Amenorrhea or No period is defined as the absence of menstruation in a premenopausal woman. Sometimes Amenorrhea can be misdiagnosed as PCO or PCOS. If no menstruation occurs by age 16, it is called “primary amenorrhea.” Whereas “secondary amenorrhea” is the stoppage of menstruation for more than three months when there is no confirmed pregnancy, menopause, or breast feeding involved. Secondary amenorrhea can be caused by elevated prolactin or androgens, Hypothyroidism, Hypopituitarism, extreme exercise, extreme weight loss or eating disorders, stress or psychological disorders, or improper functioning of the ovaries. Sometimes Amenorrhea can be misdiagnosed as PCO or PCOS (see our Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome page for more information).
The most commonly seen Amenorrhea at our clinic is post-pill Amenorrhea; For some women on succession of the OCP the period returns quickly and resumes its normally pattern, but for many long term OCP users the period can take a long time to return, return to abnormal cycle or never return without intervention.
Since normal menstrual cycles are based on a feedback system between the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, ovaries and the reaction of the uterine lining to stimulation, the goal of any treatment would be to restore this feedback system. There are many hormones involved in ensuring a proper menstruation can take place, such as: follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), prolactin, estrogen, progesterone, androgen, and gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH).
Acupuncture promotes proper hormonal balance and regulates the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Ovarian axis by stimulating blood flow to the reproductive organs and the brain. It also relaxes the body and reduces stress levels (elevated stress can prohibit menstruation by blocking blood flow to the reproductive organs and causing an imbalance in hormonal production).
Chinese herbal medicine is highly individualized, assists with ovulation and helps build the uterine lining and adjust the Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Ovarian axis. This rebalance helps regulate and improve the body’s natural hormonal production which in turn aids in proper menstruation. For more information on Chinese Herbal Medicine see our FAQ’s page.