Acupuncture and Uterine Fibroids

Treat Uterine Fibroids Naturally With Acupuncture in South FloridaUterine fibroids, also referred to as fibroid tumors, myomas or leiomyomas, are solid, non cancerous muscle tissue growths found in the uterus. So prevalent is the condition among women over forty years of age that fibroids may well be considered an ordinary irregularity. Up to 50% of all women aged forty and over will be affected by the condition. While about 80% of fibroids are small sized, some of them may grow quite huge, with reports documenting some weighing up to 100 pounds.

Epidemiology and common symptoms of Uterine Fibroids

In 2013, it was estimated that about 171 million women were affected by fibroids. Most of these cases were found in women of color. Indeed, reports indicate that African-American women are between three and nine times more likely to develop fibroids as compared to Caucasian women. Additionally, fibroids grow faster in women of color as opposed to white women. The good news, however, is that fibroids are not malignant. Fibroid tumors are simply swellings or growths; they are not cancerous. Reports indicate that less than 0.1% of all uterine fibroids are ever malignant. According to Segars et. al. (2014) fibroids account for about 3% of the reasons why a woman may have problems with infertility.

Wallach and Vlahos (2004), postulate that uterine fibroids are the leading causes of surgery of the uterus. They are the leading reason why women in America go through hysterectomies.

Symptoms

About 85 percent of fibroids do not have symptoms. Patients who experience symptoms report that they have more than normal bleeding, painful menstruation, pain during sexual intercourse, and too frequent urination. Some women report fertility problems, a complicated pregnancy, and a troublesome delivery. With the passage of time, the fibroid tumor grows, and some women may experience a swollen abdomen.

Your gynecologist will make the diagnosis when they feel a lump during a test. The doctor may recommend that you go through tests to establish what the mass could be. These tests include an ultrasound, an MRI, or a sonohysterogram.

Causes

Although the exact cause of fibroids is not known, health specialists say that the female hormone estrogen promotes their growth. Their growth is also influenced by the levels of progesterone. Fibroids grow very rapidly when a woman is pregnant as the levels of the female hormones are high. However, when the woman reaches menopause, they disappear. When the patient takes hormone regulating medicine, fibroids start to shrink.

Western Medical Treatments for Uterine Fibroids

Depending on whether you are experiencing the symptoms of fibroids or not, your physician may decide to recommend treatment or not. If the doctor diagnoses fibroids, but the patient is not experiencing the symptoms, they will keep monitoring whether the tumors are growing or not during your regular exams. Should the patient display the symptoms, however, they will recommend a treatment regime.

Western medical treatment approaches fibroids from various perspectives. Some approaches are aimed at hormonal suppression, especially if the symptoms are mild. The doctor may prescribe various medications to alleviate the pain, suppress the growth of the fibroids, or stop heavy bleeding.

For patients experiencing moderate to severe symptoms, your physician could recommend surgery. Some of the common surgeries to treat uterine fibroids include:

  •  Embolization of arteries- this procedure is aimed at cutting blood supply to the fibroids. As a result, the fibroids shrink.
  •  Myomectomy- this surgical procedure isolates and removes the fibroid tumor without affecting the rest of the uterus.
  •  Hysterectomy- this procedure targets the entire uterus. Not only are the tumors removed, but the uterus as well. This surgical procedure eliminates the chances of the patient ever getting pregnant in the future.
  •  Endometrial ablation- for patients experiencing severe bleeding, this surgery is aimed at removing the lining of the uterus. The patient is unable to get pregnant after the procedure.

According to Sankaran & Manyonda (2008), patients who use the medicine Cabergoline will experience a shrinking of fibroids within a few weeks, although it is not clear how the mechanism works.

Kailasam & Cahill (2008) recommend the use of Levonorgestrel intrauterine devices to manage heavy and painful menstruation and other symptoms associated with uterine fibroids.

The use of Lupron (leuprolide acetate) is another common way to counter fibroids. The drug induces artificial menopause by halting the production of estradiol by your body. Once the patient starts using the drug, there is a remarkable decrease in fibroid size within eight to twelve weeks. However, when the drug is withdrawn, the fibroids quickly grow back to about 90 % their original size.

Other western treatment procedures include laser treatments, MRI-guided ultrasound surgeries and the use of anti-hormonal drugs.

How Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine can treat this condition effectively

womens wellness with acupuncture in south florida
Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine can effectively treat a wide range of women’s health issues.

The use of acupuncture and Chinese medicine to treat uterine fibroids has been a common practice for more than 2000 years. Indeed, the earliest depictions of uterine fibroid in Chinese medical literature date back to 100BC in the Ling Shu. At the time, the concept of shijia, a stony tumor, was defined. Following the definition of shijia, a more general concept regarding abdominal masses arose. Known as Zhengjia, this new concept denoted two kinds of masses, one that is fixed and painful (Zheng) and another which only hurts when pressure is applied and can be removed (Jia). Zheng corresponds to uterine masses. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine are aimed at removing these masses.

According to traditional Chinese medicine, fibroids are caused by an obstruction in blood flow. Acupuncture near the site of the swelling helps relieve this inflammation and restore the flow of blood. Acupuncture does not treat uterine fibroids as an isolated condition. Rather, the procedure treats the symptoms as related to the entire health of the patient. Thus, the approach, by tackling fibroids, aims to restore not just the physical health of the patient, but the emotional and psychological wellbeing as well.

Acupuncture revolves around the ancient theory that health problems are caused when the flow of Qi (life energy) is disrupted. According to this theory, Qi constantly flows throughout the body via energy pathways. When this free flow is disrupted as a result of physical, emotional or psychological stress, the person gets ill. By inserting tiny needles in the appropriate places, acupuncture stimulates the flow of the energies again and cures the physical condition. The treatment concentrates on realigning the hypothalamus-pituitary-ovarian axis which is responsible for regulating the levels of estrogen and progesterone. The use of acupuncture  regulates the levels of estrogen to halt their growth and control the abnormal proliferation of cells.

Acupuncture is sometimes combined with Chinese herbs to treat uterine fibroids. Herbs administered are aimed at restoring maximum blood flow to the pelvic area, breaking down swollen tissue and speeding up recovery.

Although uterine fibroids are widely common among women, with some studies claiming that up to 80% of women will suffer from the condition by the time they reach 50, patients can consult medical specialists for assistance. Acupuncture, when combined with Chinese herbal treatments and nutritional guidance, has been proven to shrink and reduce fibroids in patients. Women who undergo this treatment also experience a balanced hormonal production, as well as increased fertility due to improved ovarian production, regular menstrual cycles, and better egg quality. Compared with other methods of treatment, the effectiveness of acupuncture to treat uterine fibroids is without question one of the most cost effective and successful.

Learn how we incorporate diet and nutrition for uterine fibroids

If you are suffering with uterine fibroids please give us a call. We have helped many women with this condition overcome them and we are confident that we can help you too. Consultations are always free out our South Florida wellness center. Our clinic serves the communities of Margate, Coconut Creek, Coral Springs, Tamarac, Parkland, Deerfield Beach and West Boca.

 

References

  1. Kailasam C & Cahill D (2008). “Review of the safety, efficacy and patient acceptability of thelevonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system”. Patient preference and adherence. 2: 293–302.
  2. Sankaran S, & Manyonda I (2008). “Medical management of fibroids” (PDF). Best Pract Res Clin Obstet Gynaecol. 22 (4): 655–76.
  3. Segars J. et. al. (2014). “Proceedings from the Third National Institutes of Health International Congress on Advances in Uterine Leiomyoma Research: comprehensive review, conference summary and future recommendations”. Hum. Reprod. Update. 20 (3): 309–33.
  4. Steiner M, Romano S, Babcock S, et al (2001). The efficacy of fluoxetine in improving physical symptoms associated with premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Br J Obstet Gynaecol, 108, 462–8.
  5. Talaulikar, VS; Manyonda, IT (August 2012). “Ulipristal acetate: a novel option for the medical management of symptomatic uterine fibroids.”. Advances in therapy. 29 (8): 655–63.
  6. Wallach, E & Vlahos, N. (2004). “Uterine myomas: an overview of development, clinical features, and management”. Obstet Gynecol. 104 (2): 393–406.
  7. Wu Jingnuan (translator), Ling Shu, or The Spiritual Pivot, 1993 Taoist Center, Washington, D.C.