How Uterine Fibroids Affect Fertility?
- Background: Uterine Fibroid tumors are benign (not cancerous) tumors that grow in or around the uterus and affect nearly 20% of women over 35 years of age. Although most fibroids cause no symptoms, the estimated 25 % of women who do have symptoms may have abnormal/heavy bleeding, pain during menstruation and/or sex, fertility problems, frequent urination, complications during pregnancy and delivery (typically requiring cesarean delivery). As the fibroid tumors grow larger, it might cause a swollen abdomen.
- From a fertility perspective, fibroids can inhibit implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus. No one knows for sure what causes uterine fibroids, but we do know they are affected by the body’s levels of estrogen and progesterone. 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.
How Chinese Medicine and 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. 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 are used to help restore optimal blood flow to the pelvic organs. 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.
How Western Medicine Treats Uterine Fibroids?
- If you have fibroids but do not have any symptoms, you may not need treatment. Your doctor will check during your regular exams to see if they have grown.
- If you experience symptoms of fibroids, however, Western medical treatment varies from hormonal suppression to surgery. Various medications may be prescribed to offer pain relief, control heavy bleeding, and/or halt or shrink the growth of the fibroids. If you experience moderate to severe symptoms, surgery may be required.