How Electroacupuncture Helped Me Get My Period Back

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Daley Quinn is a beauty, health, and lifestyle journalist with extensive experience reviewing health and wellness products and services.

It’s been about four months since I decided to call it quits on my hormonal birth control after taking it daily for five years. From low libido and anxiety to lack of interest in things I once loved, there were many reasons I wanted to experience life sans the pill.

Of course, after being on hormonal birth control for five years straight, I didn’t expect my body to just magically (and quickly) adjust from being on synthetic hormones to having to regulate my natural hormones overnight. Unfortunately, there are many things that can occur after quitting birth control, including hormonal acne, weight gain or loss, and missed periods as your body tries to adjust to the new normal.

Before I went off birth control, I made a plan to eat extremely clean during the first month, support my system with supplements and vitamins, and to try acupuncture as a way to balance my hormones and try and get my period back on track, in hopes that I wouldn’t miss any months of my period post-birth control. Missing a few months of your period after getting off of hormonal birth control isn’t all that uncommon, but I wanted to try everything to get my period back on a regular schedule. 

I went to my acupuncturist weekly for about three months after quitting the pill, where she used special pinpoints to help clear my skin, get my digestion in check, and get my period back to normal. During the session right before I was supposed to get my first post-birth control period, my acupuncturist suggested we try electroacupuncture, which she told me would help kick start my ovaries and help further along a period, naturally. I had no idea what electroacupuncture was, but I was down to try it out. 

First, my acupuncturist inserted needles into areas all over my body that needed treatment. Then, she whipped out a little machine that looked like a mini car jump starter—cables and all—and attached those to two of the needles in my lower abdomen area. Then she turned on the machine, creating a slight tingling wave of electricity felt only in my abdomen region—not painful, but definitely a strange feeling. 

After my session, I was surprised by how quickly my period came, about a day or two later, managing to arrive right on schedule. If you’ve been missing a period, thinking about getting off of hormonal birth control, and have other aches and pains that might be benefited from electroacupuncture, you may want to speak to an acupuncturist about potentially incorporating this technique into a session.

What Is Electroacupuncture? 

Electroacupuncture starts with regular acupuncture, which is the insertion of hair-thin, sterile needles in specific points on the body to regulate the body’s movement of “qi,” or energy. Once the needles are placed into the body, wires are clipped on to the needles and plugged into an electro-therapy machine, which generates an electric current that’s passed into the needles.

“When the electro-therapy machine is turned on, you will often feel a buzzing or tapping sensation at the points—it’s not uncomfortable, and shouldn’t be painful, but it is a different sensation than acupuncture alone,” Alison Greco, a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist at Crescent Acupuncture in Boston, Massachusetts, tells Verywell. “By adding electro-therapy to the points, we are able to establish a connection between the points, essentially letting them ‘talk’ to each other.” 

According to Greco, before electroacupuncture existed, practitioners who wanted to more strongly stimulate the needles would do so manually by twisting and rotating them. Now, machines can perform that stimulation.

What Conditions Might Electroacupuncture Help Treat?

Electroacupuncture can treat more than just missing periods. Acupuncturists use it for a whole host of conditions, including:

  • Chronic pain
  • Arthritis
  • Stress
  • Obesity
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Digestive issues (like constipation or diarrhea)
  • Neurological conditions

“Electroacupuncture allows us to increase the intensity of the message we are sending to the body via our acupuncture needles,” Ali Vander Baan, a licensed acupuncturist and founder of Yintuition Wellness in Boston, tells Verywell. “When treating a stubborn condition (like not getting a period for months), electroacupuncture can help us increase the volume of our communication to the body.”

According to Greco, electroacupuncture excels over regular acupuncture with musculoskeletal pain issues and for many women's health issues, including loss of period, PCOS, infertility, and assistance with IVF.

Lana Butner, ND, LAc, a board-certified naturopathic doctor and licensed acupuncturist in private practice in New York City, makes sure to have a good relationship with her patients before trying electroacupuncture on them.

“Typically, you use electroacupuncture after you have already established care with a patient for a few sessions—the pulsations create a more intense sensation for the patient during the treatment, so it is beneficial to have a level of rapport beforehand,” Butner tells Verywell. “In my practice, I use electroacupuncture only if the previous treatments were not as effective as the patient desired, or if the patient requests it.”

What This Means For You

If you're experiencing amenorrhea—or another chronic condition—electroacupuncture may help alleviate your symptoms. But experts suggest you try regular acupuncture before perusing this more intense procedure.

How Can Electroacupuncture Help Get Your Period Back?

The loss of periods, or amenorrhea, can have many causes, including intense exercise, dieting, birth control, weight loss, PCOS, childbirth, or primary ovarian insufficiency. These are all considered secondary amenorrhea. Primary amenorrhea is when someone does not start their period before age 16.

“With acupuncture and Chinese medicine, the first step is always figuring out the root pattern, and how this pattern came to be,” says Greco. “Once we establish that, we can formulate a plan and set of points that are specific to the individual, and this can include electroacupuncture.”

When electroacupuncture is used for helping a woman get her period back, acupuncturists are often using points on the lower abdomen that will stimulate the ovaries.

“The ovaries produce hormones such as estrogen and progesterone, which are important for the menstrual cycle,” Greco says. “Studies have shown that when there is increased blood flow and nerve stimulation of the ovaries by electroacupuncture, hormones like estrogen, FSH, and LH start to regulate. This can bring on ovulation, which can then trigger a period.”

Is Electroacupuncture Safe for Everyone?

Electroacupuncture is very safe to use, but there are several contraindications. “It should not be used by anyone with metal implants, a pacemaker, heart disease or stroke, epilepsy, or seizures,” Vander Baan says. “The only potential side effects are bruising or tenderness at the needle insertion, which are rare.”

Electroacupuncture should be used with caution during pregnancy, and, according to Butner, might not be well tolerated with elderly patients. 

2 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Klein DA, Poth MA. Amenorrhea: an approach to diagnosis and management. Am Fam Physician. 2013 Jun 1;87(11):781-8

  2. Zhou K, Jiang J, Wu J, Liu Z. Electroacupuncture modulates reproductive hormone levels in patients with primary ovarian insufficiency: results from a prospective observational studyEvid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:657234. doi:10.1155/2013/657234

By Daley Quinn
Daley Quinn is a health, beauty, and lifestyle journalist. She was previously an editor at Family Circle.