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A Cold Uterus: How it influences menstruation, fertility and pregnancy

A Cold Uterus: How it influences menstruation, fertility and pregnancy

The Uterus from a Chinese medicine perspective

In TCM the uterus, Bao Gong, is not seen as an isolated organ, but includes the ovaries, the fallopian tubes and the cervix. It´s also called the “palace of the child”. The extraordinary vessels Ren Mai and Chong Mai go through the uterus. They help regulate menstruation, conception and pregnancy. As a result, the uterus has several functions such as: stores and excretes the menstrual blood; stores the kidney-essence “jing”; triggers ovulation; thickens the endometrium; receives the sperm and carries and supplies the embryo until birth.

The heart is closely connected to the uterus via the uterus vessel, Bao Mai. That´s why, mental-emotional problems have such a profound impact on the uterus. The kidneys connect to the uterus via the uterus channel Bao Luo. Above all, a proper functioning liver, heart and spleen supply the uterus with blood.

Cold invading the uterus

Cold in the uterus is a very common gynaecological pathology. In other words, kidney yang is lacking, and qi (yang = heat) is no longer able to move liquids (yin = blood). As a result, the blood cannot flow and circulate optimally.

Cold in the uterus often penetrates into the body from the outside. This can happen by:

  • excessive consumption of cold foods (ice cream, raw food, ice-cold drinks, etc.)
  • excessive sports in winter
  • swimming, sitting on cold surfaces especially during menstruation
  • feeling cold due to sparse clothing on the feet and lower legs
  • having sex while menstruating
  • live or work in a damp and cold environment

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How Chinese medicine diagnoses a cold uterus

A cold uterus in Chinese medicine is diagnosed when three different patterns and signs simultaneously appear:

  • the area below belly button feels cooler to the touch than the rest of the abdomen
  • kidney-yang deficiency
  • blood-stasis

The kidney-yang regulates, among other things: our inner fire, ensures that we are warm, gives us enough drive, preserves vitality and willpower.

Possible signs of kidney-yang deficiency are

  • exhaustion
  • difficulty concentrating
  • loss of joie de vivre and vitality up to depression
  • lower back pain esp. before period
  • pain relieved by application of heat
  • chronic cold to ice-cold feet, esp. at night
  • low libido
  • feeling cold and aversion to cold
  • regular urinating at night or in the early morning hours
  • loose, urgent stools or diarrhea, esp. when period starts
  • cramps during period that improve to a heating pad
  • profuse vaginal discharge
  • frequent urination
  • low BBT readings

Blood stasis never arises independently (like e.g. liver-qi stagnation) but is always the consequence of other conditions and patterns, usually after a long period of time. Thus, there are no aetiological factors like diet, emotions, etc. that give rise to blood-stasis by themselves.

Possible signs of blood-stasis are

  • painful periods with dark blood and large-dark clots
  • dark circles under the eyes
  • mid-cycle pain around your ovaries
  • painful, unmovable lumps in breast or thyroid
  • haemorrhoids
  • blood clots in menstruation blood
  • veins under tongue are distended and / or dark
  • irregular periods
  • fibroids
  • spider veins
  • endometriosis
  • myoma
  • amenorrhoea
  • menstrual cramps with a pain that is fixed, boring, or stabbing in quality
  • cherry-red spots on your skin (often on the upper body)
  • hesitant start of the periods
  • periods starts and stops
  • period starting and ending with a brownish discharge
  • tongue may have purple sides

Myomas / fibroids, endometriosis and PCOS all present with signs of blood stasis.

How blood stasis affects your period

In women, the lower abdomen contains the uterus which stores blood. As a result, women are much more prone to blood stasis than men. If blood stasis occurs the menstrual blood can contain blood clots, usually dark and large ones. Blood stasis often causes pain but not always. If there is pain, then it´s an intense, stabbing and fixed one.

What happens during menstruation? The uterus contracts to help expel its lining. In conclusion, if there is blood stagnation in the uterus, the blood is not flowing freely and this often leads to painful cramping. Furthermore, the congealed blood accumulates and forms blood clots.

How does the endometrium support nidation?

The anterior and posterior walls of the uterus contract like a closed fist that holds the embryo in one place until it is safely in its endometrial bed. This gentle pressure can be created by the uterus, if it is warm and not too dry or too moist.

If there are imbalances, as may be the case with women with kidney-yang deficiency the fluid is not properly absorbed. The surface of the endometrium is sometimes too slippery or, according to TCM, too “moist/damp” to provide support for the foetus.

General tips for warming your uterus

  • Eat warm, easy-digestible and nourishing foods
  • Avoid tropical fruits and too much raw food
  • Cut out cold drinks and foods, esp. from the refrigerator
  • Avoid alcohol and coffee
  • Eat an antioxidants rich diet
  • Exercise moderately
  • Take hot baths
  • Keep your feet, lower back and legs and abdomen always warm
  • Don´t sit on cold surfaces or go for a swim while menstruating

How does Chinese medicine treat a cold uterus?

Chinese medicine gives diet recommendations for easy-to-digest, warming and blood invigorating foods. In addition, herbs for strengthening kidney-yang, expelling cold in the uterus and invigorating blood are given. Furthermore, acupuncture is used to strengthen the Qi to support the movement of blood, treating the underlying imbalance and nourishing the kidneys.

References

Obstetrics and Gynecology in Chinese Medicine. 2nd Edition. by Giovanni Maciocia

Also see my other articles

 

What are low AMH levels or Anti-Mullerian hormone and how does it affect fertility?

How to Improve your Fertility Naturally

Female Sexuality & Chinese Medicine: Solving Sexual Problems Naturally

Chinese medicine: How the kidneys influence your fertility

Coffee – Is it Good or Bad for your Health?

Have you been trying to get pregnant for a long time and would you like to benefit from the knowledge of Chinese medicine, which has been tried and tested for thousands of years? I would be happy to talk to you about the options in my TCM practice. Get in touch with me. I am looking forward to meeting you.

What are low AMH levels or Anti-Mullerian hormone and how does it affect fertility?

What are low AMH levels or Anti-Mullerian hormone and how does it affect fertility?

Low AMH levels detection

Many women come to see me for a fertility consultation after being diagnosed with low AMH levels by their gynaecologist.

This can be devastating news as they then believe that they have little or no chance at all of falling pregnant naturally, and also have a reduced success rate of artificial insemination (AI) or in vivo fertilisation (IVF). Furthermore, they often believe that their only option to conceive may be through the use of a donor egg.

What is the AMH hormone and how can it be measured?

The Anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) is secreted by cells in developing egg sacs within the follicles of the ovaries. Each woman is born with an ovarian reserve which is the total number of eggs that she will ever produce in her life. With age, the ovarian reserve of a woman naturally decreases until she reaches menopause and consequently, the AMH levels diminish as well. Therefore, the AMH level reflects the number of eggs carried through the maturation process and will always be looked at on an age-based scale.

The AMH level test can be done on any day of the menstrual cycle. The higher the AMH level, the more eggs a woman has, and consequently her chances of falling pregnant are increased.

Some patients have decreased or very low AMH levels and therefore fewer eggs, this condition is called diminished ovarian reserve (DOR).

Can women with low AMH level or diminished ovarian reserve still conceive?

To better understand this, we need to look closely at the process of follicle maturation. Before follicles develop, they are microscopic in size and are named primordial follicles. Even though they do not produce detectable amounts of AMH, they are still in the tissue of the ovaries.

After a maturation process of approximately 10 months in the ovaries they develop large enough to appear in the ultrasound imaging and are called antral follicles. At this antral follicle size, they begin to produce quantifiable amounts of AMH.

If AMH levels are very low or undetectable, it does not necessarily mean there are no eggs left in the ovaries. However, it will tell us if there are fewer than normal, depending on the age of the woman concerned.

Therefore, women with very low or undetectable AMH levels still have a chance to conceive without an egg donor. The younger the woman, the better the chance of conception. 

pregnancy low ahm level chinese medicine

Which factors can contribute to reduced AMH levels?

  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Ovarian or cyst surgery
  • Endometriosis
  • Environmental toxins
  • Smoking and drinking alcohol regular
  • Overweight (BMI >25)
  • Accelerated aging due to lifestyle
  • Low blood circulation to the ovaries
  • Poor nutrition
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Chemotherapy medications
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Genetic factors

How can Acupuncture and Chinese medicine help with low AMH level

In my practice, we will embark on an investigation to work out any underlying causes for your low AMH level. As a result some nutrition and lifestyle changes may be necessary. And, although the egg quantity can’t be changed we can certainly improve egg health significantly and also create better health conditions.

Regular acupuncture sessions and herbal treatment are said to:

  • promote and increase blood flow to the ovaries
  • result in healthier eggs with higher fertilisation rates
  • create an optimal environment for the egg to mature properly
  • support you physically and emotionally in your process
  • improve correct hormone functions
  • maintain a healthy pregnancy and prevent miscarriage
  • helps optimal uterine lining
  • increase stress response
  • lower high levels of cortisol

Diet in Chinese medicine is another very important factor. The nutrition advice differs from person to person due to their given Chinese medicine diagnosis. However, some general advice exists for improving the chances to conceive.

Women with low AMH level should:

  • eat mostly whole foods and eliminate processed foods
  • eliminate sugar which can cause inflammation and other health issues
  • consume protein from vegetables, white meat and fish
  • reduce or avoid completely red meat
  • reduce coffee and black tea

Yoga – Can it improve fertility in women with low AMH levels?

Women affected with low AMH levels can increase their fertility with yoga. Through my diagnosis based on Chinese medicine, I know which meridians (energy pathways connected with the inner organs) are concerned and I can offer specific yoga poses which strengthen these meridians.

Hormon yoga for fertility will also help to:

  • reduce anxiety, worries and stress
  • improve the blood circulation to the ovaries and uterus
  • improve flexibility in the hip and pelvic area
  • can help to improve or heal underlying responsible conditions

A customised set of yoga postures is a real booster for conceiving more easily and can afterwards result in a healthy pregnancy and good delivery.

These articles could be interesting for you as well:

How to improve your fertility naturally

A Cold Uterus: How it influences menstruation, fertility and pregnancy

Chinese medicine: How the Kidneys influence your Fertility

Female Sexuality & Chinese Medicine: Solving Sexual Problems Naturally

Coffee – Is it Good or Bad for your Health?

 

How would it feel to free yourself from your symptoms? Ready to change and invest time and energy to get to the root of your problem? Then book your session now. I am looking forward to meeting you.

How to Improve your Fertility Naturally

How to Improve your Fertility Naturally

Many couples having fertility issues or trouble sustaining a pregnancy, decide to receive help from hormonal treatments in reproductive health care. Some also turn to holistic medicines known as alternative, natural, integrative and complementary medicines. Natural therapies have been used for centuries all over the world to improve fertility and they are gaining more and more attention today. The aim of natural therapies is to stimulate the healing power of the body and treat the underlying cause of disease to restore health.

How can natural medicines support the fertility process?

It is important to understand that conceiving is not only a physical process but implies a huge mind-body connection. Besides the absence or unbalance of spermatozoids or ovules, the most common reasons for infertility are related to stress, sleep deprivation, weight issues and cycle confusion, to name a few. Conception is a hugely complex hormonal process (and still to be fully understood) and therefore some imbalances in your body will have an important impact on the success rate.

Natural medicines help restore balance, to create a healthy properly functioning body. This in turn makes conceiving possible, leads you through a good pregnancy, and above all aids in the development of a healthy baby.

In the conception phase, the therapy would typically include advice on changes in lifestyle and diet, use of vitamins and minerals, acupuncture and if necessary herbal medicines and Bach flower essences. It is a gentle approach, non-invasive, and has no side adverse effects. It can be done solely or in addition to a hormonal therapy.

How can Traditional Chinese Medicine help with conceiving?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) sees a person as an energy system in which body and mind are unified, each influencing and balancing the other. Diagnosis and treatment in TCM are based on studying the purpose, flow, and impact of energy in the body. It includes acupuncture, Chinese herbs, moxibustion and cupping, to name a few. The basic foundation for it is that Qi, or life energy, flows through the body. This energy flows in channels also known as meridians that connect all of our organs. According to Chinese medicine theory, illnesses and imbalances arise when the flow of Qi in the meridians becomes unbalanced or is blocked.

In the treatment of fertility issues, acupuncture is said to

  • regulate the female cycle which is a precondition for conceiving.
  • balance hormones, so that ovulation happens or is increased.
  • improve the quality of sperm cells (quantity, motility, morphology) and ovules.
  • support the blood supply to the uterus.
  • increase the thickness of the endometrium.
  • lower stress and anxiety.
  • help with sleeping disorders and weight problems.
  • reduce the side effects of hormonal therapy.
  • improves the chances of successful implantation on the day of embryo transfer.
  • overcome sexual difficulties e.g. impotence, pain during intercourse, etc.

Why is optimising the nutrition important to boost the chances?

Dietary considerations based on Chinese medicine for men and women can significantly increase the chances for a pregnancy. A healthy digestive system allows nutrients to be absorbed and used well. Optimal nutrition provides a high quality of sperm and an optimal ovarian environment for the eggs during the maturation process. It also contributes to an ideal condition in the uterus for implantation of the embryo and development of the baby. Other factors that will be addressed include: being overweight or underweight, digestive issues such as reflux, bloating, bowel disorders, chronic constipations, cravings or low and high appetite. Chinese medicine offers dietary advice with regard to your individual constitution and situation. Sometimes vitamin and mineral supplements will be added.

How can Bach flower essences support the process?

Often while trying to conceive a myriad of emotions are experienced: depression, anxiety, worry, sadness, resentment, jealousy and fear. Dr Bach, a physician and homeopath, discovered and developed a system of 38 flower essences in which each flower relates to a particular characteristic or emotional state. You will receive a unique blend of a combination of flower essences that will address your personality, your emotional needs and goals.

Why do meditation and yoga increase your chances to conceive?

Meditation is the process of quieting the mind through different methods e.g. single-pointed concentration and breath techniques. Scientific studies proved that regular meditation lessens stress, worries, anxiety and supports balanced hormone levels in men and women. Through regular yoga practice cortisol levels will  decrease and consequently the monthly level of luteinizing hormones will increase, leading to healthy ovulation.

Yoga postures are selected based upon your personal condition, and can aid e.g. to balance hormone levels, to improve the blood circulation of the uterus and to support the healing of digestion and sleeping disorders. These postures are a great way to prepare your body for pregnancy as well as lead you through pregnancy in optimal shape. Practicing yoga can also reduce or avoid e.g. miscarriages, the retention of water, tensions and pain syndromes.

What can you expect from a first consultation?

During the first appointment we look at your personal situation, medical history and lifestyle habits. Following is a treatment and we will finish with a discussion about how to proceed and whether herbs are necessary and advice on nutrition and lifestyle.

How would it feel to free yourself from your symptoms?  Ready to change and invest time and energy to get to the root of your problem? Then book your session now. I am looking forward to meeting you.