The occurrence of uterine fibroids in one of the most common health concerns women face today. Fibroids, sometimes also called myomas, are believed to affect 20% to 80% women around the age of 50.
Fibroids are tumors that develop in the wall of a woman’s womb (uterus). They can develop into many tumors or grow as a single tumor in the uterus. Fibroids are usually not cancerous (benign) and can be as big as a grapefruit or as small as a seed. If they are large enough, they can usually be palpated. Small fibroids can be detected by CT scan, X-Ray, MRI, or ultrasound. Hormonal drug therapy and/or surgery are the Western modes of treatments for this condition.
In Western medicine, the real cause of fibroids is a mystery. Researchers theorize that genetics and hormone levels playa role in the development of fibroids. During pregnancy, when the levels of hormones are high, they tend to develop quickly. When anti-hormone drugs are utilized, the fibroids generally shrink. Once a woman reaches menopause and the levels of hormones decrease, growth is also decreased.
Acupuncturists and Chinese medicine practitioners believe estrogen is the main culprit for fibroid development. They think a strong correlation exists between the overproduction of estrogen by the body (a phenomenon commonly known as “estrogen dominance”) and fibroid growth.Thisimbalance in the hormones has been blamed on the eating of hormone-fed animal products as well as the overuse of petroleum-based products, both of which result in the overproduction of estrogen in the body. Estrogen feeds tissue growth and western studies were able to connect the rise of fibroids to heavy eating of meat-based products.
Fibroid symptoms can vary from woman to woman. There are those whose fibroids can result in heavy menstrual bleeding or severe pain while others may show no symptoms at all. Sometimes, pressure on the rectum or bladder brought about by the fibroids may lead to rectal pain or frequent urination. They can also cause complications during pregnancy and delivery, pain during intercourse, and low back pain. Fibroids may also contribute to infertility and menstrual cramps. They can cause the abdomen to enlarge, If they get very big,they give the appearance that a woman is obese or pregnant causing difficulty in movement. Some time back, fibroids were usually the basis for undergoing hysterectomy.
Uterine fibroids, in Chinese Medicine, can be categorized into two general types of stomach masses called JiJu. One type is the result of dampness that can transform into phlegm in the stomach.
Too much eating of foods producing damp and emotional stress can cause blood and qi to stagnate which can lead to fibroids.
The other type of fibroids is associated with yin inadequacy. A natural decline of Liver and Kidney and yin occurs when a women approaches menopause. But the process can become pathological if the yin inadequacy is severe as it may cause the body to produce more fluid or yin. Yin stasis is then the other cause of fibroid development.
Chinese medicine is very effective in treating fibroids. However, your acupuncturist or Chinese medicine practitioner should be able to distinguish between fibroids caused by phlegm, blood, and qi stasis and those caused by yin stasis. Qi gong, stomach massage, Chinese herbs, acupuncture in Edina, and topical herbal remedies such as lavender, frankincense, and castor oil packs can all help in the treatment of fibroids.
Typically, the prognosis is quite good if the size of fibroid is as small as a chicken egg. Fibroid growth may be halted if it’s much larger. Fibroids associated with blood and Qi stasis usually shrink on its own at menopause, while fibroids generated by yin stasis can grow. With Chinese medicine, surgery can be avoided, regardless of the cause.
If you are experiencing any abnormal symptoms associated with your menstrual cycle or you suspect fibroids, promptly consult with a qualified and reputable acupuncturist.