Regular period usually occurs every 28 or 30 days and lasts anywhere from 3 to 7 days. Every woman’s cycle is a bit different. As long as the periods occur with roughly the same number of days between each cycle, they are regular. Irregular periods are sometimes early and sometimes late. The thing is that they are unpredictable.
Irregular menstruation is generally related to disruptions in the balance of hormones. The glands affected with the process of menstruation include the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and the ovaries. This is often referred to as the HPO (Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Ovarian) Axis. Most doctors will put a woman with irregular periods on the contraceptive pill (birth control pill). This will regulate menstrual cycles but unfortunately doesn’t treat the root cause of the irregularity. Consequently, when a woman discontinues the pill, the irregularity will most likely return. What happens is that the pill tricks the body into thinking that it’s pregnant and suppresses ovulation. No egg is released from the ovary and pregnancy can’t occur. Essentially, the hormones override the body’s natural hormone balance.
Acupuncture could regulate the feedback loop between the brain and the ovaries, also known as the HPO axis. With the HPO axis communication open, the ovaries will then support the maturation of an egg, ovulation will naturally occur, and ultimately menses will follow 14 days later if there is no pregnancy. Acupuncture also could improve ovarian and uterine blood flow, which will help the egg quality and lining thickness.
During our clinical practice, we find that the combination of herbal medicine and acupuncture treatments are most effective to regulate the periods. Acupuncture sessions are commonly on a weekly basis at the beginning and last about 45 minutes to one hour. Herbal medicine is given in a concentrated powdered extract and comes as a formula of many herbs combined together in very small dosages customized for the individual. This makes the medicine extremely effective and free of the side effects that could possibly happen when dealing with single herbs in high concentrations. The herbal medicine can be taken without any interactions if the patient is on the contraceptive pill or any other medications as well.