Menstrual cycle is controlled by Hypothalamo-Pituitary-Ovarian axis, the idea is kind of like boss(Hypothalamo)-manager(Pituitary)-worker(Ovarian).
This is how the Menstrual cycle works:
Also see: how TCM look at Menstrual Cycle
1. Hypothalamo releases “Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone (GnRH)”, stimulates Pituitary
— the boss asks the manager to work.
2. Pituitary releases “Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH)”, stimulates follicle to grow mature
— the manager asks the worker to work.
3. Several follicles starts to develop, compete, and produce “Estrogen”. Estrogen makes endometrium in the uterus start to format a new layer, and suppresses the release of FSH from Pituitary
— the workers start to work, compete, and build new house for the baby. In the same time, they yell back to the manager “stop yelling at me, I'm already working hard!!!”
4. One follicle will win the competition and reach maturity. It will start release a lot of Estrogen, strongly suppresses Pituitary to release FSH, and stimulate it to release Luteinizing Hormone(LH), causes “Ovulation”, the release of matured ovum
— one worker won the competition, and said ”I'm done, promote me”, the manager stop asking workers to work, and sent the winning worker to human resource office.
5. Those follicles lost the competition becomes “Corpus Luteum”, it releases “Progesterone”, which makes body to become ready for pregnancy, and also continues to suppress Pituitary to release FSH
— those other workers will be nice and support the promotion, and stops the manager from looking for new workers in this period.
6. The Corpus Luteum atrophies if the pregnancy doesn't happen, the drop of Progesterone level cause the new layer in uterus to collapse and bleed
— if the promotion doesn't happen, then all workers involved are fired, and kicked out of the company.
7. Then the new cycle will continue from Pituitary releases FSH.
Why is acupuncture a good method to deal with menstrual problems?
The human body has a comprehensive system to control hormone's dynamic balance. It is impossible to directly control it by medicine to maintain the right balance , because it is constantly changing and adjusting. Just like it's impossible to stand a coin up on a boat, because the boat is constantly moving. The reason you can stand up on a boat without falling, is because you are constantly balancing yourself.
Traditional Chinese Medicine(TCM) has been known and trusted as an effective way to deal with menstruation related problems in Asian countries for thousands of years. It works because acupuncture, herb, or other TCM treatment method does not interference hormone balance directly, it stimulates body to balance itself.
What can Acupuncture help?
Menstruation related problems can be the result of physical change of the body, or change of hormone balance . (Of course, physical change might lead to hormone change, hormone change might lead to physical change too.) Acupuncture and herb works on most problems cause by hormone change, like late, early, or skip of period, heavy(menorrhagia), or short(Hypomenorrhea) period, menstrual pain(Dysmenorrhea), and even Infertility. It also works on some of the problems cause by physical change of the body. But of course, it's more likely that it can't help if the organ itself is damaged.
– – ORANGE ACUPUNCTURE, WINSTON WANG