Hormone Balancing

Home/Hormone Balancing
9 12, 2015

Hormone Balancing

Acupuncture is an effective treatment option for regulating hormones and can help: Hormone-related moods such as depression, anxiety, irritability, and anger Improve night sweats and insomnia so that you sleep better and wake up feeling more rested Improve energy and mental clarity during the day Regulate the menstrual cycle to correct symptoms of PMS and PMDD, painful

20 04, 2014

Acupuncture Kelowna Experts Treat Heavy Periods; a Sign of a Health Imbalance

Acupuncture is an ancient healing technique of traditional Chinese medicine. Its very safety and efficacy for treating a host of medical conditions has meant is being as popular today as it was then. It is effective for treating ailments such as migraine, back pain, allergies, arthritis and gynecological problems such as heavy periods or menorrhagia,

15 12, 2013

Therapeutic Fertility Treatment

For centuries, acupuncture combined with herbal and traditional medicine has been employment in many cases of infertility. When used alongside western fertility therapies, acupuncture has also been discovered to increase the rate of conception by 26 per cent. The therapy can treat a number of infertility causes such as repeated pregnancy losses and spasmed tubes.

24 10, 2013

Hormone Imbalance / Estrogen Dominance

A hormonal imbalance occurs when there is too much estrogen relative to progesterone in a woman's body, also referred to as estrogen dominance. In a normal cycle, estrogen and progesterone hormones work together to maintain a woman’s menstrual cycle, each playing an important role. When a hormone balance occurs and estrogen levels are too high, it

11 06, 2012

Making Menopause a Smooth Transition

Sharon came in complaining about chronic fatigue and low energy. The 58-year-old had been experiencing menopausal symptoms for the past three years and reported having trouble falling and staying asleep. She was also having night sweats and hot flashes that interfered with her sleep.

Getting to the Root of the Problem

At Sharon’s first appointment, she reported feeling fatigue, weakness in the limbs, and memory loss. She also reported digestive issues that included bloating, belching, gas in the stomach, and heartburn. Her tongue was slightly purple, red in the center, and had no coating. The tongue is an accurate indicator of what is going on internally, which is why acupuncturist's use it as a diagnostic tool

Sharon’s symptoms indicated she was suffering from a kidney yin deficiency. The kidneys play an important role in our vitality and as they decline, signs of aging begin to appear including greying hair, memory loss, poor eyesight, and aging skin. If kidney functioning is particularly low we may also experience lower back pain and weak limbs. Digestive issues are an indication of poor spleen functioning, which can also contribute to weakened kidneys.

a successful transition through menopause with acupuncture

Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

I started Sharon at twice weekly acupuncture treatments in order to get her symptoms under control so she could enjoy a better night’s sleep. Sharon experienced improvement after just a few sessions and after five sessions her night sweats and hot flashes decreased by 50%.  

Because of her progress, I reduced her treatments to once a week while we continued to work on her sleep issues and hot flashes. With each treatment, Sharon continued to improve and her symptoms resolved. She was sleeping better, sweating less, and had fewer hot flashes. She reported feeling more energetic and said her digestive issues were improving with each acupuncture treatment. 

After 10 treatments, Sharon was nearly back to normal so we reduced her sessions to twice a month and then to once a month to maintain her progress and prevent her symptoms from returning. Eventually, when the menopausal stage is complete, her symptoms will resolve fully.

Enjoying Life’s New Stages

I see Sharon every two months and she continues to do well. When she does experience sweating and hot flashes now, it is minor and resolves quickly. Best of all, she is sleeping normally and her energy levels are great. 

Sharon is a great example of how acupuncture can reduce menopausal symptoms by helping the body reduce stress and ensure the various organs and systems are functioning optimally so that one can experience a comfortable transition through this natural stage of life.

Wondering if acupuncture can help you achieve better health? Visit Okanagan Acupuncture Centre at our downtown Kelowna location or contact us to find out more!

 

27 04, 2012

Menorrhagia/Heavy Periods

 

Menorrhagia is the medical term for menstrual periods in which bleeding is abnormally heavy or prolonged. Officially, the flow of more than 80 ml per menstrual period is considered menorrhagia, however a flow of 45-60 ml per period can also be considered menorrhagia as well, based on statistical norms. Menorrhagia can also include a very long period of a week or longer, and passing large blood clots. Anemia is common in women with menorrhagia and there may be symptoms such as tiredness, fatigue or shortness of breath.

Causes of Menorrhagia

The cause for menorrhagia is not clear. Most women with menorrhagia report regular periods and have been shown to have normal estrogen and progesterone levels. However, menorrhagia is most common in teens and in perimenopause, times in the lifecycle when estrogen levels tend to be higher and progesterone levels to be lower.

Another possible factor is ovulation. Even with regular periods, it is common for women to have menstrual cycles without ovulation. In a normal cycle, the release of an egg from the ovaries stimulates the body's production of progesterone, the female hormone most responsible for keeping periods regular. When no egg is released, insufficient progesterone can cause heavy menstrual bleeding.

This suggests that menorrhagia may be related to increased estrogen action before flow. Very rarely is menorrhagia caused by a primary bleeding disorder. Fibroids are commonly associated with menorrhagia but rarely a reason for it.

Treatment that is effective for very heavy flow includes ibuprofen, drinking extra salty fluids during heavy flow (to treat low blood volume), increasing dietary or supplemental iron and cyclic progesterone therapy. Additional therapies include tranexamic acid (which encourages blood clotting) and the use of a progestin-releasing IUD.

An Alternative Approach to Menstrual Health

In Chinese medicine, any irregularities in a woman’s reproductive cycle whether they be PMS, painful periods, irregular periods, or heavy periods, are a sign of a health imbalance that requires addressing. Menorrhagia is considered a type of abnormal bleeding and may be caused by heat (which interferes with the body’s function of storing blood and controlling blood flow), empty qi-energy (which may be caused by damage to the spleen so that it is unable to perform its function of restraining the blood), or blood stasis.  The most common causes for these imbalances are emotional stress, especially depression and excessive emotions, excessive worry and anxiety, poor diet, particularly too much hot, spicy, or greasing foods or consuming alcohol, or lack of exercise. Imbalances can also arise due to excessive fatigue or due to a deficiency of kidney yin energy.

A Path to Better Health

The good news is that acupuncture and Chinese medicine treat menorrhagia quite effectively and regardless of the causes, it responds positively to treatment. An acupuncturist will first work on treating the immediate symptoms, we call this treating the branch. Once the heavy bleeding is under control, we focus treatment on the root cause, whether it is heat, empty qi-energy, or blood stasis, and address this imbalance in order to prevent menorrhagia in the future and to break the pattern of a chronic condition. As the body becomes healthier, we can expect other symptoms to lessen or resolve as well, such as problems sleeping, period cramps or lower back pain, fatigue, and physical and emotional symptoms that relate to the cycle. Ideally, in a woman in perfect health, there should be no cycle-related symptoms and the resolution of these symptoms are a sign of improving health.

Healthy Habits for a Healthy Body

Chinese medicine also has valuable lifestyle principles to prevent menstrual disorders. These include eating and drinking a moderate and balanced diet, maintaining a regular sleep-wake routine, managing stress and emotions, and not dwelling on negative thoughts and frustrations. Also, it is wise to overdo it prior and during menstruation, which may mean cutting back on long work hours, avoiding stress, and doing lighter exercise during this time. While these may seem like common sense habits, they can have real and measurable effects on our health and wellbeing. Chinese medicine teaches us that all of these factors play an important role in our overall wellbeing and can have important consequences to our health.

James Kaufman is a Registered Acupuncturist at Okanagan Acupuncture Centre, 1625 Ellis St, downtown Kelowna. He can be reached at www.okanaganacupuncture.com. 

 

27 04, 2012
  • perimenopause

Perimenopause

Perimenopause, also called the menopausal transition, is the natural shift in a woman’s reproductive cycle toward menopause, or ceasing of the cycle. When a woman has gone through 12 consecutive months without a menstrual period, she is considered to have reached menopause, and the perimenopause period is over.

Women start perimenopause at different ages, and may start noticing changes in the 40s or even as early as the 30s. During the menopausal transition, the body's production of estrogen and progesterone fluctuates. These hormonal fluctuations are at the root of the changes experienced during perimenopause. These changes may include menstrual irregularity and menopause-like symptoms.

Perimenopause Symptoms

With perimenopause, a woman’s cycle may become irregular, becoming shorter, longer, heavier or lighter, or more or less than 28 days apart.  About 65-75% of women experience hot flashes. Sleeping problems are also common, often due to hot flashes or night sweats.  Some women experience mood changes such as mood swings, irritability or depression. Fertility decreases, there may be changes in sexual function and desire, and vaginal and bladder problems may also arise such as infections or urinary incontinence. Other health problems that become a concern with declining estrogen levels are loss of bone and higher risk of osteoporosis, and changing cholesterol levels and increased risk of heart disease.

Treatment for perimenopause symptoms will typically involve hormone therapy, oral contraceptives, or progestin therapy. Hormone therapy is less commonly recommended today because of its associated health risks, and contraceptives or progestin therapy may not effectively resolve symptoms for all women.

Acupuncture: A Safe and Effective Approach

Acupuncture is an excellent option for ensuring a healthy transition through this period of a woman’s life and is of benefit to many of the common symptoms. Menopause is a natural stage in life and the healthier a woman is overall, the healthier and smoother this transition will be. For this reason, acupuncturists don’t look at perimenopause as problematic, but rather view the symptoms and their severity as indicators of a woman’s health and possible internal imbalances that may be at the root of these symptoms. A woman in ideal health would transition through menopause with no discomfort at all (and indeed, many women do). However for many women, factors such as diet, stress, overwork, emotional upset, and exercise habits can all contribute to health, stress levels, and the overall experience during the menopause transition.

Getting to the Root of the Problem

An acupuncturist’s first task then, is to determine which internal imbalances are causing the symptoms that a woman is experiencing. Symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, irritability and depression, nervousness and anxiety, fatigue, heart palpitations, digestive issues, joint pain or stiffness, osteoporosis, loss of sex drive, and vaginal dryness are all signs that the body is not functioning at optimum health and that imbalances need to be corrected.With menopause and aging, the organs most involved are the kidneys and the liver. The kidney functioning naturally begins to decline as we age, and the liver is involved in regulating the menstrual cycle as well as balancing our emotions.

Acupuncture helps to move the body’s energy in its proper directions and amounts and to encourage these organs to function properly again. It has a regulating effect on the body, and promotes normal functioning of the various organs and systems at work in our body. By this principle, it can help to regulate hormone functioning, our sleep cycles, our energy, our digestion, and our moods. It is also a great stress reliever.

Promoting A Healthy Transition

With regular treatments we can begin to see a reduction in the severity of perimenopause symptoms and in the frequency that they are experienced, a sign that a healthy balance is being regained. Acupuncture can help with many of the symptoms of perimenopause, from hot flashes and night sweats to moods, energy, and stress, to digestive issues and joint pain. It is an excellent therapy for helping to ensure a healthy transition into menopause, embracing the changes that this new stage of life brings.

James Kaufman is a Registered Acupuncturist at Okanagan Acupuncture Centre, 1625 Ellis St, downtown Kelowna. He can be reached at www.okanaganacupuncture.com. 

14 10, 2010

Night Sweats – Sleep Hyperhidrosis

Night sweats, or sleep hyperhidrosis, are episodes of excessive night time sweating even when your bedroom isn’t excessively hot. It is a fairly common problem, with many people experiencing them from time to time. Night sweating usually isn’t considered a serious medical concern, however it can be uncomfortable when it occurs regularly or interferes with sleep.

Night sweats can be a side effect of certain medications such as antidepressants, hypoglycemic agents, temperature-regulating medications, or hormone therapy. Many women also experience night sweating during menopause. In some cases, underlying medical conditions can lead to night sweats, such as infections, cancer, nervous system disorders, or problems with the body’s endocrine (hormone-producing) system. It’s always important to get symptoms checked out by your doctor to be sure that they aren’t a sign of something more serious.

For people experiencing night sweats, acupuncture can offer relief. The development of the Chinese medical system occured through astute observation. Their doctors became masters of accurately diagnosing medical conditions based on a very detailed observation of symptoms. With observation, they discovered that groups of symptoms typically occur together, and together these symptoms point towards a specific pattern of imbalance. By determining which imbalance, you can treat the problem effectively to resolve the symptoms.

For this reason, whenever Chinese medicine trained acupuncturists talk about a symptom such as night sweating, or headaches, or pain, we are never simply talking about the symptom by itself. We are talking about all of the other symptoms that may be accompanying the complaint, in order to understand which pattern of imbalance is the true cause. From a Western medical perspective these patterns may all be lumped together as the same condition (such as “headaches” or “insomnia”), whereas in Chinese medicine we may have a number of different types of one condition that are each different because they are each due to a different pattern.

With night sweating, there are a few different patterns of imbalance that can be at work. The most common pattern involved in night sweating is a yin deficiency. Night sweating is commonly seen in people with a yin deficiency combined with internal heat, but can also occur in a heart blood deficiency or a spleen qi deficiency with internal damp accumulation.

So how do these patterns translate into outward symptoms? A deficiency of heart blood would have night sweating along with symptoms of heart palpitations, insomnia, pale complexion, shortness of breath, and fatigue. With yin deficiency with internal heat, night sweats would be frequent with a tendency to feel warmer in the later afternoon, reddening of the cheeks, heat in the chest, and hot hands and feet.  Spleen qi deficiency with damp accumulation would cause night sweats with headaches with a “head full of cotton” feeling, heavy limbs, poor appetite, and slippery or slimy feeling in the mouth.

As you can see, with night sweats there are a number of different situations that can occur. By determining which type of pattern is at the root of the problem, acupuncture can help the body to correct the imbalance and resolve the symptoms- not just the night sweats but accompanying symptoms such as fatigue, insomnia, appetite, headaches, or poor sleep. It is simply a matter of redirecting the body’s energy and to encourage the body’s own natural healing processes.

James Kaufman is a Registered Acupuncturist at Okanagan Acupuncture Centre, 1625 Ellis St, Kelowna, BC.

15 07, 2009

Menopause

Menopause is the transitional phase of a woman’s life when menstrual function ceases, which typically spans a 2-5 year period. During this time, hormonal levels in the body are fluctuating, as estrogen and progesterone levels gradually decline and the body responds by producing higher than normal levels of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). The main symptoms likely to be experienced (with varying degrees of severity) are headaches, tiredness, lethargy, irritability, anxiety, nervousness, depression, insomnia, inability to concentrate, hot flashes, and sweating.

Menopause typically occurs between the ages of 48 and 55, but menopause is a gradual physiological process that really begins with birth, and the cycle of gradual maturation and decline of a woman’s reproductive system. This certainly agrees with theChinese medicine (TCM) view of menopause, in which menopause is not viewed as a syndrome so much as a normal transition in a woman’s life that is influenced greatly by a woman’s lifestyle, emotional stress, experiences, and dietary habits.

There are many characteristics of the modern western lifestyle that can lead to increased menopausal symptoms. Emotional stress is an extremely important cause of menopausal problems, as worry, anxiety and fear all weaken the kidneys and lead to yin deficiency. Considering the increased stress posed on women through work and family in the past 40-50 years, it is not uncommon for many women to deal with ongoing overwork and stress both physical and emotional, all of which contribute to a woman’s experience during menopause. Other impacts of a fast-paced lifestyle can be poor or rushed meals, and not having the time or energy for regular exercise or stress release.

From a Chinese medicine perspective, menopausal symptoms are generally due to a decline of the kidneys as we age, often as either a deficiency of kidney-yin, kidney-yang, or both, each of which will present its own set of symptoms. Sweating in the middle of the night indicates a kidney yin deficiency, whereas sweating in the early morning upon waking indicates a kidney yang deficiency. A kidney yang deficiency will also be accompanied by a feeling of cold, especially in the feet, whereas a kidney yin deficiency will be accompanied by a feeling of heat, particularly in the chest, the palms of the hands, and the soles of the feet.

A kidney yin or yang deficiency pattern may also be combined with other patterns of imbalance, which might involve the liver, a stagnation of qi (energy), deficiency of blood. These imbalances can contribute to other menopausal symptoms: hot flashes, insomnia, irritability, depression, nervousness and anxiety, fatigue, palpitations, nausea, diarrhea and constipation, and stiffness, bloating, cramps and joint pain, among other symptoms.

Acupuncture offers a more natural approach to managing menopausal symptoms. Whereas some types of menopausal treatments may have negative side-effects, acupuncture can help to manage symptoms without any negative impact on health, indeed by bringing the body into a more balanced state of functioning, health can actually be improved. Acupuncture can help to relieve menopausal symptoms to make this transition a much more enjoyable and comfortable time of a woman’s life.

James Kaufman is a Registered Acupuncturist at Okanagan Acupuncture Centre, 1625 Ellis St, Kelowna, BC.

24 11, 2008

PMS

Pre-menstrual syndrome or PMS, as it is often called, is the term used to describe the various emotional and physical symptoms occurring before the period. Symptoms can include depression and sadness, irritability, anxiety, lethargy, lack of concentration, aggressiveness, changes in libido, changes in bowel habits, skin eruptions, food cravings, crying, outbursts of anger, clumsiness, abdominal and breast distension, pain, water retention, weight gain, and insomnia. Symptoms vary in intensity, from mild to extremely serious, and duration, from one day to two weeks. Surveys estimate that 30-90% of women have experienced PMS at some point in their lives.

There is no clear treatment for PMS in the Western repertoire, as there is no universally-accepted definition of what PMS is or what causes it. Common theories include progesterone deficiency, vitamin B6 deficiency, elevated prolactin levels, prostaglandins, and excessive aldosterone levels. Treatment may include diuretics, anti-depressents, anti-inflammatories, progesterone, oral contraceptives, medications to influence the production of prostaglandins, and vitamin B6 supplements. However, most women experience some degree of PMS regularly and do not seek help for it, believing it to be a ‘natural’ or at least inevitable part of life. Many use their own tried-and-true methods of treatment that may include painkillers, anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants, supplements, exercise, diet, stress reduction, and rest.

PMS is approached from a different perspective in Chinese medicine, and can be treated effectively with acupuncture. Chinese Medicine looks at one’s state of health according to the body’s internal balances; when there is imbalance, symptoms will occur. An imblalance of the liver is often at the root of many PMS symptoms because it plays a very important role in a woman’s menstrual cycle. The liver has a strong influence on the regulation and balance of emotions, it regulates the blood and supplies the blood for the uterus, and its overall regulation of energy and blood is relied upon for the functioning of all other organs. Symptoms of PMS can commonly be due to liver imbalances but may also relate to spleen and kidney imbalances, all of which may be caused by lifestyle factors such as emotional strain, poor diet, or overwork. Depending on the cause or causes, the specific symptoms experienced will vary.

Chinese medicine treatment begins with a proper diagnosis of the root causes of the symptoms. Once the causes of PMS are determined, acupuncture along with diet and lifestyle changes may be used to resolve the problem. Acupuncture is used to harmonize the body’s overall flow of energy, improve liver functioning, and regulate hormone functioning. Diet and lifestyle changes are encouraged to avoid aggravating the condition and to promote healing. Examples can include avoiding greasy, heavy or spicy foods, limiting caffeine, managing stress and removing stressors where possible, exercise, and improving the balance of work, family, and recreational time.

At Okanagan Acupuncture Centre, we have often seen clients for the treatment of PMS. With acupuncture treatments, many women experience less severe pre-menstrual symptoms, calmer and more easily regulated moods, increased energy, improved digestion and organ functioning, improved complexion, better sleeping patterns, and the reduction and eventual resolution of pain, bloating and other PMS symptoms. As the body is strengthened and rebalanced, symptoms will be alleviated, demonstrating that there are indeed effective methods for resolving health issues through natural, safe, drug- and hormone-free techniques.

James Kaufman is a Registered Acupuncturist at Okanagan Acupuncture Centre, 1625 Ellis St in Kelowna, BC.