A Look at Women’s Reproductive Health through Traditional Chinese Medicine

How does tapping into the acupuncture channels help with our reproductive health? The body is comprised of different meridians which run through our body and are responsible for specific functions contributing to the proper function of our reproductive organs. 

THE UTERUS (BAO: Structure for Women-grows the fetus and discharges the baby)

Here is a list of the channels most greatly connected to the uterus and their functions:

  • The Ren Channel originates in the Kidneys and provides Qi & Essence to the Uterus. 
  • The Chong Channel also originates in the Kidneys and provides Blood to the Uterus.
  • The Ren channel brings Yin and Blood to the Uterus.
  • The Du channel brings Yang from Kidney Yang to the Uterus to promote ovulation.
  • The Stomach Channel connects to the Chong meridian and flows through the Uterus.
  • The Spleen makes Blood and the Kidneys are the origin of menstrual blood.
  • Kidney Essence produces menstrual blood. 
  • The Liver stores Blood, regulates Blood volume and provides Blood to the Uterus. 
  • The Heart governs blood and Heart-Blood nourishes the Uterus.
  • Heart Qi and Blood descends to Uterus and controls two moments of transformation:
  1. Yang to Yin= The discharge of menstrual blood during the bleeding phase
  2. Yin to Yang=The discharge of eggs during ovulation

During pregnancy the Uterus is a Yin organ (stores the fetus)

During childbirth the Uterus in a Yang organ (discharges the baby)

Menstruation

When diagnosing a patient with menstrual irregularities there is a lot to consider. Here are some of the disorders that can present, what the diagnosis would most likely be and how it would be treated with acupuncture and herbs. 

Early menarche: Beginning menstruation before 10 years of age may indicate Blood-heat. Acupuncture points to clear heat at blood level and cooling herbs would be prescribed. 

Late menarche: Starting menses after 16 years of age can indicate Blood or Kidney deficiency or Cold in the Uterus. Acupuncture points to tonify blood or kidney qi and blood and qi building herbs would be used for Blood and Kidney deficiency while moxa, fire points and warming herbs would be used to eliminate Cold in the Uterus. 

The Menstrual cycle is like an ebb and flow of a tide of Kidney-Yin and Kidney-Yang. Yin increases in the first half and Yang increasing in the second half.

QI XU: Periods come early and are heavy.

BLOOD XU: Amenorrhea or scanty periods, periods come late, pale blood, watery blood.

YIN XU: Watery blood, fresh red (color) blood.

BLOOD HEAT: Menorrhagia, early menses, dark red or bright red blood.

BLOOD STASIS: Painful periods, dark clots, irregular periods, periods come late, purple/blackish. 

COLD: Late menses, scanty menses, purple or blackish blood, congealed blood with clots, turbid .

QI STAGNATION: Irregular periods (sometimes early/sometimes late).

Menopause 

Menopause is not considered a gynecological disease in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is the period of time during which levels of estrogen (Kidney-Essence) naturally decline where menstruation stops and a woman becomes infertile. The only time therapeutic intervention is needed is when the manifestations of this transitional period become uncomfortable or distressing. 

KIDNEY ESSENCE DEFICIENCY:

Main Manifestations:

Hot Flashes

Sweating

Vaginal Dryness

Other Symptoms Associated with Kidney Essence Decline: headaches, depression, anxiety, irritability, crying, poor memory, clumsiness, insomnia, tiredness, dry skin and hair. 

Variations through Diagnosis:

KIDNEY YIN & YANG DEFICIENCY: Contradictory hot and cold symptoms, such as hot flashes, night sweats, dryness of the vagina and skin but cold feet and frequent urination. 

LIVER-YANG RISING FROM LIVER BLOOD XU/YIN XU:  Headaches, anger, agitation, dizziness, vertigo, tinnitus, insomnia with dream disturbed sleep, palpitations, stiff neck. 

HEART YIN XU WITH EMPTY HEAT: Insomnia, palpitations, mental restlessness, dry mouth/lips/throat, night sweating, anxiety, agitation, poor memory, heat sensation in palms, feet and chest. (Empty-Heat manifests with a feeling of heat in the face occurring mostly in the afternoon and evening, whereas Full-Heat is mostly in the daytime.) 

PHLEGM: Phlegm aggravates hot flashes, worsen mental-emotional symptoms, deranged mind, confused, mania, insomnia.

When diagnosing and treating any reproductive health issues, herbal medicine is a very important piece of the puzzle. Acupuncture and herbal medicine work synergistically together on the root cause of disease and allow for the hormones, blood, yin, yang and qi of the body to rebalance and allow for optimal function and wellness. 

Looking more for how acupuncture helps with fertility? Check out our article on Acupuncture & Fertility. 

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