Menstruation is unique to women. When a woman reaches puberty, her uterus matures and her kidney essence is enriched to a certain extent. The kidneys will then produce a type of substance for promoting sexual functions, which is called tian-gui. Under the action of this substance, the conception vessel and thoroughfare vesselmeridians are exuberant and flushed with abundant qi (vital energy) and blood. The excessive qi and blood will empty into the uterus and produce regular menses. In old age, the kidney essence is exhausted and tian-gui declines. The conception vessel and thoroughfare vessel gradually close and become obstructed, a woman then begins to have menstrual irregularities until menopause occurs.
According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), menstrual cycles are dominated by rhythmic changes of kidney qi inside the body.
Dysfunctional uterine bleeding (DUB) is characterized by irregular periods, excessive or prolonged menstrual flow, which come under TCM category of "beng-lou", literally meaning periods come with sudden flooding or trickling for a long time. TCM claims that dysfunctional uterine bleeding can be due to a wide variety of factors, such as an unhealthy lifestyle, poor diet or improper eating habits, lack of exercise, environmental factors, emotional or psychological issues, toxins and hereditary influences. The factors weaken the internal organs, affect blood and qi, and impair the conception vessel and thoroughfare vessel meridians, resulting in an uncontrollable menstrual flow.
TCM physicians usually regard dysfunctional uterine bleeding as a clinical difficulty, since the pathology usually involves several organ systems, as well as qi and blood dysfunctions, which give rise to complex conditions and hard to treat. Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial to prevent it developing into a lingering and worse consequence.
When physicians doing a consultation for dysfunctional uterine bleeding, they will ask about the specific characteristics of the bleeding, including the duration, interval, amount of bleeding, color and texture of the blood, and the accompanying symptoms during the time, other factors like age, medical history and lifestyle also take into account. The remedies are designed according to TCM disharmony patterns, and the therapeutic principles are:
1.Arrest bleeding and regulate the conception vessel and thoroughfare vessel meridians,
2.Treat the underlying disharmony, such as to invigorate the kidneys and restore their controls over the menstruation,
3.Restore the inside of the uterus, rebuild a normal menstrual cycle and prevent recurrence.
After the bleeding is controlled, intensive treatment should be continuous for three or more cycles. The consolidation therapy is aimed to resume the normal functions of the kidneys, spleen and liver, and rebuild a regular menstrual cycle. Physicians will treat according to age groups, in which adolescent girls need to invigorate the kidneys and smooth the menstrual cycle, childbearing women need to soothe the liver and nourish blood, regulate the menstrual cycle and promote ovulation, menopause women need to invigorate kidneys and spleen and prevent recurrent bleeding. Menopause women should also visit their western doctors and check up regularly to rule out other health problems.
It should be noted that menstrual disturbances can be due to different pathologies and may vary from person to person. The above patterns can appear alone or in mixed form, they are also changeable and may transform into each other over time. There is no exclusive therapy for dysfunctional uterine bleeding, each regime is customized from the independent conditions that exist within each individual; it may also need adjustment during the course of treatment so as to fit the changing condition.
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has a unique way in regulating the endocrine system and stop bleeding; it can be used alongside Western medicine in treating dysfunctional uterine bleeding. As TCM methods work on multiple aspects of the body at the same time, for example targeting on various metabolic processes in the hypothalamus-pituitary-sex gland axis, which creates a comprehensive regulating effect, and ensures a slow and gentle hormonal transition.
These and other Traditional Chinese practices all form part of TCM, each adding a little to the history and methodology of Acupuncture and Herbs and their ability to help with Infertility.
Eca Brady is a fully licensed physician of Traditional Chinese Medicine BSc(Ac) MBAcC, focusing on Female Infertility with Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs from Harley Street, London.
Make an appointment for an acupuncture or Herbs treatment and we can discuss how we can help you if you suffer from Infertility, to read more about Eca click here or to read more about TCM and increasing your chances fertility click here.
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