Hormones are little messengers that play a critical role in driving your body. When they are balanced, you stay happy, healthy and focused. The moment they lose balance, problems start surfacing. Though both the genders are affected by hormonal imbalance, the problem is more visible in women. Through the years as an acupuncturist, I have seen recurring signs and symptoms in female patients. Among all, pain is the most repeated one. Be it trying to conceive, trying to get cycle back after labor, or period, women face painful situation in every phase of their lives. Hormones are the main cause for the pain. The symptoms of hormonal imbalance in women might look ordinary to you, I think the perspective is quite alarming, and need attention to be rectified.
Causes of Pain
Inflammation is body’s defense mechanism to protect it against physical injury or infection. However, chronic inflammation is the result of an abnormal condition that is associated with disease or poor health. Women experience higher levels of inflammation compared to men due to stress, emotional constraints, hectic lifestyle, and several other factors. It is also believed that women face the issue of inflammation during and after menopause. The inflamed area is most likely to pain during and after touching. Inflammation also leads to release of chemicals that stimulate nerve endings, and make the area more sensitive.
High levels of estrogens
Estrogen is the hormone that initiates sexual development in females. There’s a possibility that the body might produce high level of hormone on its own, but certain medications can also result in excessive production of estrogen. When there’s an imbalance between estrogen and testosterone levels in the body, it could lead to swelling and tenderness in breasts, headache, and pain in other parts of the body.
Reduced blood production
Women, specifically in childbearing years, are susceptible to iron-deficiency and reduced blood production. The blood loss from menstruation and increase in the blood supply demand during pregnancy are the two major factors that lower the blood production level in body, and also cause pain.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
PID is an infection in female reproductive organs. It is caused when a sexually transmitted bacteria spreads from vagina to uterus, ovaries, or fallopian tubes. The disease often has no signs or symptoms. It can, however, cause chronic pelvic pain in later years.
A painful disorder in which the tissue lining the inside of uterus grows outside. Pelvic pain is the primary symptom of the problem, which is often confused with menstrual period cramps. The pain is, however, worse than usual and increases over time. Women with endometriosis often find the intercourse painful, have pain during urination, and excessive bleeding during periods.
What’s the Cure?
While conditions like PID and Endometriosis need a specific course of treatment, others can be treated by bringing certain changes in lifestyle. Here’s what I suggest to my patients to reduce and eliminate the pain.
- Increase activities and exercise. If possible, incorporate High-intensity-training (HIT) at least three-four times every week. Make sure that every session is at least 45 minutes long.
- Make sure that your body gets ample Vitamin E. For that, expose yourself to natural sunlight every day. If you want to derive more benefits, try meditation and Qigong and breathing exercises every morning.
- Eliminate processed foods from your diet to reduce inflammation in your body. I suggest patients to have an app to track what they eat. Seed, an app from Apple Store is my personal favorite as it not only helps in regulating cycle days, but also helps patient from naturopathic view point.
- Get adequate sleep. In case you have trouble getting sound sleep, acupuncture could help calm the restless mind. Pair the therapy with Magnesium Zinc, and Pyridoxine, and it will also boost your mood, and muscle repair. Foods such as oysters, eggs, dark chocolate, turkey, chicken, and dark leafy greens are often helpful in dealing with PMS and infertility.
The Bottom Line
Hormones can affect female physiology related to aerobic, joint hypermobility, strength, lean body mass, and bone mineral density. Acupuncture when combined with Chinese Medicine can help cope up with the problem of hormonal imbalance in women while promoting health and wellness.