Preparing to conceive – a regular menstrual cycle

One of the things mentioned a lot in a traditional Chinese medicine gynecology textbook, including the chapter on fertility, is the term “Regulating the Cycle”. What this refers to is the ideal of a 28 day menstrual cycle (give or take a few days), and a regular ovulation occurring around the middle of that cycle. This is one of the first aims of much TCM treatment of gynecological disorders. A regular menstrual cycle is an indication of good ovary function and good hormone balance.

Schedule: acupuncture once a week for 3 cycles.

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Irregular periods (or oligomenorrhoea)

Most patients notice that when they have acupuncture their menstrual cycles become more regular, and their ovulation is more easily detected. This indicates the hypothalamus, pituitary and ovary glands are communicating well with each other.

No periods (or amenorrhoea)

Women who have no periods, and no ovulation, sometimes respond well to acupuncture depending on the cause and the duration of the disorder.
Amenorrhoea that results from stress, excessive exercise, travel, drug use or weight loss (called hypothalamic amenorrhoea) may respond to acupuncture if the condition has not lasted for too many years, (and with appropriate behavioural or diet modification).

Amenorrhoea that results from ovaries shutting down (called premature ovarian failure) responds in some cases, but in others not. In some cases, the ovaries will recover for a short time, and there may be some ovulations but a regular cycle is not often achieved in the long term. However some of these patients conceive in that short window.

(Lack of ovulation related to PCOS is discussed in the PCOS section)