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Traditional Chinese Medicine

WHAT IS TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE?

Originating in ancient China, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has been practised for about 2,500 years. It is all about achieving balance between the two opposing forces of yin and yang, allowing easy movement of energy throughout the body. It is believed that an imbalance of yin and yang causes disease.

TCM uses Chinese herbal medicine, acupuncture, gentle exercise and tailored diet and lifestyle guidelines to prevent and treat disease.

HOW CAN TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE HELP WOMEN WITH PCOS?

TCM does not recognise PCOS as a specific condition, but it does recognise and treat the root cause of the many symptoms that a woman with PCOS may have.

Interestingly though, in TCM, the reasons for these symptoms are very different to what you might expect. For example, irregular or absent ovulation and menstruation may be caused by a kidney deficiency and the symptoms of insulin resistance including ovarian cysts may be caused by a spleen deficiency.

A TCM practitioner assess's each individual and comes up with a tailored plan for that person. It is very much about the individual so no two women with PCOS may have the same treatment.

TCM is a thorough, natural, holistic approach to treating PCOS and should be considered as valid a treatment pathway as other stand alone treatments like Naturopathy and Ayurveda.

SOME SPECIFIC TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE TREATMENTS FOR PCOS

ACUPUNCTURE is used to balance the yin and yang and allow ease of movement of energy by inserting fine needles into energy points on the body. It is largely painless and can have powerful effects on your health. Many women achieve pregnancy and improved PCOS symptoms from acupuncture alone. It has been studied increasingly and has been found to increase success rates of IVF, decrease testosterone and luteinising hormone and improve insulin sensitivity.

DONG QUAI is a root used in traditional Chinese medicine to reduce stagnation in the reproductive organs of women. It may bring on menstruation, balance hormones, reduce inflammation and fatigue, and improve your chances of conceiving. It should not be used during your period, during pregnancy or prior to having surgery.

MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE WITH TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE

I came to TCM after already exploring diet and lifestyle changes, Naturopathy and Ayurveda. I hadn't really considered TCM before but I had been traveling with my husband for a few months, I had long since run out of Ayurvedic medicine, my PCOS symptoms were rampant, and we were now in China. We also knew we wanted to start trying to conceive in a couple of months so I thought I should definitely check it out.

I found Dr Lily. She was a well respected, well known TCM Doctor in Yangshuo and I liked her right away. She felt the pulse in my wrist, looked at my tongue and asked me some random questions. It all resulted in her telling me I had a kidney deficiency (kidney? what?) and made a STRONG brew for me to drink for the next three days. After 60 days with no period, I got my period right away. I went back to see her and as we were leaving China soon, she gave me two months of tea leaves to take with me. My backpack was truly loaded. This wasn't the kind of finely crushed tea leaves you find in a tea bag, this was satty bags filled with strips of bark, leaves and flowers.

Well we took it to Nepal and I drank it every day. I felt great. My next cycle was a perfect 28 days, something I hadn't seen in over 2 years.

Miraculously, on my next cycle and our one lone attempt at conceiving a baby (I had had the flu), I became pregnant. It would have been a 31 day cycle. We were overjoyed. It was unbelievable actually and it took a while for us to settle into the news. We were still traveling.

Sadly, at 13 weeks we lost the baby. You can hear more about this story here and here.

When I finally recovered from the surgery and we were back in Australia, 5 months had passed and we were ready to TTC again. I had had a great 28 day cycle post surgery but the one after this was 36 days. I didn't want to risk a low quality egg being implanted as the thought of increasing our chances of another miscarriage was unbearable. So I turned again to TCM.

I sought a TCM Doctor in Coffs Harbour who had been practicing for over 30 years. He was lovely and treated me with very similar herbs to Dr Lily (who had provided me with a list of the herbs she used).

He also advised me to wait until I was at least 6 months post miscarriage, preferably a year to try and conceive again. Dr Lily had said the same thing...I ignored their advice as mentally, I couldn't wait. I couldn't bare the thought of not being pregnant on our first baby's due date. So we TTC right away and sure enough, we fell pregnant immediately. It would have been a 30 day cycle.

I am beyond happy to say that my son is almost 2 years old now and I am a very proud mama.

TCM worked for me. Immediately. The effect it had on my cycle was amazing. I am still breastfeeding and wanting to stay away from strong medicines but when our breastfeeding journey is over, I really look forward to starting with TCM again. I believe it is the treatment pathway for me.

And I'm not the only one. There are many women treating and even curing their PCOS using TCM.

OTHER TREATMENT PATHWAYS TO EXPLORE

Ayurvedic (Indian) Medicine
Naturopathy
Functional Medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine
Western Pharmaceutical Medicine
Yoga, massage, meditation and reiki
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