What are uterine fibroids?
Uterine fibroids are the most common benign tumors in women of childbearing age. Fibroids are made of muscle cells and other tissues that grow in and around the wall of the uterus, or womb. The cause of fibroids is unknown. Risk factors include being African American or being overweight.
Many women with fibroids have no symptoms. If you do have symptoms, they may include
- Heavy or painful periods or bleeding between periods
- Feeling “full” in the lower abdomen
- Urinating often
- Pain during sex
- Lower back pain
- Reproductive problems, such as infertility, multiple miscarriages or early labor
What causes uterine fibroids? Who gets fibroids?
The causes of fibroids are unknown. However, doctors think that fibroids are caused by multiple factors, like hormones and genetics. Doctors do know that levels of estrogen and progesterone can affect the size of fibroids.
They grow rapidly during pregnancy, when hormone levels are high. They shrink when anti-hormone medication is used. They also stop growing or shrink once a woman reaches menopause.
There are factors that can increase a woman’s risk of developing fibroids, like age, family history, ethnicity, being overweight and poor diet. Women usually develop fibroids in their 30s and 40s
How does acupuncture treat uterine fibroids?
Traditional Chinese Medicine believes fibroids are caused by obstructions in blood flow, and therefore are alleviated through processes which remove those obstructions. Acupuncture near the site of the fibroid has been seen to reduce proliferation of abnormal cells. Chinese herbs are used to help restore optimal blood flow to the pelvic organs. Reproductive organ massage helps to manually breakdown the tissue and aid the body in recovery. Not only will Chinese medical treatments shrink and eliminate the fibroids, but when used together can re-balance hormonal production, improve ovarian production and ovulation, regulate menstrual cycles, lower FSH levels, create better egg quality, and strengthen embryos– all of which improve fertility and your chance of conception.
Acupuncture treatment focuses on realigning the delicate hypothalamus-pituitary-ovarian axis which controls the levels of estrogen and progesterone in the body. When estrogen levels are increased, fibroids tend to grow in size, causing pain and inhibiting implantation. By curbing excess estrodial, abnormal cell proliferation can be slowed, and when in combination with herbal and reproductive organ massage, often halted entirely.
Chinese herbs concentrate on invigorating the blood, which helps to break up the stasis of the fibroid itself and flood the uterus with oxygen and nutrient rich material. By moving the blood swiftly to the area, herbs that have documented antineoplastic effect can begin addressing the improper cellular proliferation. Formulas also contain individual herbs that have a direct effect on smooth muscle, helping to generate uterine contractions to eliminate the dissolved stasis.