Recent clinical studies of Acupuncture for Premature Ovarian Failure have found that acupuncture may be an effective treatment for this condition. Patients with this condition lose normal ovarian function before age 40. The research indicates that acupuncture can stimulate the recovery of normal estrogen production. Also tracked were effectiveness of acupuncture in balancing hormones, alleviating menopausal symptoms and reducing stress and anxiety. Some of these studies also used Chinese herbal medicine, in addition to acupuncture for Premature Ovarian Failure.
What is Premature Ovarian Failure?
Premature ovarian failure is estimated to affect 200,000 women per year in the United States. The symptoms of premature ovarian failure are similar to menopause and can include: skipped periods, hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, irritability and decreased sexual desire. This condition can be associated with other diseases and health conditions. Premature ovarian failure can affect teenagers and is a very traumatic diagnosis for young people. Studies have indicated that women and teens have a lot of anxiety and stress related to this diagnosis. Premature ovarian failure causes infertility. Currently the only treatment is use of hormone replacement therapy
How does acupuncture treat this condition?
Chinese medicine has its own system of differential diagnosis that is different than Western medicine. Based on patterns of symptoms and signs, patients with premature ovarian failure may have different Chinese medical diagnoses that require different treatment plans. This method of individualizing treatment is unique and can provide benefits for difficult to treat conditions. Three main treatment methods were used in the studies, based on this diferential diagnosis:
- Kidney yin deficiency, spleen qi and blood deficiency
- Liver qi stagnation, liver blood deficiency with heat
- Blood stagnation in the uterus
The frequency of acupuncture treatment may be the key to success for this condition. In these studies, women were treated three times a week for 3 months before normal menstruation was restored. Chinese herbal therapy should be used in addition to acupuncture, for optimal results.
Clinical Studies on Acupuncture for Premature Ovarian Failure
In these clinical studies, the researchers used blood levels for follicle stimulating hormone, estrogen and luteinizing hormone to track progress in treating Premature Ovarian Failure. At the end of the study, they found that FSH and LH levels had decreased, while estrogen levels had increased. In one study, the acupuncture group showed 89% effectiveness while the medication group showed only 64% effectiveness.
Acupuncture points used are summarized below, but treatment should always be individualized for the patient’s presenting pattern.
- GV20 (Baihui)
- GV24 (Shenting)
- GB13 (Benshen)
- CV3 (Zhongji)
- CV4 (Guanyuan)
- BL23 (Shenshu)
- BL32 (Ciliao)
- ST25 (Tianshu)
- ST28 (Shuidao)
- ST29 (Guilai)
- ST36 (Zusanli)
- SP6 (Sanyinjiao)
- KD3 (Taixi)
- LV3 (Taichong)
Conclusion: Acupuncture for Premature Ovarian Failure
There are currently no effective medical treatments to reverse Premature Ovarian Failure. Based on these studies, women may consider acupuncture for Premature Ovarian Failure, as well as Chinese herbal medicine, as part of their treatment protocol.
Chen Y, Fang Y, et al. (2014). Effect of acupuncture on premature ovarian failure: a pilot study. Evid Based Complement Alternate Medicine. 2014:718675.
Li Qin Zhao (2011). The Treatment of premature ovarian failure using TCM. Chinese Medicine Times. Vol 6 Issue 2.
Sha Gui E., Zhao Wenmin, Ma Renhai (1999). Acupuncture Treatment of premature ovarian failure using 76 clinical cases. Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion. Vol 4, 199-201.