus
- Pregnancy complications — such as miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy
- Changes in birth control pills or estrogens that you take
- Use of certain drugs such as steroids or blood thinners
- Use of an intrauterine device (IUD) for birth control
- Recent trauma, surgery, or other uterine procedure
- Infection in the uterus (pelvic inflammatory disease)
- Bleeding disorders such as Von Willebrand disease
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
Conventional treatment for heavy period.
Where an underlying cause can be identified, treatment should be directed at the underlying cause. For functional uterine bleeding, hormones are often treatment option, such as progestogen, or oral contraceptive. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or tranexamic acid tablets are often used and some surgical procedures such as endometrial ablation, Uterine Artery Embolization (UAE), or hysterectomy are sometimes suggested for severe cases.
Acupuncture for heavy period
Traditional Chinese Medicine offers a natural alternative to medical intervention in the treatment of menorrhagia. Acupuncture for heavy period is one of many strategies used in TCM. Various studies have been performed and the results show the effectiveness of acupuncture for heavy period for most cases that are result of hormonal misbalance.
Studies performed to find an effectiveness of acupuncture for heavy period.
A study by Liu (1988) analyzed 5 groups of patients who were treated with the appropriate points protocols and needle insertion techniques. Patients received between 7 and 10 daily treatments, with a follow-up 3 months after treatment. The total effective rate was 90% with 80% of patients experiencing significant benefits. An interesting secondary feature of the study is the inclusion of blood tests after completion of acupuncture for heavy period treatment. Post acupuncture tests revealed the blood cell counts had returned to normal levels.
Another study was performed by Zhang & Wang. They used one acupoint protocol for each patient along with the appropriate needle technique. Patients in this study received at least 10 treatments, with a follow-up 6 months after treatment. They reported “complete cure” in 86% of cases, with 100% “total effective rate”.
In the third study (1994), patients received individualized acupuncture for heavy period treatment according to Chinese medical diagnosis. A course of treatment involved daily acupuncture for heavy period during the period of 4 to 5 days prior to and after menstruation. Patients received no more than 3 courses of treatment. This research found that acupuncture was effective in normalizing the menstrual cycle and regulating ovulation (as evidenced by mid-cycle luteinizing hormone and cervical mucus values) in patients who had previously used oral contraceptives. In 84.2% of cases, significant benefits were achieved through acupuncture for heavy period treatment. There was no follow-up to gauge the long-term benefits. The authors also observed that those who had used the oral contraceptive pill for more than 2-3 years, and those with a history of menstrual disorders before using oral contraception, required more acupuncture for heavy period treatments.
Chinese medicine practitioners treat menorrhagia according to the initial cause, symptoms, and signs, as well as based on pulse and tongue diagnostic. Acupuncture for heavy period, herbal medicine and some other modalities of Chinese medicine can be used alone, or combined, which depend on the individual situation. Acupuncture for heavy period, two or three times per week for 4 weeks, is a common practice. And herbal medicine, twice a day for 10 days, is often used in the clinic. Individual patient’s response to acupuncture or herbal medicine is different, so treatment course and modalities must be customized from person to person.
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