Have you ever experienced a life changing illness and been told that the only treatment option you had was to take pills for the rest of your life? I know I have and it was quite discouraging at first but I didn’t give up. I want to tell my story of how acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been helping me heal, in hopes that it will be inspirational to others with a similar experience.
When I was in my mid-twenties, I lost my period. It started out with my menses being irregular for about a year coupled with hot flashes and irritability – then it eventually stopped. I have spent the past few years exploring Western medicine options and taking every test under the sun. Unfortunately, not one of them has been able to explain the cause or provide direction to a sustainable treatment. The results of these tests showed that my hormone levels were completely imbalanced for my age. My follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) levels were so high they were at a perimenopausal level and my estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone levels were immeasurably low. Plus, there was barely an ovarian follicle left. Clinically, I was diagnosed with amenorrhea and premature ovarian failure. As I had previously mentioned, the doctors couldn’t identify the cause and said my only treatment option was to do hormone replacement therapy for the rest of my menstruating years. I was absolutely devastated and refused to accept that this was my only choice. After multiple conversations with my gynecologist, she finally said that there had been a lot of empirical based research showing the success of using acupuncture and Chinese herbs to balance hormones. I was thrilled that there was another option yet intimidated by the thought of inserting needles into my body – but it turned out to be very pleasant and relaxing. In fact, it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made for myself! During my initial evaluation, the practitioner was able to identify the root cause which turned out to be unresolved emotions and stress. She recommended the combination of a customized herbal formula along with regular acupuncture sessions for three to four months, among a few nutritional and lifestyle modifications. I was so impressed by her knowledge and evaluation, I decided to give it a shot. Well, I am about two months in and have already started seeing signs of my hormones rebalancing. For instance, my thighs and breasts are fuller which is an indication of increasing estrogen levels. I have also been experiencing PMS symptoms again during the same time period the past two months. Oh, I have never been so elated to have these back in my life. Later this year, I plan to test my hormone levels again and can’t wait to see the results! Without experiencing this, I would have likely never had the motivation to explore the magic of acupuncture and Chinese medicine.
For those of you out there experiencing something similar, I hope this story encourages you to keep going until you find the right holistic treatment out there for you. There are too many stories of people giving up and compromising on a treatment that they’re not comfortable with. Although I have found much success with acupuncture and TCM, I still continue to seek Western medical help. I believe that a combination of both Western and non-Western modalities should be used, as they both play very important roles in holistic treatments for all types of illnesses. Please remember to explore and utilize both – this is the beauty of holistic medicine because it expands rather than limits your options.