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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.

Chinese medicine: How the Kidneys influence your Fertility

Chinese medicine: How the Kidneys influence your Fertility

Fertility in Chinese Medicine and your kidneys

The kidneys belong to the water element in Traditional Chinese Medicine. They create our sense of being rooted in our life and feeling inner security. Most importantly, they are the foundation for all of the body’s yin and yang energies. Some of their functions are: govern growth, development, water metabolism, reproduction and aging. Furthermore, they store the kidney essence. Also called jing which is considered to be the root of life of all aspects of human life. In Chinese medicine we see a kidney deficiency as one of the most common causes for fertility issues.

Some mental-emotional signs that your kidneys are out of whack are:

  • Not wanting to be by oneself.
  • Fear of social gatherings.
  • Difficulties to love oneself.
  • Feeling of unworthiness.
  • Searching for the purpose in life.
  • Not feeling secure and rooted in life.
  • Not using one’s full potential.
  • Feeling critical with oneself and others.
  • Fear of financial insecurity and the future.
  • Defining oneself by its roles and status in life.

Do you identify yourself with many of these aspects? Then it’s very probable that your kidneys are out of balance.

Your kidneys strongly influence your fertility and menstruation. Consequently, a kidney deficiency is at the root of many women´s problems like: infertility, amenorrhea, scanty or heavy periods, irregular periods, endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and miscarriage. Let´s look today at their role in fertility.

Understanding kidney-yin and kidney-yang

The kidneys in Chinese medicine have a yin part (left kidney) and yang part (right kidney).

Kidney-yin corresponds to the parasympathetic nervous system and is responsible for restoration and regeneration. When deficient it can show symptoms of:

  • exhaustion
  • feeling of heat
  • frequent and sudden urination
  • restlessness and anxiety
  • insomnia and sleeping disorders
  • dry skin, eyes and mucous membranes
  • dizziness
  • dry mouth and throat
  • hot flushes
  • night sweats
  • spontaneous sweating
  • often constipation esp. before period
  • vaginal dryness
  • dark scanty urine
  • a pale face with flushed red cheeks
  • a red peeled tongue

Kidney-yang is the foundation of the yang qi in the whole body. Its mission is to warm the whole body to promote the proper functioning of all organs and tissues. Therefore, when deficient we can experience symptoms of:

  • exhaustion
  • difficulty concentrating
  • loss of joie de vivre and vitality up to depression
  • feeling cold and aversion to cold
  • declining or loss of libido
  • difficulty in urination and incontinence
  • excessive passage of urine at night
  • water retention and edema
  • lower backache esp. with menses
  • low BBT readings
  • often diarrhea esp. before or at the beginning of the period
  • cold feet
  • pale tongue

In practice we nearly always see a simultaneous deficiency of both as the two are inseparably linked. This can also lead to contradictory symptoms in women e.g.: feeling of heat of the face while having cold feet.

For getting a better understanding how they work together you could imagine that kidney-yin and kidney-yang are like an old-fashioned oil-lamp. Where kidney-yin is representing the oil and kidney-yang the flame. In other words, if there is not enough oil, the flame can die down and vice versa.

How the kidneys influence the fertilitzation process

In the reproductive system the kidney-yin is responsible for the quality of the ova (substance). While, the kidney-yang matures the follicles and provides the heat that ovulation can happen. Additionally, it is in charge of that the lining of the uterus thickens to prepare for the fertilized egg. As a result, we can see if ovulation happened in the BBT monitoring (basal body temperature) by a temperature rise after ovulation.

Consequently, we can conclude that if there are not many ova and / or the quality of the ova is poor the kidney-yin is weak. Whereas, a deficient kidney-yang can show the following symptoms: the ova is not ripening, ovulation is not happening and the uterus lining not thickening.

Furthermore, the ovaries produce the two sex hormones estrogen and progesterone. Both are crucial for conceiving and a healthy pregnancy. As a conclusion we can say that if there are low oestrogen levels, a woman can show symptoms of kidney-yin deficiency. Whereas, in case of low progesterone levels, symptoms of kidney-yang deficiency can be detected.

A kidney deficiency can be one of the reasons for recurrent miscarriages.

The main reasons for a kidney deficiency are: poor diet, chronic stress, long persisting emotional problems, certain medications, an inherited poor constitution, smoking and drinking too much alcohol.

Optimizing female fertility with natural therapies

Hormonal balance is then given when the warming (yang) and cooling (yin) functions of the body are well-balanced. For women showing any signs of kidney deficiency and menstruation problems the following treatments can be applied in my practice: dietary recommendations, acupuncture, herbal and yoga therapy and Bach flower essences.

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

Hormone Yoga Therapy: Balance your Hormones for Optimal 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!