- Irregular or heavy periods
- Painful periods
- Help with IVF
Gynaecological problems like irregular, heavy or painful periods, P.M.T. and infertility are all very common. In the majority of cases the reason for these symptoms is hormone imbalance. Western medicine’s solution for this problem is the pill. By taking the pill we stop the malfunctioning body hormone regulating system from working and instead we give the hormone from the outside as the pill. This usually brings relief from the symptoms. The problem with this treatment is that it is not treating the problem that causes the hormone imbalance in the first place. As a result of this, when the pill has been discontinued, the symptoms are almost guaranteed to come back. Taking the pill in the long term is not advisable and has been associated with several possible side effects like deep vein thrombosis and different types of cancer.
In Chinese Medicine however we know the different problems that can cause hormone imbalance. The treatment will be aimed at the cause of the symptoms as well as the symptoms themselves. As a result of that the improvement in the symptoms is maintained for the long term even after stopping the treatment.
Irregular or Heavy Periods
Irregular periods are caused by hormonal imbalance. In Chinese medicine there are a few main causes for hormonal imbalance: problems with the movement of energy, problems with the movement of blood. Too much heat in the blood, too much cold in the blood and weakness of the internal organs. In the first consultation with the Chinese Medicine practitioner it is very important to identify the root cause in any individual’s case for a successful and long lasting improvement. Generally speaking, problems with the movement of energy are originally from the liver and are a result of stress or difficult emotional periods. It is also common if the problem started after giving birth especially if there was a lot of bleeding involved. Malfunctioning liver as a result of emotional stress is the one most common reason for hormone imbalance.
Stagnation of energy can cause stagnation of the blood. A typical symptom here will be blood clots and sharp pain with the periods. In the case of heat in the blood the bleeding will be often and the blood colour very dark. When cold in the blood is the reason the cycle will be long and the blood is pale. In the case of weakness of the internal organs, the bleeding will be scanty. Spotting is common as well as general fatigue.
In many cases there is a combination of two or more of the above. Accurate diagnosis is essential for a succesful treatment. The treatment of irregular periods will be with Acupuncture or Chinese herbs or both. It will be aimed at the root of the symptom as well as the symptom itself and the success rate is very good.
In Chinese Medicine the cause of painful periods can be generally divided into three different patterns: stagnation of the Qi (energy), stagnation of the blood and deficiency of the Qi (energy). As in the case of irregular periods, accurate diagnosis is essential for successful treatment. The diagnosis will be made after the first consultation in the clinic.
In the case of painful periods, typical symptoms as a result of stagnation of the Qi will include severe cramped pain on the first day or first few days of the periods. It will often follow P.M.T. symptoms like irritability, tearfulness and tender breasts. In the case of painful periods from stagnation of the blood the pain will be of a sharp stabbing nature. It will occur just before the period or during the early part of it. The bleeding will often include blood clots. The pain often stops when the blood clot has been passed. In the case of pain as a result of deficiency the pain typically happens in the later part of the period and is more dull in nature. It is often in the lower back as well as the low abdomen and it is often accompanied by fatigue. The treatment of painful periods will be with Acupuncture and/or Chinese Herbs. It will be aimed at the symptom as well as at the root cause and the success rate is very good.
Infertility is an increasingly common problem. In the last five years it has become one of the most common conditions which is treated in my clinic. Over the last year alone we have helped six ladies who were considered to be infertile to become pregnant and another four through IVF (out of five).
Medical infertility is defined as the failure to conceive after trying for 18 months, but I strongly recommend to come for treatment after six months of unsuccessful trying. Actually, ideally, every woman trying to conceive should have an acupuncture treatment. This is for the same reason that women usually stop drinking and take vitamins and folic acid when trying to conceive. It simply makes the body healthier and a healthier body will conceive more easily and will have an easier pregnancy and birth and the baby should be healthier.
In Chinese medicine fertility problems can arise from a few reasons. The problem can be to do with the male or the female or both. In the case of male problems there is usually a problem with the sperm. It can be that there is not enough sperm, or sperm with low quality of movement or formation. In Chinese medicine we know that these problems usually arise from an accumulation of heat and toxins in the testicles or from poor blood circulation to this area. Less commonly it can arise from weakness of the kidney energy. The treatment of this condition is simple. BY taking herbs to correct the specific problem diagnosed in each case we can allow the body to restart production of healthy sperm. The herbs given will be chosen by the practitioner according to the diagnosis in each case. The success rate in treating this condition is very high.
Female infertility is slightly more complex. A woman can have problems conceiving for a few different reasons. It can be because of an imbalance in the hormonal system (this is very common these days due to stress affecting the hormonal system) or due to poor blood circulation failing to nourish the uterus. It can be due to too much heat in the womb or too much cold, fluids or dryness. The process of successful implantation and growth of an embryo in the womb is similar to that of a seed being put in the ground: if the ground is too dry, too wet, too hot or too cold it will not sprout. Also if it does not receive proper nourishment (in the case of the embryo through blood circulation and hormones) it won’t sprout. All of these factors have to be perfect for a successful pregnancy. Another important factor is the kidney energy. If the kidney energy is low a woman will not be able to conceive or in some cases will be able to conceive but will not be able to keep the pregnancy and reoccurring miscarriages will occur.
When a lady with fertility problems comes to a Chinese medicine clinic all of these factors that may affect her fertility will be assessed. A diagnosis will be made to determine what is the cause of the difficulties in her specific case. It can be any of the problems discussed above or a combination of two or more. A treatment with acupuncture and Chinese herbs that is designed to correct these problems will be given. The aim is to bring the body in general, and the reproductive system in particular, into an optimal state and by that to increase the likelihood of a healthy pregnancy. As I mentioned earlier I treat this problem in my clinic commonly with a very good success rate.
Help with I.V.F.
As mentioned before, Acupuncture has scientifically been proven to greatly increase the chances for success of I.V.F. It does this by improving the blood circulation in the womb. This will allow a build-up of a better lining in the uterus that will offer a better environment for the embryo to implant and develop in. The research has been done both before and after I.V.F. treatment. I, however, recommend starting treatment at least 3 months before the I.V.F. for even better results.