Questions? Concerns? Something you'd love to see here? Let us know!

CONTACT us

© 2019 by Womens Health Hotline. All rights reserved. Proudly created with Wix.com

  • White Instagram Icon

Frequently asked questions

Q: Does Acupuncture balance hormones?

 

A: Acupuncture is a great option for balancing hormones. It's noninvasive, has little to no side effects, and is often described as providing a “sense of euphoria” by patients. Some research has shown that acupuncture has some modulating effects on the neuro-endocrine-immune network which has been determined to be the body's inherent regulatory system. These three systems are the biological basis of how the body maintains homeostasis. So when you hear an Acupuncturist refer to your body

:being 'out of balance' they are essentially referring to a dysregulation of these systems.

 

Since we are talking about hormones, let's get into the effect of acupuncture on the endocrine system specifically. Some of you may be right here with me while others might be wondering 'what the heck IS the endocrine system?'. Totally fair question. Think back to health class, all I remember is my teacher putting a condom on a banana as we all squirmed in our chairs with both glee and terror. and many other things. Safe to say it's pretty important and we want it working like a well-oiled machineAny introduction to sexual physiology whizzed over my head. The endocrine system is a crew of glands that produce hormones that regulate metabolism, growth and development, sexual function, reproduction, sleep, mood .

 

There have been many recent studies on acupuncture's effect on the Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis, Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Gonadal (HPG) axis and the Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Thyroid (HPT) axis (All important parts of the endocrine system). These studies have shown that acupuncture can reduce stress hormone levels, regulate levels of estrogen, follicular stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH) and hypothalamic gonadotropin releasing hormone restoring the balance of the Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Ovary (HPO) axis.

 

The stimulation of acupuncture points transmits a signal to the peripheral nerves (the ones farther from your brain) and body fluid thus starting a game of telephone up to the hypothalamus. These signals then tell the hypothalamus what glands or hormones need more regulation, with the ultimate goal of bringing your body 'back into balance'.

 

Although the acupuncture field has come a long way in terms of research there is still a lot of unknowns, and therefore not many resources explaining how it works. Here are a few places that you can get more information.

 

Want to Learn More? Check these resources out:

Direct links are found on the Resources page

The Treatment of Infertility with Chinese Medicine

by Jane Lyttleton

The Infertility Cure: Ancient Chinese Wellness Program for Getting Pregnant and Having Babies

by: Randine Lewis

 

 

Don't See your Question?

we'll use whatever resources we can to help point you in the right direction. If your question makes it to our faq page, names & details will be changed to keep you anonymous. or, if you're more comfortable, feel free to use a fake name!

Q:What causes hormonal imbalances at a young age?

A: Hormonal imbalances of different types can occur at any age for a number of reasons. If we’re talking sex hormones (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, etc.), the two expected periods of time in a female’s life where there will be imbalances are during puberty and the onset of menopause. A third potential time is during pregnancy. Those times aside, there are a number of health conditions that exists that can cause imbalances in female sex hormones, such as in PCOS (which is characterized by higher-than-normal levels of androgens, a sex hormone type that includes testosterone).

 

Sex hormone imbalances can include too low or high estrogen, testosterone, or progesterone. Hormone balance is connected to a number of things, including how your body is handling and reacting to stress, exercise, the food you eat, medication use, and the toxins in your environment. How this impacts our hormones happens in different ways. For example, stress leads to an increase in the stress hormone cortisol, which causes a lag in the creation of our other hormones (especially progesterone). Another example is the use of hormonal birth control, which halts the production of your sex hormones, an effect that lead to hormonal imbalances even after discontinuing use.

 

Estrogen dominance (aka high levels of estrogen compared to its hormone “partner” progesterone) is a popular topic these days. The connection between exogenous (aka environmental) hormones and their potential effects on human hormones is currently being explored in research, and chemicals and food/plant compounds that can mimic or act like estrogens in our body are key players in these studies.

 

Phytoestrogens, named because of their similarity to estrogen, for example, occur naturally in plants such as soy, alfalfa, and red clover. These phytoestrogens are functionally similar to estrogen, and research is being conducted in their potential role in issues such as: relief of menopausal symptoms, exacerbation of estrogen dominance symptoms, early puberty, and a protective effect on breast tissue and bones, to name a few.

 

When it comes to potentially negative effects on hormones, the big debate currently revolves around environmental causes. This includes, for example, the hormone interfering effect (coined endocrine disruptors) of BPA or Bisphenol A, which is used to make soft, flexible plastics. Studies have shown BPA to interact with estrogen receptors, and this influence on hormones has led to it’s connection in pathologies such as: affecting fertility of both males and females, early puberty and menarche in females, a promoting effect on hormone-dependent cancers such as breast and prostate, and metabolic disorders such as PCOS and diabetes.

 

Other areas of life where endocrine disruptors may potentially be found are cleaning products, personal care products (like makeup, perfume, face wash, etc.), water, and food sprayed with pesticides and herbicides. Hormone exposure is also possible through ingesting animal products from animals exposed to hormonal drugs, of which we currently have a limited understanding on how these drugs and active metabolites affect us. However, research does appear to show an influence on our hormones. For example, studies on the consumption of foods containing high amounts of estrogen (like milk and cheese) and a connection between increased development of hormone-dependent cancers. As research goes on, we’ll continue to learn more and more.


 

References:

  • Walters, K. A. (2016). Androgens in polycystic ovary syndrome: lessons from experimental models. Current Opinion in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Obesity, 23(3), 257-263.

  • Sirotkin, A. V., & Harrath, A. H. (2014). Phytoestrogens and their effects. European journal of pharmacology, 741, 230-236.

  • Konieczna, A., Rutkowska, A., & Rachon, D. (2015). Health risk of exposure to Bisphenol A (BPA). Roczniki Państwowego Zakładu Higieny, 66(1).

  • Horan, T. S., Pulcastro, H., Lawson, C., Gerona, R., Martin, S., Gieske, M. C., ... & Hunt, P. A. (2018). Replacement bisphenols adversely affect mouse gametogenesis with consequences for subsequent generations. Current Biology, 28(18), 2948-2954.

  • Fenichel, P., Chevalier, N., & Brucker-Davis, F. (2013, July). Bisphenol A: an endocrine and metabolic disruptor. In Annales d'endocrinologie (Vol. 74, No. 3, pp. 211-220). Elsevier Masson.

  • Jargin, S. V. (2014). Soy and phytoestrogens: possible side effects. GMS German Medical Science, 12.

  • Fortes, É. M., Malerba, M. I., Luchini, P. D., Sugawara, E. K., Sumodjo, L., Ribeiro Neto, L. M., & Verreschi, I. T. (2007). High intake of phytoestrogens and precocious thelarche: case report with a possible correlation. Arquivos Brasileiros de Endocrinologia & Metabologia, 51(3), 500-503.

  • Zung, A., Glaser, T., Kerem, Z., & Zadik, Z. (2008). Breast development in the first 2 years of life: an association with soy-based infant formulas. Journal of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition, 46(2), 191-195.

  • Gasnier, C., Dumont, C., Benachour, N., Clair, E., Chagnon, M. C., & Séralini, G. E. (2009). Glyphosate-based herbicides are toxic and endocrine disruptors in human cell lines. Toxicology, 262(3), 184-191.

  • Nachman, K. E., & Smith, T. J. (2015). Hormone use in food animal production: assessing potential dietary exposures and breast cancer risk. Current environmental health reports, 2(1), 1-14.

 

Want to Learn More? Check these resources out:

Direct links are found on the Resources page

Don't see your Question? Submit one below, or email us!

Ask Away!