Acupuncture is very effective for some common gynaecological disorders.
Endometriosis: Endometriosis is a condition in which endometrial cells grow outside of uterus. These misplaced tissues are mostly found on the ovaries and fallopian tubes and in the pelvic cavity etc. These cells respond to the ovaries hormonal cycles each month, but are inseparable from the tissues, which cause scarring and adhesions. Endometriosis does not always produce symptoms. When it does, it mainly causes pain, irregular menstrual bleeding and infertility. Many women experience period pain, intercourse pain and pelvic pain which is unrelated to menstruation and intercourse. Irregular menstruation, excessive bleeding and clot are common. About 50% infertile women suffer from endometriosis. There are different treatments available, such as pain relief, hormonal treatments and surgery etc. Some women may benefit from alternative medical treatments. Acupuncture reduces pain by producing endorphins. Acupuncture is proven an effective complementary management for endometriosis in patients with infertility. Acupuncture improves local circulation, balances hormonal levels, reduces inflammation and improves immune function. Recent studies showed that the ectopic tissues were reduced and the invasion of ectopic tissue to extracellular matrix was inhibited. The symptoms such as period pain, irregular menstruation and chronic pelvic pain in endometriosis were significantly improved.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): PCOS is a common endocrine disease in women. There are many small fluid-filled cysts in ovaries which referred to polycystic ovaries. The symptoms include absent or irregular period, infertility (About 20% women with infertility have PCOS) because of anovulation, excess hair on the body and acne. Acne could be treated with benzoyl peroxide and oral contraceptive pills. Metformin and clomifene are used to induce ovulation. Surgery may be necessary for the treatment. Assisted conception would be needed for women with infertility. Acupuncture may improve endocrine system function, regulate blood hormone levels and improve ovary ovulation. Acupuncture may also reduce the cyst size and numbers
Infertility: Acupuncture is a valuable therapy for female infertility.
Hormones required for fertility. There are three organs involved in hormone production in women: hypothalamus, pituitary gland and ovaries. We call them hypothalamus pituitary ovarian axis. Hypothalamus releases Gonadotrophine-releasing hormone (GnRH), which acts on the anterior pituitary gland to release follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and Luteinising hormone (LH). FSH stimulates oestrogen release from ovary, whereas LH stimulates progesterone secretion from the corpus luteum in ovary. Ostrogen has a negative feedback effect on pituitary gland reducing gonadotrophine secretion; Progesterone has a negative feedback effect on hypothalamus and pituitary gland, reducing LH releasing.
Key steps for fertility in women. Many ovarian follicles in ovaries in reproductive age women grow stimulated by FSH, but normally only one of them become mature and are released from the ovary each period cycle (we call it ovulation) triggered by LH. The egg released travels through a fallopian tube where fertilisation occurs when a sperm penetrating into the egg and then the fertilised egg will travel to the uterus and implant in inner lining of uterus where the fetus may grow. Thus pregnancy begins. If for any reasons, any of these factors are interrupted, it will result in infertility.
Women's infertility could be caused by many diseases, though some of it is without underlying causes or the underlying causes could not be found.
Causes of female infertility:
First of all, hormonal problem will cause anovulation. As we already know, hormones mentioned above are very important for fertility. Ovulation depends on the balance of these hormones; any disruption of the hormone balance can cause anovulation. These could be results of three levels: 1, Ovaries fail to produce mature eggs. In this case ovaries do not produce normal follicles causing immature eggs which cannot be ovulated. Polycystic ovary syndrome is the common condition of this category. 2, Hypothalamus does not function well. Hypothalamus is the start of hypothalamus-pituitary-ovarian axis. If hypothalamus fails to produce or release GnRH, the hormonal system will lose the balance, immature eggs will be produced. 3, Pituitary gland is not normal. FSH and LH produced by pituitary gland are very important hormones for egg development and maturation. Pituitary gland disorders will result in abnormal FSH and LH level causing ovulation problem.
Secondly, Scarred ovaries could lead to anovulation. For instance, surgery, endometriosis and pelvic infection might cause ovary scars in which case ovaries may fail to ovulate.
At last, other ovarian problems are responsible for anovulation, for example, premature ovarian failure.
Fallopian tube problems:
Fallopian tubes can become constant spasm, mild adhesions and complete blockage. One of the common causes for this is pelvic or abdominal infection that affects fallopian tubes. Other one is pelvic or abdominal surgery causing adhesions. The eggs cannot pass through the blocked tubes causing infertility.
Endometriosis causes infertility, because the overgrowth causes adhesion and it could scar ovaries, block fallopian tubes or disrupt egg implant in uterus, depending on where it grows.
Some uterus problems could result in infertility, such as fibroids, polyps probably because of obstruction of the uterus or fallopian tubes.
Cervical mucus problem:
Hormone imbalance, for instance, too little estrogen or too much progesterone causes abnormal cervical mucus which makes it harder to conceive.
Other risk factors:
Obesity is a growing issue in many countries. Body mass index (BMI) (kg/m2) is used for definition. According to world Health Organization (WHO) standard, a BMI of 18.5-24.9 is within a normal range; 25-29.9 is overweight and ≥30 is obese. Obesity has negative effects on many aspects of women’s health. Fertility is one of them. Obese women are more likely to experience infertility, they are more likely not to response to fertility treatment and there is high risk of miscarriage and low live birth rates. Obesity associates with infertility from the impact on many aspects. Previous studies have shown lower number of oocytes retrieved; poorer egg quality due to impaired oocyte maturation and fertilization; poorer embryo quality. The reasons for these are: obesity is related to alterations in various hormones, such as LH. In addition, obesity increases insulin, glucose, or free fatty acids and changes in some proteins. Obesity is also linked with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Systemic inflammation may contribute to the causes of infertility in obesity.
Obese women respond poorly to ovulation induction resulting in fewer oocytes harvested, they required higher doses of gonadotrophins and took longer to ovulate. They have lower pregnancy rates and increased risk of early pregnancy loss. Obesity is associated with a significant rise in failure in assisted reproduction. Weight loss makes menstrual cycles regular and increases the chance of spontaneous ovulation.
Drugs, such as chemotherapy drugs and anti-depressants may cause infertility.
Environmental factor: such as exposure to lead could compromise fertility.
Smoking, alcohol and stress are recognised as risk factors.
Age, Women's fertility is linked to age. After 35 year old, the fertility is declining significantly.
Dysmenorrhea: Dysmenorrhea or period pain is the most common gynaecological complaint among adolescent females. Lower abdominal chronic pain is the most common symptom accompanied with or without other symptoms such as headaches, nausea and vomiting. Typically symptoms occur at around the start of menstrual flow and last for the first 24-48 hours. Smoking may prolong the duration of the pain due to nicotine-induced vascular vessel constriction. The majority of the period pain is primary or functional, associated with normal ovulatory cycles without pelvic pathological changes and has a clear physiological etiology. The pain for primary period pain is caused by over-production of prostaglandins (PGs) and leukotrenes (LTs) within the endometrium after ovulation. PGs and LTs are inflammation modulators which cause myometrial contractions and vasoconstriction resulting in local tissue ischemia, which is involved in cramp pain.
Treatment for primary period pain is divided into two categoies: traditional (ie, medical and surgical) and alternative. Traditional approach includes nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which inhibit PG synthesis, combined oral contraceptives and long-acting hormonal therapies. Alternative approach is as follows: vitamins including vitamin E and B1, previous research suggested that vitamin E and B1 significantly reduce period pain through inhibition of PG synthesis; minerals such as magnesium; diet containing omega-3 fatty acids (such as fish) which lead to the uterine production of less potent PGs; transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulator; and last but not least, acupuncture. Acupuncture has analgesic effect. There was one study which investigated the effect of acupuncture in the treatment of primary period pain. The result showed significant difference of pain relief between acupuncture group and control group (without acupuncture). Acupuncture is very effective on primary period pain probably by regulating prostaglandin F2α (PGF2α) level in menstrual fluid and also regulating hormones related receptors.
Uterine fibroids: Uterine fibroids are most common benign tumours in uterine, occurring predominantly in middle or late reproductive ages in women. They may be asymptomatic or may cause series of symptoms, such as, irregular vaginal bleeding, heavy menstruation, severe period pain, intercourse pain, lower abdominal discomfort, lower back pain and urinary frequency and retention. They may also be a cause of infertility. They may interfere with embryo implantation and may cause miscarriage or premature labor during pregnancy.
The location of the tumour is an important factor of causing symptoms. Intramural fibroids are a most common type: they are located within the uterine smooth muscle wall either asymptomatic or causing symptoms, if they grow bigger. Submucosal fibroids are situated in the smooth muscle wall just underneath endometrial layer (inner layer) of the uterus, easily causing irregular vaginal bleeding. There are also two other types of fibroids: One type is subserosal fibroids growing under mucosal layer (outer layer) of the uterus, which can be very large without symptoms. The other uncommon type is cervical fibroids, found in the cervical wall. Transvaginal ultrasound, a non-invasive procedure is usually performed to diagnose the presence of uterine fibroids, which can be located and measured. Uterine fibroids could be single or multiple. Their growth is strongly stimulated by estrogen and prosgesterone. After menopause, the tumours shrink. Asymptomatic fibroids do not need treatments, however, intolerable symptoms do need to be treated. Medications are employed to control the symptoms and shrink the tumours, such as, danazol. Surgeries such as myomectomy and hysterectomy are applied to remove the fibroids. Apart from these methods of treatments, acupuncture is an effective method to reduce symptoms, such as vaginal bleeding, lower abdominal pain and lower back pain and it also makes the tumours shrink or vanish. Acupuncture is effective in treatment of uterine fibroids by regulating the pituitary gland, the thyroid gland system and the central nervous system.
Primary ovarian insufficiency (Premature ovarian failure): The ovary is unique in the female endocrine system in which follicle is developed every month and matured egg is released. Ovary produces sex steroids, which are necessary for development of reproductive organs and maintaining bone density and general health. Regular monthly menstruation after ovulation is an indication of healthy ovarian function. Menopause, permanent cessation of menses occurs at age of around 50. If menopause occurs before age 40, this is considered to be premature, called primary ovarian insufficiency which is a subclass of ovarian dysfunction. The main symptoms of this disorder are amenorrhoea for at least 4 months, sex steroid hormone deficiency and high follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). It is worth mentioning that about 50% of women with primary ovarian insufficiency have intermittent ovarian function causing irregular menses, instead of complete amenorrhea. Symptoms of estrogen deficiency are at present in many, but not all patients, which include vasomotor symptoms (hot flashes and night sweats), sleep disturbance, and intercourse pain due to vaginal dryness. Many causes lead to secondary amenorrhea, of which the polycystic ovary syndrome, hypothalamic amenorrhea, hyperprolactinemia are three main causes. Hormone-replacement is first line therapy which physiologic estrogen and progestin are given to patients until the age when menopause usually occurs. Patients should take a pregnancy test if a menstrual period is late and therapy should be stopped, if the pregnancy test is positive. Oral contraceptive is another option. Calcium and vitamin D are recommended for maintaining healthy bone. Acupuncture help restoring body hormone balance by acting through meridian.
Dysfunctional irregular uterine bleeding or heavy period: This is a common condition in women's clinic which is caused by six hormonal level changes. The symptoms include heavy bleeding, prolonged bleeding days (more than 7 day), irregular cycles (shorted than 21 days or longer than 35 days. Anemia may occur because of losing too much blood. Underlying pathological conditions must be excluded before the diagnosis has been made. Acupuncture is effective to normalise uterine bleeding and improve full blood court.
Chronic pelvic inflammation: Pelvic inflammatory disease is the infection and inflammation of the female upper genital tract, one of the most common diseases in reproductive age women, which associates with infertility, ectopic pregnancy and chronic pelvic pain. A broad spectrum antibiotic should be first considered. Acupuncture is very effective for treatment of chronic pelvic inflammation by relieving the pain, anti inflammation and improvement of local circulation.
Menopausal syndrome: Menopause is caused by falling levels of estrogen and progesterone in women at the end of reproductive age, which produces a series of symptoms including hot flushes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, mood swings, insomnia, fatigue, irritability, anxiety, depression, heart palpitations, joint pain and osteoporosis. Hormone replacement therapy (HRP) is one option of treatments to reduce physical symptoms associated with menopause and avoid the conditions from estrogen-deficiency. But many researchers reported that long-term use of HRP causes serious adverse effects such as thrombosis, stroke and breast cancer etc. which limited HRP application. There indeed has been increased interest in alternative and complementary medicine such as acupuncture which has far less side effects. A number of studies showed the effects of acupuncture in the treatment of premenstrual syndrome, for example for hot flushes. One study published in the journal Acupuncture in Medicine by Turkish’s researchers showed that acupuncture group with acupuncture twice a week for ten weeks significantly improved the hot flushes and mood swings symptoms compared to the control group. Another study by Norway researchers reported improvement in frequency and intensity of hot flushes both by night and by day with acupuncture for 12 weeks.
Acupuncture is used for treating women’s reproductive health conditions as mentioned above. In Australia and New Zealand, three areas of women's reproductive health were commonly treated with acupuncture: treating gynaecological health, treating pregnancy conditions, and fertility conditions. The most commonly treated gynaecological conditions were premenstrual syndrome, menopause and primary dysmenorrhea. Other applications include treating general fertility not related to assisted reproduction, treatment for a diagnosed fertility related conditions, and to decrease infertility related stress. The most common pregnancy related conditions treated with acupuncture were nausea, back or pelvic pain, and prebirthlabour preparation.
Zhou and Qu. Afr.J.Trad. CAM (2009) 6: 494-517
Balen AH and Jacobs HS (2003). Infertility in Practice
Sanfilippo J and Erb T Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology (2008), 51:257-267
Lawrence M. Nelson (2009), N Engl J Med, 360:606-614
Lim CE and Wong WS.Gynecol Endocrinol. 2010, 26:473-8.
Pandey S, etc J Hum Reprod Sci. (2010)3:62-7.
Scott H. etc J Assist Reprod Genet (2011) 28:517–524
Smith CA et al Complement Ther Med (2014) 22:710-8
Welcome to my blog
Acupuncture specialist for Fertility, Facial rejuvenation, Pain relief, Fatigue.
Based at Harley Street and Kensington Central London.Qualified as a medical doctor in Western medicine in China with a Medical degree from Beijing, China and a PhD degree from the UK. Over 25 year research and clinical experiences
Doctor who is passionate about acupuncture
I love what I do, I am good at it and I am always there for my patients. If you come and see me, you will know why I am standing out.
This blog is to introduce latest development and research of acupuncture and offer a chance of awareness of more treatment options for your condition. The blog is for information purpose only.
- My specialised areas include fertility, facial rejuvenation, acne, vulvodynia, various pain conditions, chronic fatigue, neurological conditions, digestive problems
Practice contact for appointments and addresses
Kensington: for appointments at Anamaya center Kensington (Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays) please call at 02030110355 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Address: 1 Adam and Eve Mews, Kensington, London W8 6UG
2 min walk from High Street Kensington underground stationHarley Street: for appointments at Harley Street (Wednesdays) please call ALO clinic at 02076368845 or email at email@example.comAddressSuite 3 Harmont House20 Harley Street, London W1G 9PH5 min walk from Oxford Circus underground stationMy background: I became a qualified medical doctor 25 years ago in Western medicine in China and was well trained in Western medicine together with Chinese medicine in the best Medical University in Beijing, China. Particularly I was trained with Ji-sheng Han famous professor and neuroscientist in China and with Dr Zheren Xuan--famous orthopedics expert and founder of soft tissue surgery in China. Furthermore I had training in dermatology and oral and maxilofacial surgery in China. Also I had training in fertility and had research experiences in uterine smooth muscles and blood vessels in China and the UK. I am dedicated to treat patients with acupuncture and am recognised as one of the world leading acupuncture specialists.
I obtained a PhD degree in the University of Leeds in the UK.
I had post doctoral training and worked as a senior researcher in St George's hospital, London, UK.
I had frequently presented my research findings in the top international conferences in the field.
I have many publications including ebooks and articles.
I have many year clinical experiences. Over the years of practising, I have developed unique treatment approaches for infertility, skin aging, acne, vulvodynia, bladder pain, neck pain, headache, migraine, shoulder pain, back pain, fatigue, hot flushes, nerve pain, chronic prostatitis, insomnia, Parkison's disease, MS, acid reflex, IBS etc to achieve best treatment results.My devotion and skills are highly praised by my patients.
Facial acupuncture Facial rejuvenation Acne treatment
Know your ovary to get pregnant
Know fertility and acupuncture to get pregnant
Vulvodynia, is vulval pain in your mind
Energy fatigue and acupuncture
Headaches, Neck pain and shoulder pain