|Posted by Tanya on April 20, 2013 at 1:45 AM|
"I thank God for my brokenness; only then may I heal."
Sometims, a woman can't get pregnant because the path from her ovaries to the uterus is compromised. For instance, the ovary could be covered with adhesions blocking the mature egg from entering the pelvic cavity; the fallopian tube could be narrow or even completely obstucted; or perhaps the uterus is bound with scar tissue, keeping it from holding the fertilized egg successfully.
Some cases of blockage can be resolved through surgery. In other cases, however, surgery results in a small improvement in fertility, if any. In that case IVF is usually a woman's only choice. We'll discuss mechanical infertility and how TCM can provide support in healing your reproductive system.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
Pelvic inflammatory disease is a heartbreaking cause of mechanical infertility, because it can detroy a woman's fertility without warning, long before she considers getting pregnant. PID is usually the result of a bacterial infection within the ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, and cervix. More than one million women are diagnosed as teenagers or in their early twenties - the cause is usually sexually transmitted diseases, especially chlamydia and gonorrhea, but PID can also result from IUD (intrauterine device).
Treating PID with Chinese Medicine
It is rare to see a patient with active PID - usually patients will connect with a practitioner long after the damage has been done. However, there are ways to use TCM to treat both the symptoms and infection of active PID. In addition to treating the manifestation of the problem, we must address the underlying imbalance:
- The practitioner will use TCM diagnosis by looking at the accompanying symptoms the inflammation causes since most cases of PID involve abnormal discharge. Most conditions are damp and cool in nature, or classified as damp heat. Regardless of diagnosis, any treatment would need to resolve dampness, and balance the conditions created by the body's response to infection. It is important to note, however, that our inflammatory response to the infection may remain for some length of time after symptoms have been resolved. In the same way a course of Western antibiotics usually must be continued for several days after symptoms of the underlying infection disappear, it is equally essential that TCM treatment continue until the inflammatory response has quieted and the body's balance has been fully restored.
- A primary treatment is through the Extraordinary meridians known as the Girdle vessel (Dai Mai). The Nei Jing describes the Extraordinary meridians as a system of "drainage ditches" that tap into the main meridians and allow excesses - such excess discharge - to run off and clear out.
- If pelvic pain is predominant, TCM diagnoses its underlying pattern by assessing the nature of the pain. Sharp or stabbing pain involves Blood stasis, and we would apply principles of invigorating the Blood by using herbs such as: red peony (Chi Shao), peach kernel (Tao Ren), frankincense (Ru Xiang), and myrrh (Mo Yao). Strangulating and distending pain involves the obstruction of Qi, and we treat by resolving Qi stagnation. by using herbs such as: citrus peel (Chen Pi), green tangerine peel (Qing Pi), Cyperus (Xiang Fu), Lindera (Wu Yao) and Melia (Chuan Lian Zi).
- Chinese herbal therapy must be powerful and capable of reaching the closed-off environment of the fallopian tubes. TCM calls this "resolving stasis in the network vessels" (which are quite difficult to reach). To treat Blood stasis in network vessels, we use resins such as myrrh and frankincense, which are known for reaching the deepest meridians and their offshoots.
- In cases where the condition lies within the uterus or fallopian tubes, women can ingest herbs that will find their way through the digestive system and to the fallopian tubes, use herbal enemas (decoctions taken rectally), or suppositories (herbal concentrates in a glycerin or cocoa-butter base).
- Uterine Massage: just above the pubic bone, along the midline is your uterus. Place your fingers on either side of the midline and apply a deep, kneading type of massage, pressing and lifting while massaging any tight spots. Finish with a pumping motion with the heel of the hand.
- Ovarian Massage: about three inches out from the midline and four inches below the navel. Massage in a circular motion, and if you find any areas of tension or congestion, knead deeply applying increased pressure and lift with the fingertips. Finish with a pumping motion with the heel of the hand to resolve congestion and improve circulation.
Please join me next week as we discuss the final section of this series: Male-Factor Infertility: It Still takes Two to Make a Baby
This article was written using the following sources:
1. The Infertility Cure : the ancient Chinese wellness program for getting pregnant and having healthy babies / Randine Lewis, Ph.D. ISBN 0-316-15921-2, pgs. 242 - 250