Acupuncture for Regulating Periods and Hypothyroidism

by Rohini
(Columbus,OH)

Hi Amelia,
I started having irregular periods in 2007 and then suddenly in June of 2007 I had a period for the whole month that lasted 30 days. After all tests, it was concluded I had Hypothyroidism with a TSH of 16.

I was immediately put on Synthroid 50mcg and my levels came within the normal range. My dose was increased to 75 mcg and since then the range was always normal. At the same time, I was also put on BCP to regulate my periods. I had periods regularly then but because of the birth control pill.

After that in 2009 April I stopped my pills to get pregnant, but I didn't get my period naturally. Two months went by, my doctor put me on Progesterone pills and I got a period. The progesterone pills continued for the continuing cycles too, since I wasn't getting my periods naturally.

In October I was put on Clomid. I ovulated exactly on the 12th day and on the 28th day I had my period. All 3 cycles of Clomid made me ovulate and have my period like clockwork, but I didn't conceive.

My Progesterone levels were checked on the 21st day of my cycle and they were 22 something, so that was normal. I got my thyroid checked during Clomid cycles and found out it had gone up. The TSH was 3 or 4, but the doctor said that was still normal. Interestingly, the doctor said that wasn't the case earlier. Maybe Clomid caused a rise in TSH? My dosage has since been upped to 100 mcg and this week I will check if my thyroid is regulated once again.

But since OVULATION did happen because of Clomid I thought my body is triggered again for ovulation. Hence I thought I should try alternative therapy to induce ovulation naturally and get my cycles back on track and then hopefully conceive. I do have a good balanced , healthy diet and I have never smoked or consumed alcohol.

I started doing acupuncture recently for 3 cycles. Initially, it was gonna be twice a week and then once a week. My doctor will check my thyroid and will adjust my dose if required. My OB-GYN has already done some blood tests for prolactin etc and said they were all normal. He also did an HSG and my tubes are also clear and my uterus in perfect shape.

So do you think Acupuncture combined with good diet and lifestyle will help me regulate my cycles in spite of the hypothryoidism? My Acu doc hasn't given me any herbs. I am drinking "Female Toner Tea" from Traditional Medicines company once a day, which I bought in local grocery store. My Acu doc puts needles only on my hands and legs. Is that sufficient? He didn't give me dietary recommendations either. Should I be concerned?

Should I go to an RE to check my full endocrine system? Can you suggest what I need to do now or should I just wait and watch for few more acupuncture sessions? I am feeling good because of acupuncture and feel less anxious also but I want to be going in the right direction.

I forgot to mention I do BBT also and am well versed with it to recognize my ovulation pattern because of the perfect clomid cycles. I am on cycle day 13 and hoping Acupuncture helps me this cycle. Please HELP!
Thanks,
Rohini

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Hormonal Imbalances and HP Axis Dysregulation
by: Amelia Hirota

Hi Rohini,
Thank you for your question and for sharing your story. In my opinion, your situation is the classic way that hormonal imbalances are addressed in our medical system. Too much intervention!

Putting you on Synthroid for a TSH of 16 and a month of menstrual bleeding is perfectly logical. However, if hypothyroidism was believed to be the problem, why add more hormones like BCP to drive the menstrual cycle? If we could go back in time, I would eliminate the BCP and see how your body did on the Synthroid alone.

The problem with BCP is they confuse the inherent communication between your pituitary, hypothalamus and ovaries. Your body is being told that it's pregnant and it shouldn't ovulate and then progesterone is given and stopped to bring on the period. This is very disruptive to the body's natural rhythms and one of the causes of HP (hypothalamic-pituitary) axis dysregulation.

It's not surprising that after 2 years on BCP that you failed to get your period. It's a lot to ask for the body to run the menstrual cycle again after it's been controlled with drugs for 2 years. From your dates, it sounds like you gave your body about 6 months before going on Clomid. It can take a year or longer to restore the menstrual cycle after being on The Pill.

Again, Clomid ignores the body's hormonal signals and instead attempts to create it's own idea of a cycle. Clomid has one goal and that is to create a lot of follicles. A woman's body is a complicated, well choreographed dance of hormones. Pharmaceutical drugs like Clomid can hardly attempt to mimic the complexity of a menstrual cycle. Clomid can make the body make multiple follicles and that's about it!

You mention that your cycles were like clockwork on Clomid, but while a BBT chart might look good, if you were able to see the dance of hormones and how they were interacting, you might understand why you didn't conceive. Also, it takes 13 menstrual cycles to recruit a follicle from the primordial state and therefore the eggs that were ovulated while on Clomid may not have been truly mature.

It sounds like you have good dietary and lifestyle habits, which will make for a good foundation as you embark on this more natural approach. Your acupuncture treatments sound fine. It would be a very good sign if you start menstruating on your own. Also, if your BBT looks good, that is another good sign.

I wouldn't contact an RE at this point. I think that you've been put through enough invasive drugs for now. It's important to give your body the chance to find balance. I wonder if there was a stressful event that proceeded the month long uterine bleeding? It sounds like something put your thyroid over the edge.

Lastly, I would advise you to be patient with your body. It has been through a lot. It takes a while for a follicle to mature properly when not rushed by drugs. Give your ovaries the chance to perform on their own. Best of luck to you!

Sending Baby Dust Your Way,
Amelia Hirota

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