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Cycle alterations and acupuncture

Acupuncture can help regulate an irregular menstrual cycle, reduce pain (dysmenorrhea) when it is a functional problem, and can resolve cases of prolonged absence of periods (stress amenorrhea, post-pill, etc.).


Many women live with an irregular cycle all their lives without this creating any problems for them; others, on the other hand, have very frequent or very sparse cycles, very abundant like bleeding or very scarce and very painful, or with spotting that lasts even 10-15 days a month and compromises the quality of life.

Physiologically, the menstrual cycle appears every 28 days (more or less 2), lasts about 4-5 days, has a bright red color, without clots. The onset is abrupt, without spotting and the symptoms are almost absent or only mild.

The menstrual cycle according to Traditional Chinese Medicine

As with all manifestations of life according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the menstrual cycle is also regulated by the alternation between Yin and Yang. It is interesting to investigate why there is a new perception of the physiology of women.

According to TCM, the menstrual cycle includes 5 stages:

  1. Phase I or Follicular Phase also known as Proliferative or low temperatureIt is a Yin Phase; it begins after menstruation and is reached between the 12th and 15th day and represents the phase in which the reproductive system prepares for a new cycle. In this phase the Yin is at its maximum and from this arises the Yang necessary to determine the next phase; moreover, the relative excess of Yin explains the whitish and stringy secretions and the temperature first drops and then 24-48 after ovulation it rises suddenly (formation of Yang ), to then enter the ovulatory and then luteal phase.
  2. Phase II or Phase of Ovulation and Transformation : as the Yin phase increases, it reaches its maximum which in fact corresponds, near ovulation, to a drop in temperature; at this point the Liver (as an energy lodge and not as an organ) is ready to begin the transformation of Yin energy (estrogen-mediated) into Yang (progestin phase). This excess of Yin manifests itself in the genital area with the release of transparent and stringy mucus; the temperature therefore undergoes a drop and then, after ovulation, rises above 37° in the following 24-48 hours. This rise in temperature corresponds to the rise of Yang. From a Western point of view the secretion of estrogen is such that the pituitary stops secreting FSH and begins to secrete LH, which stimulates the secretion of progesterone by the ovary which will secrete the egg cell, ready to be fertilized. At this point the ovary expels the egg into the abdominal cavity and the fimbriae capture it. This passage from the Yin phase to the Yang phase by the action of momentum and movement of the Liver is asymptomatic if there is a balance between energy and blood. If the energy is not sufficient to move the Yin component, then we will have pain which therefore corresponds to blood stasis; while the presence of swelling indicates Qi stagnation of liver. The condition for this phase to take place regularly is that sufficient Yin has accumulated for the transformation into Yang and therefore that there have been no problems in the previous phase.
  3. Phase III or Luteal Phase Yang Phase: it reaches its limit on the 14th day after ovulation. With the emission of the egg, the follicle transforms into the corpus luteum which secretes progesterone. This hormone governs the third phase called Hyperthermic or high temperature phase. Progesterone stimulates the peri-uterine vessels to supply the endometrium with more blood and again in this phase, in the first 5-7 days after ovulation, proteins appear on the surface of the endometrium capable of allowing the implantation of the egg. Throughout this phase the temperature remains high; this phase is governed by the Kidney Yang and from the energy of Spleen; a deficit of these two components is responsible for an alteration of this phase and their stimulation causes an increase in progesterone. If there is no pregnancy, no chorionic gonadotropin is formed, which is the messenger for the corpus luteum to continue producing progesterone, and therefore this undergoes a decrease with the programmed deterioration of the corpus luteum itself.
  4. Phase IV or Premenstrual Phase: if conception and implantation of the fertilized egg does not occur, the organism evolves towards the premenstrual phase. In this case the Yang energy evolves towards the Yin and the Liver takes care of directing this transformation. Depending on the individual constitution this phase lasts from 2 to 7 days. In this case the transition from Yang to Yin coincides with the cessation of progesterone production. The period begins with the collapse of basal temperature. For this transition to take place it is necessary that both blood and energy flow freely. If these energies are blocked, we will have premenstrual syndrome characterized by irritability, headache, insomnia, depression. Therefore, under the influence of Yang, Qi circulates within the body and manifests itself with the turgidity of the breasts and sometimes of the abdominal area. Vaginal secretions decrease precisely as a result of excess Yang. The temperature remains above 37° C. The basal temperature drops drastically in the 24 hours preceding menstruation.
  5. Phase V or Blood Phase: This phase begins on the first day of bleeding and does not include spotting; the temperature continues to drop. The first three days of the menstrual period are days in which hormone levels are uniformly low, after which they begin to rise.

To know more

The side effects of acupuncture are minimal and often absent: sometimes there is redness, slight bleeding in the insertion area, small bruises which resolve in a few days. The course is performed by me in Milan and Florence.

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For a medical consultation or gynecological visits you can contact me here or book online.

As an obstetric gynecologist I receive my patients every week in the offices of Milan and Florence.