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TCM & Acupuncture for Fertility & Women's Health at Harmony Acupuncture Kanata

*Scroll down for info about acupuncture treatment for infertility

The pressure of modern life often affects women’s health and vitality as we are expected to be good mothers, spouses, caregivers, housekeepers and oftentimes in today’s society, financial providers. We often neglect our health and may even feel guilty about taking time for ourselves to rest and relax. Most of us know that the body changes as we transition from one phase of life to another, yet many of us still lack an essential knowledge of how to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle. We too often fail to cope with everyday stress, which may deplete our vital energy and lead to stress-related disorders such as chronic anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Maladaptive coping skills may also contribute to digestive problems, immune disorders, gynecological diseases, and other health problems. Fortunately, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) provides a lot of wisdom about how we can restore our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual balance, ultimately enhancing our health and well-being.

Conventional medical care for women has a lot to offer but in certain cases may be based on invasive tests and procedures that arouse fear and anxiety and may not always be necessary.

Addressing women’s health issues with the use of TCM treatments such as acupuncture and herbal remedies may result in outcomes just as effective as conventional therapies or better, and in such a way that is non-invasive and does not require the use of hormones. Providing support and guidance throughout the therapy can provide women an increased sense of safety and well-being. In her 1994 book “Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom”, Christiane Northrup, a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist, states that “what is natural and nontoxic is seen as inferior to the big ‘guns’ of drugs, chemotherapy, and radiation. Drug-free, natural methods of treatment with well-studied, well-documented benefits are ignored. Treatments that offer complementary care are denigrated. Studies that demonstrate their worth are ignored as well”.

Two decades later, we are now slowly making some progress in the treatment of women’s ailments that incorporate natural methods of healing including TCM.

Gynecological & Obstetric Conditions Commonly
Treated by TCM:

Female Infertility: Both primary and secondary female infertility can be successfully treated with Chinese herbs and acupuncture. At our clinic, a number of clients desiring a successful pregnancy achieved that goal with treatment spanning over only two or three consecutive menstrual cycles. Many women are not aware that TCM treatments for fertility problems have the ability to revitalize the youthfulness of female reproductive organs. In addition, hormonal imbalances often normalize and consequently, so does menstruation. Note: can only be treated when infertility is not a result of congenital abnormalities.

FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) stimulates the growth of the follicles and plays an important role in the maturation of oocytes. Blood tests to determine FSH levels are the most widely-used tests to assess ovarian function. After the age of 35, FSH levels start to increase and absence of ovulation occurs more often. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal therapy can rejuvenate the ovaries and help normalize the maturation of eggs before ovulation, a result that can be substantiated by a blood test showing lower or normal levels of FSH.

A case where a woman’s test results (and her male partner’s) are normal yet she is still not able to conceive for longer than 2 years is referred to by Western medicine as unexplained infertility. Chinese medicine can explain many of these cases as an assessment of the whole body is required, not just of the reproductive organs. Problems with fertility can be due to many reasons and every case is unique. Chinese medicine is able to recognize these individual reasons and treat them accordingly.

Menstrual Diseases including: irregular menstruation, menstrual pain, lack of menstruation, scanty periods, prolonged menstruation, bleeding between periods, premenstrual syndrome (PMS). These gynecological problems have become so widespread that many women believe that they are a normal part of life and often hold the belief that hormones are to blame. We forget that the normal menstrual cycle has 28 days, that menstruation need not be heavy, scanty, or painful. A normal menstrual flow should be red in colour rather than purple, brown or pink, and there should not be any blood clots present. Failure to recognize these abnormalities could lead to otherwise preventable medical intervention or surgery.

There are many factors that may contribute to menstrual abnormalities. In TCM, an herbal and acupuncture treatment plan for menstrual abnormalities, as with any other health problem, depends on differential diagnosis according to the discrimination of patterns of disharmony.

Abnormal Vaginal Discharge: small quantities prior to and during menstruation or pregnancy are considered normal. Increases in volume, changes in colour and odour may require treatment as these could be symptoms of a more serious health issue or even disease.

Pre- and Post-Menopausal Syndrome: these problems include hot flashes, insomnia, heart palpitations, irritability, emotional imbalance and depression and can be successfully treated by TCM without the potentially dangerous or ineffective use of hormones, sleeping pills or antidepressants.

Genital Prolapse: in its early stages, the protrusion of a light red mass from or into the vagina can be treated with successful results.

Mammary Nodules: breast fibroids or polycystic breast disease can be treated with acupuncture and Chinese herbal formulas. The lumps often shrink, soften or even disappear after applying these therapies.

Mammary Abscess: often occurs in first-time mothers; is usually effectively treated during the initial stages with acupuncture, warm compresses, and massage.

Morning Sickness: nausea and occasional vomiting often occur in the first three months of pregnancy. These issues are usually caused by a weakened digestive system or by imbalances between the liver and stomach. This problem can be corrected by the use of Chinese herbs that are safe to take during pregnancy.

Postpartum Abdominal Pain: dull postpartum abdominal pain usually results from blood vacuity. Stronger postpartum pain in the abdomen, discharge of dark purple blood, and blood clots are all a result of stagnant blood. These problems can be corrected, sometimes within a short time frame with the application of acupuncture and Chinese medical therapy.

Threatened and Habitual Miscarriage: miscarriage is far more common than most people are aware. Statistically, one in two early pregnancies results in a miscarriage. It is also estimated that 50% of threatened miscarriages can be prevented. Causes of miscarriage include: fetal abnormalities, fibroids, viral infections (e.g. flu, herpes), cervical abnormalities, hormonal imbalances, and chronic illness. Both threatened and habitual miscarriages can be treated with the application of Chinese herbal formulas that are safe to take during pregnancy.

Lochiorrhea: discharge of lochia continuing for more than 20 days can cause excessive blood loss, weaken the body, and increase vulnerability to infections. This condition can be successfully treated with acupuncture and herbal therapy. During this time a woman should rest and avoid cold foods, raw foods, and sexual activity.

Insufficient Lactation: decreased secretion of milk or lack of milk production are an effect of a weakened body after excessive blood loss during childbirth or caused by emotional distress. The treatment of insufficient lactation using TCM methods often yields very successful results.