Premature Ovarian Failure Acupuncture Chinese Medicine Melbourne
Premature Ovarian Failure (POF), also known as premature ovarian insufficiency, is a complex condition that can significantly impact a woman’s reproductive health and overall well-being. It refers to the cessation of ovarian function before the age of 40, leading to a range of symptoms akin to menopause. While POF predominantly affects women over 40, it can also occur in younger women, typically in their 20s and 30s.
At Almond Wellness Centre Melbourne acupuncture Chinese medicine clinics, we recognise the importance of a holistic approach to managing POF, combining conventional medical treatments with complementary therapies such as acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, and lifestyle adjustments.
Understanding Premature Ovarian Failure (POF)
Premature Ovarian Failure involves the cessation of ovarian function, causing a decline in estrogen levels and leading to various symptoms, including irregular periods, hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, vaginal dryness, and sexual discomfort. It is crucial to understand the characteristics of POF to effectively address this condition.
Characteristics of Premature Ovarian Failure (POF)
POF is characterised by specific hormonal changes, which can be identified through blood tests. Key hormonal changes in POF include:
Elevated Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH) Levels: FSH is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland that stimulates the ovaries to produce eggs. In POF, FSH levels rise significantly, typically exceeding 20 mIU/ml.
Elevated Luteinising Hormone (LH) Levels: LH is another pituitary hormone that plays a role in regulating the menstrual cycle. In POF, LH levels also increase.
Decreased Oestrogen (E2) Levels: Oestrogen is a crucial female sex hormone responsible for regulating the menstrual cycle and maintaining various aspects of female health. In POF, oestrogen levels decline significantly.
A common diagnostic criterion for POF is an FSH level exceeding 40 mIU/ml. To confirm this diagnosis, it’s essential to conduct at least two FSH tests with an interval of approximately one month between them.
While these hormonal changes serve as key diagnostic markers for POF, they may vary from person to person. It is essential to consider an individual’s unique presentation and circumstances when making POF diagnosis.
The exact causes of POF remain a subject of ongoing research, and it is a complex condition influenced by various factors. While the precise aetiology may not always be clear, several potential contributing factors have been identified:
Genetic Factors: There is evidence to suggest that genetic predisposition may play a role in the development of POF. Women with a family history of POF are at an increased risk of developing the condition.
Chromosomal Abnormalities: Certain chromosomal abnormalities, such as Turner syndrome, can lead to POF. These abnormalities may result in a reduced number of ovarian follicles.
Autoimmune Diseases: Autoimmune conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis or systemic lupus erythematosus, may trigger an immune response against ovarian tissues, ultimately affecting ovarian function.
Radiation and Chemotherapy: Women who have undergone radiation therapy or chemotherapy, often as part of cancer treatment, may be at a higher risk of developing POF. These treatments can damage ovarian tissue, leading to premature ovarian failure.
Surgery: Surgical procedures involving the ovaries or uterus, such as ovarian cyst removal or surgery for endometriosis, can impact ovarian function and potentially contribute to POF.
Environmental Factors: Exposure to environmental toxins and pollutants, such as asbestos, heavy metals, pesticides, and other harmful substances, may increase the risk of developing POF.
Infections: Severe infections or certain viral infections, such as the herpes simplex virus, have also been considered potential factors affecting ovarian function negatively.
Psychological Factors: Persistent psychological stress and emotional issues may impact ovarian function. The exact mechanisms of this relationship are still being investigated.
At Almond Wellness Centre, we recognise the importance of addressing the root causes of POF while providing holistic care that encompasses Traditional Chinese Medicine acupuncture treatments, diet and lifestyle adjustments. By taking a comprehensive approach, we aim to support patients in their journey towards managing POF effectively and improving their overall quality of life.
Adopting a Holistic Attitude
Dealing with a diagnosis of Premature Ovarian Failure can be emotionally challenging. We believe that adopting a holistic attitude is essential to cope with the condition and promote overall well-being. This holistic approach involves multiple aspects of life and includes the following principles:
Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle: Prioritising a healthy lifestyle is crucial for managing POF. This includes getting adequate sleep, avoiding excessive stress, quitting smoking and limiting alcohol consumption, staying away from radiation exposure, and maintaining a balanced diet.
Nutritional Support: Proper nutrition is essential for overall health and may help address specific concerns associated with POF. This includes incorporating calcium and vitamin D to support bone health, antioxidants such as vitamins C and E to combat oxidative stress, and omega-3 fatty acids (DHA) to reduce inflammation and promote emotional stability.
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT): Hormone replacement therapy, particularly estrogen replacement, is a conventional medical intervention that can alleviate POF symptoms. By mimicking a natural menstrual cycle, HRT can help maintain the health of various organs in the body.
Regular Medical Checkups: Regular medical checkups and consultations with healthcare providers are essential for monitoring and adjusting the management and treatment plan for POF. These checkups help ensure that the chosen treatment is appropriate and effective.
Psychological Support: POF can significantly impact emotional well-being. It’s important to seek psychological support or therapy to address emotional and psychological challenges associated with the condition.
While conventional medical treatments play a crucial role in managing POF, complementary therapies and lifestyle adjustments can enhance the overall effectiveness of the treatment plan. At Almond Wellness Centre, we offer a holistic approach that includes Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), acupuncture, nutritional guidance, and lifestyle recommendations to support patients on their journey to managing POF.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Premature Ovarian Failure (POF)
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a holistic healthcare system with a history spanning thousands of years. It views health as the result of the balance and harmony between the body’s internal systems and the external environment. TCM offers a unique perspective on managing POF and other women’s health issues.
TCM recognises the interconnectedness of the body, mind, and spirit and strives to address the underlying imbalances in the body. It utilises various modalities, including acupuncture, herbal medicine, and dietary recommendations, to promote overall health and well-being.
In the context of POF, TCM offers a personalised approach that aims to:
Tonifying Kidney: TCM aim to nourish and tonify the Kidney Yin and Yang, protect Kidney essence from depletion.
Regulate Qi and Blood: TCM practitioners focus on regulating the flow of Qi (vital energy) and blood in the body. An imbalance in qi and blood can lead to menstrual irregularities and hormonal imbalances commonly associated with POF. Acupuncture and herbal medicine are key components of TCM used to achieve this balance.
Harmonise Yin and Yang: TCM emphasises the importance of maintaining the balance between yin and yang energies. POF is often attributed to a deficiency in yin, which can lead to heat symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats. TCM interventions, such as acupuncture, herbal remedies, and dietary modifications, aim to harmonize these energies.
Premature Ovarian Failure Acupuncture
Acupuncture, a fundamental component of TCM, has gained recognition in the treatment of various women’s health issues, including POF. This ancient practice involves the insertion of fine, sterile needles into specific points on the body to stimulate energy flow and promote balance. Acupuncture for POF is designed to address hormonal imbalances, improve blood circulation, and reduce the intensity of symptoms.
Key benefits of acupuncture for POF include:
Hormonal Regulation: Acupuncture may help regulate hormone levels, which are often imbalanced in POF. This regulation may lead to improved menstrual regularity and reduced severity of menopausal symptoms.
Improved Ovarian Function: Acupuncture is believed to enhance ovarian function by increasing blood flow to the ovaries. This may potentially improve the quality of eggs and support fertility.
Stress Reduction: Chronic stress can exacerbate POF symptoms. Acupuncture sessions provide relaxation and stress relief, which can help mitigate the emotional impact of POF.
Enhanced Overall Well-Being: Acupuncture aims to address the physical, emotional, and psychological aspects of POF. Patients often report improved sleep, reduced anxiety, and a sense of overall well-being.
Premature Ovarian Failure Chinese Herbal Medicine
Chinese herbal medicine, another integral part of TCM, complements acupuncture in the management of POF. Chinese herbs are carefully selected and formulated to address individual imbalances in the body. These herbal formulas are tailored to the specific needs of each patient, providing a personalised approach to treatment.
Key benefits of Chinese herbal medicine for POF include:
Hormonal Balance: Chinese herbs may help regulate hormonal imbalances, reducing the severity of POF symptoms.
Enhanced Ovarian Function: Herbal formulas aim to improve ovarian function, potentially increasing the chances of fertility.
Reduced Menopausal Symptoms: Chinese herbs alleviate common menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings.
ROF Chinese Medicine Acupuncture Melbourne Practice
At Almond Wellness Centre Melbourne clinics, our dedicated team of experienced acupuncturists and TCM practitioners understands the unique needs of individuals with POF. We create personalised treatment plans that incorporate acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, and dietary recommendations to address the root causes of POF and alleviate its symptoms.
Our comprehensive approach involves:
Diagnosis: We conduct a thorough evaluation to understand the specific imbalances and symptoms associated with POF. This includes assessing hormonal levels, evaluating menstrual irregularities, and considering emotional and psychological aspects of the condition.
Acupuncture Treatments: We develop a customised acupuncture treatment plan that focuses on hormone regulation, stress reduction, and improved blood flow to the ovaries.
Chinese Herbal Medicine: Based on individual needs, we prescribe Chinese herbal formulas to support hormonal balance, ovarian function, and overall well-being.
Dietary and Lifestyle Guidance: We provide dietary recommendations that align with TCM principles and support women with POF in making lifestyle adjustments that promote hormonal balance and well-being.
Emotional and Psychological Support: We offer a compassionate and supportive environment to address the emotional and psychological aspects of POF. Our practitioners understand the emotional challenges associated with POF and provide strategies for coping.
Premature Ovarian Failure (POF) can present significant challenges for women seeking to manage their reproductive health and overall well-being. At Almond Wellness Centre, we believe in a holistic approach that combines conventional medical treatments with complementary therapies such as acupuncture and Chinese medicine. We recognise that acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can play pivotal roles in regulating hormones, enhancing ovarian function, reducing symptoms, and promoting overall health.
If you or a loved one are living with POF, we invite you to explore our comprehensive approach to managing this condition. Our experienced team of practitioners at Almond Wellness Centre is dedicated to providing personalised care that addresses the unique needs and imbalances of individuals with POF. Through our holistic approach, we aim to empower women with POF on their journey to improved health and well-being.
Contact us today to learn more about our services and to schedule a consultation. Together, we can work towards a brighter and healthier future, even in the face of Premature Ovarian Failure.
Disclaimer: Individual responses to Chinese medicine treatment may vary. Consultation with a qualified TCM practitioner is recommended to determine the most suitable herbs, formulations and acupuncture treatment based on individual health conditions. This information is for educational purposes and does not replace professional medical advice.
In a typical natural menstrual cycle, ovulation occurs in each cycle for women. After ovulation, the level of oestrogen drops then raise again in the second part of period. At the same time progesterone raise and keep at a high level. Two weeks later, both hormones retreat and menstruation start. Usually after ovulation you will have period in two weeks unless pregnant.
However, can you still have period without ovulating?
It is possible to have a period without ovulating. Sometimes although follicles in the ovaries develop periodically, even with menstrual cramps but the follicles do not rupture to release mature eggs, and there is no formation of a corpus luteum in the ovaries. This condition is known as anovulatory bleeding, anovulatory menstruation, or anovulatory cycle.
Causes for anovulatory menstruation
There are various factors that can cause anovulatory cycles, including hypothalamic hypoplasia, or delayed development, imperfect regulation between the hypothalamus, pituitary gland and ovarian axis, decreased ovarian reserve, stress, hormonal imbalances, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), thyroid disorders, extreme weight loss or gain, and certain medications. Those can all can cause abnormal uterine bleeding.
Symptoms of anovulatory menstruation are abnormal bleeding, variable amount, prolonged cycle or repeated irregular vaginal bleeding. Some people’s period seem to have certain time pattern and thinks that they have normal menstruation period. However no evidence of ovulation can be found through ultrasound or basal body temperature.
Typical anovulatory dysfunctional uterine bleeding may have several months of amenorrhea before menstruation, followed by heavy vaginal bleeding, which often changes to vaginal bleeding after a few days. The bleeding can last for a few days or for a couple of weeks. It may even cause anaemia.
The diagnosis of anovulatory menstruation can be judged mainly through clinical examination. It can be checked by observing the thickness of the endometrium and vaginal discharge. According to whether the menstruation has regularity and the symptoms and signs associated with menstrual period cycle, we can generally diagnose whether it is anovulatory menstruation.
To confirm the diagnosis of anovulatory menstruation, the diagnosis can be confirmed by colour Doppler ultrasound or blood test for endocrine examination. You can do an ultrasound during ovulation to see if there is follicle development and mature follicle rupture. You can also have blood test to see if oestrogen, luteinising hormone, and progesterone have risen to determine whether it is anovulatory menstruation.
If the cycle length and flows are normal, the menstruation bleeding come and end in time, and it is usually ovulatory menstruation.
How does it affect my fertility?
Anovulatory cycles can be associated with fertility challenges. Conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which commonly causes anovulatory cycles, can affect fertility by disrupting hormonal balance and impairing the release of mature eggs.
When you don’t ovulate, sometimes the lining of the uterus (endometrium) may continue to grow, resulting in a heavier or prolonged period when it is eventually shed.
If ovulation does not happen, you can’t conceive during that cycle. It is important to know whether you are ovulating or not if you are trying to get pregnant. You can check ovulation at home. If still not sure it is always advisable to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate management of any menstrual irregularities and fertility challenges.
Chinese medicine acupuncture in conjunction with conventional medicine for anovulatory bleeding can be a complementary approach that may provide additional benefits. Integrating both traditional and modern approaches can provide a comprehensive approach to reproductive health.
The process of conception is a fascinating and complex journey that involves the meeting of a sperm and an egg. However, there are several misconceptions and myths surrounding the optimal timing for conception. Here we will address these misconceptions and provide accurate information to help you understand the highest probability of conception during sexual intercourse.
The Highest Probability of Conception
Sexual intercourse 1-2 days before ovulation: approximately 30-35% – the highest probability of conception,
on the day of ovulation: Slightly lower probability, about 25%.
3-5 days before ovulation: Successively 15%, 9%, and 3%.
1 day after ovulation: No chance! 0%!
Contrary to popular belief, the day of ovulation is not necessarily the day with the highest probability of conception. Studies have shown that sexual intercourse 1-2 days before ovulation has the highest chance of resulting in pregnancy, with approximately 30-35% success rate. On the day of ovulation, the probability slightly decreases to around 25%. Engaging in sexual activity 3-5 days before ovulation provides successively lower probabilities of 15%, 9%, and 3%. However, there is no chance of conception one day after ovulation.
The Survival Time of Sperm
To understand why conception can occur before ovulation, it’s crucial to consider the lifespan of sperm. While an egg can survive for only 24 hours after release, sperm can survive in the female body for up to 48-72 hours, and sometimes even longer. This means that having sexual intercourse a few days before ovulation allows sperm to wait in the reproductive system for the egg to be released, increasing the chances of successful fertilisation.
Calculating the Ovulation Period
Determining the ovulation period is essential for increasing the likelihood of conception. In women with regular menstrual cycles, ovulation generally occurs around 14 days before the next menstrual period. Several methods, such as tracking basal body temperature, check and chart changes in cervical mucus, or using ovulation predictor kits, can help pinpoint the ovulation period more accurately. It’s important to note that these methods provide estimates and may not guarantee precise timing.
No Guarantee of Pregnancy
Engaging in sexual intercourse during the ovulation period does not guarantee a 100% chance of pregnancy. Various factors can influence fertility, including sperm quality, sexual dysfunction, stress, and age-related factors. It’s essential for couples to maintain regular sexual activity throughout the menstrual cycle to optimise their chances of conception.
When to Take a Pregnancy Test
If conception occurs, the fertilised egg starts producing human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) around six days after implantation. Since sperm can survive for 2-3 days in the uterus, a pregnancy test can be taken as early as eight days after sexual intercourse. However, to ensure accurate results, it is recommended to wait until at least three weeks after sexual intercourse.
Performing a Pregnancy Test Correctly
When taking a home pregnancy test, it’s crucial to follow the instructions provided with the kit. Make sure the test is not expired, use disposable gloves to handle the test, and aim it at the urinary opening for a brief duration as instructed. Incorrect timing or misinterpretation of the results can lead to false outcomes, so it’s important to carefully follow the guidelines.
Understanding the optimal timing for conception can help couples increase their chances of successfully conceiving. While the highest probability of conception lies in having sexual intercourse 1-2 days before ovulation, sperm survival in the female body allows for flexibility in timing. Tracking the ovulation period, maintaining regular sexual activity, and taking a pregnancy test at the appropriate time can all contribute to a better understanding of fertility and family planning. Remember that each individual’s reproductive journey is unique, and it’s important to seek professional guidance and support when needed.
Almond Wellness Centre
Almond Wellness Centre located in Victoria’s Coburg and Ringwood area, is a multidisciplinary clinic dedicated to promoting wellness. Whether you are in search of treatment for a particular health issue such as fertilityIVF support or aiming to enhance your overall well-being, we are dedicated to delivering personalised care tailored to your needs. Our goal is to assist you in achieving your health objectives and supporting your journey towards optimal wellness.
The Connection Between Sleep, Melatonin, acupuncture Chinese medicine and Fertility
Sleep plays a crucial role in our overall well-being, and recent research has shed light on its importance in the context of fertility. Studies have shown that women who experience better sleep patterns may have an increased chance of conceiving, particularly through in vitro fertilisation (IVF). One key factor that contributes to restful sleep is the hormone melatonin. In here we will explore the relationship between a good night’s sleep, melatonin, and fertility, and also delve into how acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can further aid in promoting restorative sleep.
Understanding Melatonin and Its Sleep-Inducing Benefits
Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone produced by the pineal gland in humans. Its primary role is to regulate the sleep-wake cycle and promote a state of drowsiness. The hormone’s secretion is influenced by natural light exposure, with production increasing in response to darkness and decreasing when exposed to light. Beyond its role in sleep regulation, melatonin also acts as a potent antioxidant, helping to repair cellular damage caused by stress and oxidation.
Melatonin’s Impact on Fertility
Recent research presented at the World Congress of Fertility and Sterility and published in the Journal of Pineal Research has revealed the link between melatonin and fertility. Women who were given melatonin showed promising results, with significantly increased melatonin concentrations in their follicles and decreased concentrations of the damaging compound 8-OhdG. Consequently, the melatonin group had a higher success rate of 50% for successful transfer of follicles into the womb, compared to 22.8% in the control group. Furthermore, pregnancy rates in the melatonin group were 19%, compared to 10.2% in the control group.
Naturally Boosting Melatonin Levels
If you’re looking to improve your chances of conception and overall sleep quality through increased melatonin levels, there are several natural approaches you can consider:
Establish a Consistent Sleep Schedule: Going to bed early and waking up early can significantly improve your sleep quality. Aim to go to bed at 10 pm for at least four nights a week, and gradually adjust your bedtime if you are used to sleeping later.
Embrace Morning Sunlight: Exposing yourself to natural sunlight in the morning helps inhibit melatonin production, signalling to your body that it’s time to wake up. Engaging in activities like yoga or tai chi during this time can further enhance your overall well-being.
Include Melatonin-Rich Foods: Certain foods contain naturally occurring melatonin, such as green vegetables, fish, turkey, whole grains, lentils, and bananas. Incorporating these foods into your diet may help support melatonin production.
Reduce Stress: High-stress levels can disrupt sleep patterns and melatonin production. Practicing relaxation techniques, mindfulness, and meditation can be beneficial in reducing stress.
Limit Light Exposure at Night: Minimise exposure to artificial light at night, including electronic devices like phones and laptops. Avoid turning on lights when using the bathroom during the night to prevent interference with melatonin production.
Acupuncture & Chinese Herbal Medicine for Sleep
In addition to these lifestyle changes, traditional Chinese medicine offers effective methods to improve sleep quality. Acupuncture, an ancient practice involving the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body, has been shown to help regulate the sleep-wake cycle and promote relaxation. It can also address underlying imbalances that may contribute to sleep disturbances.
Chinese herbal medicine, with its rich history of promoting overall well-being, includes various herbs known for their calming and sleep-inducing properties. Combining acupuncture with Chinese herbal medicine can create a synergistic effect, helping individuals experience more restful and rejuvenating sleep.
A good night’s sleep is not only essential for our daily functioning but can also play a vital role in fertility. Melatonin, the hormone responsible for regulating our sleep-wake cycle, has been found to positively impact fertility outcomes, particularly in IVF treatments. By adopting natural methods to boost melatonin levels and incorporating practices such as acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, individuals can further enhance their sleep quality and overall well-being. If you are experiencing persistent sleep issues, consider consulting a healthcare professional or an acupuncturist experienced in treating sleep disorders to explore personalised solutions and embark on a path to better sleep and improved fertility.
Vickets (2010) Melatonin could improve women”s IVF success, found at http://www.ivf.net/ivf/melatonin-could-improve-women-s-ivf-success-o5387.html, sited 3/9/12
B Best (2012) Melatonin, http://www.benbest.com/nutrceut/melatonin.html, sited 3/9/12
A Hunter (2012) How to increase your natural melatonin production, http://www.livestrong.com/article/510836-how-to-increase-your-natural-melatonin-production, sited 3/9/12
31-year-old Sarah came to see me at Almond Wellness Centre, our acupuncture Chinese medicine clinic. Sarah had been trying to get pregnant for over a year without any success, and was concerned that her short menstrual cycles might be hindering her chances.
Sarah’s period was so short that she almost had two periods in one month. Her first period lasts for 5 days, normal flow with mild cramping and some PMS. She then has another period a few days later. The second “period” is light or spotting only, with clear stretching discharge and some cramping or sharp pain on the sides of lower abdomen.
I suggested her to do ovulation test and check her basal body temperature (BBT). From her BBT and ovulation history we discovered that she was not actually having two periods in one month, but was experiencing ovulation bleeding instead.
So, what is ovulation bleeding?
Ovulation bleeding is light bleeding or spotting that occurs during ovulation.
The exact cause of ovulation bleeding is not clear, but it is thought to be related to changes in hormone levels that occur during ovulation. The surge in oestrogen and luteinising hormone that triggers ovulation can cause some women to experience spotting or light bleeding.
Does ovulation bleeding affect fertility?
Ovulation bleeding is generally not a concern; however, it may affect chances of getting pregnant. For instance, Sarah thought that she was having period. She avoided having intercourse during that period time, therefore missed her fertile windows and had difficulty to get pregnant.
Chinese medicine and ovulation bleeding
In Chinese medicine, ovulation bleeding is seen as a sign of disharmony in the body’s energy, or qi. This disharmony can be caused by a variety of factors, including stress, poor diet, and hormonal imbalances. A Chinese medicine practitioner will work to identify the root cause of the problem and develop a customised management plan. In addition, dietary and lifestyle changes may be recommended to support your overall health and improve your chances of getting pregnant.
Because Sarah was avoiding intercourse during her bleeding time, she was actually missing her fertile windows, which made it more difficult for her to conceive. After following her treatment plan and other advice, her period became more regular and her ovulation bleeding stopped. She could “time it right” – having intercourse during her fertile windows. A few months later Sarah successfully became pregnant, much to her delight and relief.
So, if you are experiencing two periods in one month, with light flow or unusual spotting or discharge, you may actually be experiencing ovulation bleeding. Don’t let ovulation bleeding or any other menstrual irregularities get in the way of your dreams of becoming pregnant. With the right treatment and care, you can improve your chances of conception and start your journey towards motherhood.
It’s worth noting that while some people respond positive to Chinese medicine treatment on fertility outcomes, others have found no significant benefits. You should consult with your fertility specialist and registered Chinese medicine practitioner before start any treatment.