Our bodies’ hormones exist in a delicate balance with one another, and correcting imbalances can be a tricky thing to achieve. In order to understand what exactly we are dealing with, let’s take a closer look at our endocrine system, the bodies’ messaging system. Then we will further examine how Chinese Medicine can help to balance the female hormones in order to address a variety of common women’s health disorders.
The Endocrine System Creates and Distributes Messages
Our Endocrine systems are a fascinating and complex thing to look at. What is the function of this system? The endocrine system is comprised of a series of glands whose job is to produce and distribute hormones. Hormones are one of of our bodies primary messaging systems, and they coordinate our body’s physiological activities, much like a symphony conductor coordinates all the musical instruments to create a harmonic performance.
Our key players are the Hypothalamus and the Pituitary gland. This pair of glands regulates the other glands of the body including the adrenals, thyroid, and sex organs. The Hypothalamus and Pituitary team up with several different key glandular players to form multi-functional “Axis'” that work to regulate very important processes of the body. Here are the three major axis’ and their functions:
Regulates male and female reproductive systems. Problems with this axis include infertility, menstrual irregularities, endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, sexual dysfunction and menopausal problems.
Regulates metabolism and energy production and usage. Fatigue, weight gain, emotional disorders, anxiety, and insomnia and heart palpitations indicate problems here.
Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal-Think ‘Stress & Digest’
Regulates a wide variety of activities including stress response, digestive function, immunity, emotions and energy. Problems with this axis may present as fatigue, IBS or other organ functional disorders, insomnia, emotional disturbances, and alcoholism.
TCM View of Hormonal Effects
Chinese Medicine developed a different twist on the perspective of hormones and where they come from. The endocrine system is the basic equivalent of the Kidney system in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine). It is responsible for maintaining functions related to genital, urinary, endocrine, bone, blood and central nervous system. The Kidney is our most basic energy source and is primarily responsible for reproduction, growth and development of the body.
How Can Chinese Medicine Help With Women’s Hormonal Balance?
Chinese medicine excels at balancing the hormones of the women’s body and is an effective treatment for regulating menstrual disorders, treating menopausal symptoms, and addressing infertility. It is also great for addressing mood swings, stress, low libido and poor energy.
Treatment begins with a full heath intake in which we formulate a Chinese medical diagnosis and then go from there. Every woman’s body is different and will be treated in an individualized method, unlike Western medicine where a specific health disorder is treated the same with each patient. For example, an irregular menstrual cycle could stem from several different patterns depending on your body and what is going on with you. I will identify your unique pattern and treat you in a customized fashion.
Your treatment plan generally includes a combination of acupuncture treatments and customized herbal prescription and preparation. When you leave the office, you will be equipped with the knowledge of what the problem is, how we are going to treat it, and how frequently you will need treatment.
Using Herbal Formulas to Treat Hormone Imbalance
Chinese herbal formulas have been clinically proven to be effective in altering hormone levels in the body. A commonly used formula in the treatment of menopause, for example, known as Rhemmania Six alters female sex hormones by directly affecting the adrenal cortex, other endocrine glands, or both.
From a biomedical perspective, it has been reported that this formula increases plasma levels of cortisol (our stress-dealing hormone), increases estrodial (an estrogen derivative) and decreases overall FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) and LH (luteinizing hormone). It also increased estrogen receptors significantly. What does all of this mean? The overall effect of the above data indicates a balance of hormone levels resulting in reduction of menopausal symptoms.
Your herbal formula will be designed based on the symptoms you may be experiencing. From a TCM perspective, we would treat imbalances in the Kidney system. I will prepare a formula for you based on your TCM diagnosis that is completely customized for your body using powdered herbs that can be combined to address both your symptomatic picture and your root causal disorder. In other words, we will treat both your symptoms so that you feel better, but we will also be addressing the underlying cause of your symptoms so that your body cab find balance again.
Using Acupuncture to Treat Hormonal Imbalance
Your acupuncture treatment will focus on balancing the systems of the body that are unbalanced by exerting a strong homeostatic effect utilizing the nervous and hormonal systems. You will likely be treated for imbalances in the Kidney and Liver systems in order sedate your nervous system and balance endocrine function.
Your acupuncture regimen will include weekly treatments until the symptomatic presentations have dissipated, then a monthly maintenance treatment schedule will be established to prevent your symptoms from returning. Once we have have achieved maintenance, you may come in for preventative care if you wish.
If you or someone you know is dealing with hormonal imbalances such as menstrual pain or irregularity, menopause, infertiliy, low libido or poor energy, please refer them to my office for a free consultation.