Acupuncture for Fertility (Amenorrhea)

It’s been about a month now since I began my twice a week acupuncture treatments and I feel like there has been some progress.  About 2 weeks in my doc put me on some herbs as well that work very well with the treatments themselves.  The herbs come in a powdered form that taste, well, like poop.  I got this capsule maker which has made taking the herbs A LOT better!  Now I don’t have to taste them and it’s not too much effort to fill the veggie caps and bottle them up.  I can tell a difference in my digestion which has improved even more, and my very favorite of all….I’M NOT FREEZING ALL THE TIME ANYMORE!!!!  This is a big deal.  Girls, you know what I’m talking about.  It’s a drag.  Don’t get me wrong, I get cold, but I do not get cold so easily when others around me are not, and my hands and feet too have warmed up.  Even when the rest of me felt warm they typically stayed colder.  I am also getting cramps.  I’ve never been excited about cramps until now.  Nothing to show for yet, but at least I am feeling something.  Considering these things can take a long time, I consider that a victory after just a month (even though it feels a lot longer!).

Other than the treatments and herbs, I’ve been really good about my diet too.  Now, I have been good about my diet for a long time–but it wasn’t the kind of diet my body wanted.  Not everyone should be vegan.  Not everyone should go Paleo. Not everyone should eat raw broccoli (I’m talking about thyroid issues for that one).  We are told that many foods and diet methods are universally healthy.  That’s true in the sense that yes, they contain lots of beneficial vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, or make someone who needs to lose some weight take it off, but that doesn’t mean our body will like it.  So how do we know?  Listen.  It’s easy to dish out advice and it’s equally easy to be convinced what we need when ‘majority rules’ or a reputable source is telling us so (um, hello food pyramid–NO!).  Nobody on the other hand can tell you how you feel.  That’s unique.  And it’s good.  So listen.  When you get bloated after eating something, it didn’t work for you.  It also could have been the quantity, no the food itself.  Be honest, did you eat too much?  These are methods I have used myself, and learned even more how it can work when we’re not stubborn about it.  I will be honest, I knew ice cold smoothies in the morning wasn’t right for my body.  I knew that eating heaps of raw salads was not serving me.  They’re so yummy and healthy, but were aggravating my already cold body and very thin frame.  I didn’t eat enough fat.  Yes, I’d have almonds, avocado, and other healthy nuts and seeds, but at the end of the day I wasn’t totaling enough for the estrogen levels I needed to be at.  Why did I ignore it?  Because I liked the way I looked at thought that if I altered the way I ate I’d pack on the pounds.  I have now gained about 6 pounds, starting at the weight of 95.  I am 5’3″ with a small frame, and while some people can be around that weight to get their cycles, I cannot.  Which circles right back to eating right for your body–some people can have ice cold smoothies every day forever and they thrive never feeling better!  That’s great!  Just like with foods, not everyone can be at one particular size or weight to get their cycles and conceive a baby.

If you are wondering what Amenorrhea is stated in the title of this post, it’s the absence of a woman’s cycles.  There are two types: Primary and Secondary.  Primary is the absence of a cycle in the first place (in adolescence) and Secondary is what comes later in life; you’ve already have your cycle for years and it goes away, either irregularly or entirely.  This can be from stress, low BMI (not enough body fat, or too much exercise.  Mine was caused mostly from a low BMI (around 17% body fat).

Today I am a little frustrated,  but most days I’m completely fine and excited if nothing else.  I’m still very confident that this will happen with consistency and indulging in life’s greatest pleasures: family, friends, and (healthy for me) food. 🙂

Day #1 of Fertility Treatments

What I’m about to talk about is different to the questions, answers (suggestions), and recipes that you will normally find on Ask Leah Renee.  Since I have this blog, I thought it would be a good way to broaden the criteria in a way that may then broaden my audience, connecting with others who may be going through the very same thing I am. I love to help and love to be helped, which is why I’ve decided to share this experience.  Today was the first day of what will be a twice a week visit to a Doctor of Acupuncture in order to help me get my body become fertile and functioning the way it should.  The mission is to get my cycles back, and then regular, in order to get pregnant.

Unfortunately, since the time I first began menstruating, I have had a fairly unpredictable cycle.  I have been on and off the pill since age 14 for cysts on my ovaries which is what western medicine prescribes to help that issue.  Most recently I have been on the pill again for the past 2.5 years, going off of it in January in hopes of becoming pregnant in 2014.  As I suspected, and like the previous 5 years up to starting the pill again, I have not had a cycle yet.  My gynecologist gave me the option and suggested shots of hCG and going on Clomid which he said has been very successful.  I do not doubt that to be true, but I thought there’s got to be an underlying factor.  I almost went that route, but opted to go the natural way since I wanted to get the core of why my body is not functioning the way it should anyway.  Not to mention, while I think it’s great to integrate both Eastern and Western practices, Eastern practices take time to find the reason the body is doing what it’s doing–not only prescribe and treat.

Today was my first visit with the Acupuncturist who is also certified as a Nurse Practitioner and has over 20 years of medical experience.  She is very passionate about what she does.  It shows and I’m so happy to have found her.  Reading all the testimonials I am confident that together we will make this happen!  I have been to other Acupuncturists before, and already I can see that this one is different.  She diagnosed me by looking at my tongue to see where the abnormalities were, as well as asking me a series of questions, ones it seemed she already knew the answers to as the questions themselves were so specific.  The term that’s most familiar (in western medicine) for my condition is called amenorrhea.   In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), I have Spleen Qi deficiency, Liver Qi stagnation, and Kidney essence deficiency.  That all means that I have stagnation, of the blood, which needs to be freed up in order for everything to start functioning normally again.

There are some diet guidelines to follow to help with the deficiencies.  She also gave me a recipe for “Blood Soup” to make to raise hemoglobin.  I will post that recipe and other dietary guidelines soon!

I am excited the process has begun, and hope to soon join many of my friends who have had the gift and pleasure of giving life.  I will continue to post on this topic as I go through the sessions!

If you have gone through something similar or know someone who has, I would love to hear from you!