Acupuncture can be used to regulate the menstrual cycle, either to restore a regular period in women who have irregular periods (metrorrhagia or oligomenorrhoea) or when the period is absent (amenorrhea). Regulating the menstrual cycle is also of benefit to women who suffer from PCOS (polycyclic ovarian syndrome) who are trying to conceive and may have irregular ovulation and irregular cycles as a result.
Optimal results will be achieved with weekly acupuncture treatments, for a period of three to six months. Weekly acupuncture treatments are directed at correcting any underlying energetic imbalances in the body, as well as coinciding with the specific physiological changes of each phase of the cycle. The menstrual cycle is divided into four distinct phases; the menstrual, follicular, ovulation and luteal phases.
Phase 1: Menstruation (Day 1-5)
Day one of the cycle is marked by the full flow of menstrual blood (not spotting). The pituitary gland signals for the production of the hormones FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone) and LH (Lutenising Hormone) to stimulate the growth of follicles. Acupuncture treatment during this phase is directed at moving blood to ensure the endometrial lining built up over the previous month is fully shed and to reduce the pain from cramping as well as treating any other symptoms that coincide with the period.
Phase 2: Follicular phase (Day 6 - pre-ovulation)
During this stage of the cycle, oestrogen builds. This increase in oestrogen thickens the living of the uterus and increases cervical fluid. Acupuncture during this phase is aimed at improving the uterine and ovarian blood flow to aid follicular development, increasing the lining of the endometrium and increasing cervical fluid.
Phase 3: Ovulation
The release of an ovum (egg) from the dominant follicle is triggered by a surge in the hormone LH. The cervix is open and fertile cervical mucous increases just before ovulation occurs. Acupuncture treatment during this phase is focused on assisting the release of the ovum.
Phase 4: Luteal phase (post-ovulation)
During this phase, progesterone is increasing. Progesterone is secreted by the corpus luteum (what is left of the follicle after the release of the ovum) and helps to thicken the endometrium for implantation and is necessary to sustain a healthy pregnancy. The ovum travels down the Fallopian tube into the uterus after ovulation. If fertilisation has occurred the embryo will hopefully implant in the uterus. Acupuncture treatment during this phase depends on whether or not pregnancy is trying to be achieved. If a woman is trying to conceive then treatment is focused on assisting implantation and securing the embryo to prevent miscarriage. If not trying to conceive, treatment is focused on regulating qi flow to prepare for the next cycle.
Sally has a special interest in working with couples to overcome fertility challenges as well as continuing to support women throughout pregnancy and beyond.
Sally has a Bachelor of Health Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine (Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine) from the University of Technology Sydney and a Diploma of Health Science in Eastern Massage therapy (Shiatsu and Tuina) from the Canberra Institute of Technology.