Have you ever wondered about preventative medicine and Oriental medicine to address issues in women's health? With regard to menopause, for many years it has been clear that hormone replacement therapy has risks as well as benefits. For some women, the skillful application of herbal medicine can offer the possibility that hormone replacement can be mimimized or eliminated. Side effects from hormone replacement theapy are considerable, whereas these are usually not a problem with Chinese herbal medicine.
In actuality, more than just herbs are used, usually including roots, barks, flowers, and fruits. Sometimes animal products are used, but we never use endangered species of plants or animals at Acupuncture Associates.
Research supports the use of acupuncture and herbal medicine for many of the symptoms of menopause, including many symptoms which are not traditionally recognized by gynecologists, but nonetheless are caused by the same mechanism as lead to menopause.
Infertility, postpartum disorders, premenstrual disorders, irregular periods, heavy bleeding, endometriosis, hormone related emotional imbalances, pelvic pain, menopausal symptoms, disorders which appear or worsen at different phases of the menstrual cycle, as well as many other gynecologic disorders can be treated with the help of acupuncture and herbal medicine.
My own experience suggests that acupuncture and Chinese herbology are more effective and much less unpleasant and dangerous than hormonal treatments, pharmaceutical drugs, or surgery to treat the majority of disorders which women may experience. Compared to these methods of treatment, the cost of acupuncture and herbal medicine is also quite reasonable. Surgical and complex hormonal therapy may cost 40 to 100 times more, and involves considerably higher risk. Surgery can be ineffective as well as create serious and life threatening complications and infections. Drug therapy involves expense and the risk of side effects and toxicity.
When skillfully applied, acupuncture therapy and traditional medicine prepared from different herbs are effective in correcting many of the complex physical and hormonal disorders which can lead to reduced fertility or infertility, painful periods with emotional imbalances, breast tenderness, and cravings, as well as menstrual migraines, acne, digestive disturbances and problems of sexual function.
The Chinese believe that a woman has a major transition of physiology and spirit every 7 years. Most often, these phases are without problem, but imbalances of diet, environment, and relationships can cause disorders which can be addressed with acupuncture and Chinese medicinals. Major events, such as surgery or pregnancy or childbirth, or minor events, such as problems with the menstrual cycle, can accumulate and create problems as early as the mid 20's. Western physicians are not oriented to preventative medicine and do not recognize some of the subtle signs and symptoms of imbalance.
For example, cold hands and feet are a common symptom of a dysfunction of tai yin, and with other gynecologic symptoms, may suggest a particular treatment course to a physician trained in Chinese medicine. When my patients with cold extremities mention it to their Western gynecologists there has not been one who knows the significance of this symptom, or how to correct it.
Menopausal symptoms are another area where a Chinese diagnosis may be helpful. Every woman's pattern of disorder is a little different, and individualizing treatment is always a goal in Oriental medicine. Western trained physicians almost never take these issues into account, and offer the same treatment to almost everyone. My experience suggests that better results are obtained by addressing the unique aspects of every woman's 7 year transitions.
The treatment of infertility with acupuncture usually requires a committment to enough time to rebalance the body's systems. If there are menstrual problems, then treatment must proceed until at least 3 normal cycles are achieved. From there, you should give yourself at least 6 months, and preferably 18 months to achieve pregnancy. At our site we give you a lot of information on acupuncture and traditional medicine treatments for infertility, endometriosis, painful gynecologic disorders, and other problems which women may experience.
Time will prove that traditional methods of treatment like acupuncture will help to reduce the suffering of many types of disorders common in modern times, at a reasonable cost and risk-benefit ratio.
Dr. L.B. Grotte, M.D., was the first physician in Ohio to be board certified in both acupuncture and Chinese herbology. He has studied Oriental medicine since 1972 and has practiced Oriental medicine in Cleveland for more than 27 years. Our small practice specializes in creating individualized treatment plans combining Western and Oriental methods. Call us at 440-461-7488 to make an appointment or visit our website for more information.