Amenorrhea is the absence of menstruation. Regular menstrual cycles generally indicate that ovulation is occurring. While not all cases of amenorrhea automatically mean infertility, amenorrhea can have implications for fertility. Amenorrhea can have various causes and may require different treatment and management. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) including acupuncture Chinese herbal medicine is a holistic approach, and treatment is tailored to each individual’s unique needs. Integrating TCM with conventional medicine may offer a holistic approach to support your reproductive health.
Types of amenorrhea
This refers to the absence of menstruation in women who have not had a period by the age of 15-16 or within three years after the onset of secondary sexual characteristics (such as breast development) during puberty. Primary amenorrhea may be caused by various factors, including genetic conditions, hormonal imbalances, structural abnormalities, or disorders affecting the reproductive organs. Fertility depends on the underlying cause and may require medical intervention.
This refers to the absence of menstruation in women who have previously had regular menstrual cycles. Secondary amenorrhea is typically defined as the absence of menstruation for three or more consecutive cycles or six months in women who previously had regular periods. Common causes of secondary amenorrhea include pregnancy, hormonal imbalances (such as polycystic ovary syndrome, thyroid disorders, Premature Ovarian Failure/early menopause ), excessive exercise, stress, weight changes, certain medications, or medical conditions affecting the reproductive system. Treating the underlying cause can often restore fertility.
Hormonal imbalances, such as high or low levels of oestrogen, progesterone, or thyroid hormones, can disrupt the menstrual cycle. Treatment may involve hormonal therapy or medications to regulate hormone levels, as well as lifestyle changes to support hormonal balance.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
PCOS is a common hormonal disorder that can cause irregular or absent menstruation. Lifestyle changes, such as weight management, regular exercise, and a balanced diet, are often recommended. Hormonal medications, such as oral contraceptives or insulin-sensitising drugs, may be prescribed to regulate the menstrual cycle.
Stress and Lifestyle Factors
Chronic stress, excessive exercise, drastic weight changes, and poor nutrition can all contribute to amenorrhea. Addressing these factors through stress management techniques, adequate rest and relaxation, balanced nutrition, and moderation in exercise can help restore menstrual regularity.
Inadequate intake of essential nutrients, such as iron, can affect menstrual function. Ensuring a well-balanced diet with sufficient intake of nutrients is important. In some cases, dietary supplements may be recommended.
Certain medications, such as certain types of contraceptives or antipsychotics, can cause amenorrhea. Consulting with a healthcare professional or gynaecologist about alternative medications or adjusting the current treatment plan may be necessary.
Amenorrhoea can occur after stopping the use of oral contraceptive pills (OCPs). This is a common phenomenon known as post-pill amenorrhea. Here are some factors that can contribute to amenorrhea after discontinuing OCPs:
Oral contraceptive pills contain synthetic hormones that regulate the menstrual cycle. When you stop taking OCPs, it may take some time for your body to adjust and regain its natural hormonal balance. This adjustment period can lead to temporary amenorrhea.
Withdrawal of Hormonal Influence
OCPs provide a consistent level of hormones that suppress ovulation and control the menstrual cycle. When you stop taking the pills, there is a withdrawal of this hormonal influence, which can disrupt the normal functioning of the reproductive system and temporarily halt menstruation.
Every woman’s body is unique, and the time it takes for the menstrual cycle to resume after stopping OCPs can vary. For some women, menstruation may return promptly, while for others, it may take several weeks or even months for the cycle to regulate.
Dealing with Post-Pill Amenorrhea
If you experience amenorrhea after discontinuing OCPs and you’re concerned about it, here are a few things you can consider:
- Give It Time: In most cases, post-pill amenorrhea is temporary, and the menstrual cycle will resume naturally. It’s normal for the body to take some time to readjust after hormonal contraception.
- Track Your Symptoms: Keep track of any changes or symptoms you experience after stopping OCPs. This can include the length of time without menstruation, any associated symptoms, or other noticeable changes in your body. If you notice any concerning or persistent symptoms, it’s advisable to consult with your healthcare provider.
- Consult Your Healthcare Provider: If you have been experiencing prolonged amenorrhea (absence of menstruation for several months), or if you have other concerns about your menstrual health, it’s recommended to consult with your doctor or Chinese medicine practitioner. They can evaluate your specific situation, perform any necessary tests, and provide personalised advice based on your individual needs.
Post-Pill Amenorrhoea Chinese medicine
In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), amenorrhea can be seen as a disruption in the body’s energy flow and balance. TCM practitioners may approach this condition by aiming to restore the harmonious flow of qi (energy) and blood throughout the body. Here are some TCM principles and approaches that may be considered for post-pill amenorrhea:
Acupuncture is a commonly used TCM technique that involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body to stimulate energy flow and restore balance. TCM practitioners may target acupuncture points related to reproductive health and hormonal regulation to support the restoration of menstrual cycles.
Chinese herbal Medicine
TCM practitioners may prescribe specific herbal formulas tailored to an individual’s needs. These formulas often include a combination of herbs that are believed to nourish the blood, regulate hormonal balance, and promote the flow of qi. Some commonly used herbs in TCM include dong quai (Angelica sinensis), peony (Paeonia lactiflora), and Chinese motherwort (Leonurus japonicus).
Dietary and Lifestyle Recommendations
TCM practitioners may also offer dietary and lifestyle advice to support the restoration of menstrual cycles. This may involve recommendations to eat a balanced diet with nourishing foods, manage stress levels, get adequate rest, and engage in moderate exercise.
Scientific research regarding the effectiveness of TCM for amenorrhea including post-pill amenorrhea is on going and more research is needed. If you have been diagnosed amenorrhea and want to know if acupuncture Chinese herbal medicine can be benefit to your health, please feel free to contact us.
Almond Wellness Centre Coburg and Ringwood clinics
Almond Wellness Centre located in Victoria’s Coburg and Ringwood area, is a multidisciplinary clinic dedicated to promoting wellness. At our clinics, we emphasise the importance of comprehensive healthcare that considers the entirety of an individual. Our approach involves treating each person as a unique individual, taking into account your lifestyle, diet, environment, emotions, and attitude.
All practitioners have comprehensive training in reproductive health including TCM gynaecology and obstetrics, fertility IVF acupuncture support, and pre/ post natal treatment. We have extensive knowledge in both Traditional Chinese Medicine and modern medicine, specifically related to women’s health and fertility.
As each person is different, if you or someone you care about is experiencing menstruation period or fertility issue and would like to explore the potential benefits of Chinese medicine acupuncture, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Our fully qualified registered acupuncture Chinese medicine practitioners in both Coburg clinic and Ringwood clinic are here to provide information and assistance. We will assess your specific condition, take into account your medical history, and develop a treatment plan tailored to your needs.