Regulating an irregular period isn't a DIY activity. If you notice any significant changes to your cycle or stop getting a period, you should always consult with a board-certified ob-gyn. However, your irregular period might be something worth bringing up to your acupuncturist during a visit too, or perhaps even a reason to try acupuncture for the first time.
"Acupuncture is a natural and incredibly effective healing modality for women's health in every stage of life — from menstruation, to fertility, to postpartum, and menopause," Shari Auth, DACM, LAC, LMT, a licensed acupuncturist and WTHN cofounder, said.
Specifically, Auth said acupuncture has the potential to assist in regulating irregular periods because the technique helps regulate the Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Ovarian (HPO) axis, or "the feedback loop between the brain and the ovaries," which helps ovulation and your period occur on schedule. Acupuncture does this, she said, by normalizing the secretion of hormones, like the gonadotropin-releasing hormone, luteinizing hormone, and estradiol.
But having an irregular period is a personal experience in that its definition can mean a few different things. You might have a period that arrives every two weeks, or maybe it doesn't even show up some months.
To provide a personal acupuncture experience that really targets the individuals' concerns, Auth said that acupuncturists ask a series of questions to get to know their patients' issues.
"We do an intake where we really get to know our client and what's going on with them because Chinese medicine can help in a variety of ways, but we need to understand what's going on with the person in order to implement the right treatment for them," Auth said.
For example, the acupuncturist may ask about the length of your cycle, the color of your blood, how heavy or light your period is, if there's any blood clots, and even about your other PMS symptoms. "All these things mean something to us as Chinese medicine clinicians," Auth added.
Soma Mandal, MD, a board-certified internist and women's health specialist at Summit Health in New Jersey, said that while there are few studies to prove its effectiveness, acupuncture can be used to help with menstrual cycle regulation because the technique helps regulate hormones.
There can be many different causes behind an irregular period. For example, Dr. Mandal said that periods can be affected conditions and factors like:
Your treatment plan may be dependent on the root cause, so it's crucial that you check in with your ob-gyn for advice about any menstrual concerns.