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Acupuncture and menstruation

Q: I have a problem with my menstruation. I have been taking hormonal contraception for the  last 7 years (I am 25). This January I stopped and since that I haven´t menstruated.  My doctor tested me for hormonal balance and that was alright. Do you know where could be a problem? Is there any posibility that acupuncture could help.

A: This is a not uncommon problem; many women come to forms of complementary treatment like acupuncture when they have stopped taking the Pill and then find that their periods do not restart as they had expected. There is a small amount of research which supports the use of acupuncture treatment for amenorrhea, but the studies are too small and methodologically unsound to quote as evidence.

We tend to look at these problems from the perspective of Chinese medicine which is based on a flow of energy called 'qi', whose balance and rhythms are essential for the maintenance of a healthy body with normal function. The long term use of any drug has two consequences. First, it may directly interfere with a specific flow of energy, and once the drug has been stopped, the energy has not reinstated itself correctly. Second, the taking of any drug has consequences for the body, both in terms of effects on the Liver and Kidney (we use capital letters when talking about Organs as we understand them in Chinese medicine) which have to process the chemicals, and also in terms of what they do energetically to the body. Many are said to create Heat or Cold (again Chinese concepts!) and these may have effects which endure after the medication has ceased.

The fact that your hormonal balance is normal is a good sign. Had this not been checked, a BAcC member would almost certainly have asked you to get this checked by your GP first to find out if there was a physiological problem as understood in Western terms. If this is fine, then you will probably find it beneficial to visit a BAcC member local to you for a discussion and brief face to face assessment of whether acupuncture treatment may benefit you.

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