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Women’s Health & Gynaecologyical treatment with Traditional Chinese Medicine — Chinese Herbal Medicine Practitioner / Herbalist Shirley Chong

Women’s Health & Gynaecology

women's health and chinese herbal medicine

Shirley provides treatment in all areas of women’s health, from your first period through to menopause. (For fertility treatment, please click here)

Many women assume symptoms that they have been living with for a long time are part of their ‘normal’ cycles. This isn’t true. Your health can improve.

Together we can understand what lies at the root of your symptoms, and co-create a personalized wellness plan to return your body to its natural, healthy rhythms.

Read all about how Shirley treat women’s health issues with Chinese Medicine or click on the condition that interest you : –

Overview
Unexplained Dysmenorrhoea (Painful Periods)
Irregular Period (Hormone Imbalance)
Premenstrual Syndrome/Tension (PMT or PMS)
Endometriosis and Fibroids
Perimenopause and Menopause
Premature Menopause
Vaginal Discharge and Itching
The Next Step

Overview

Working as a pharmacist, Shirley often sees women feel quite frustrated and deadlocked with the limited solutions in western gynaecological treatment. Generally, pain killers, hormone pills or injection, and surgery are the few options. Many women don’t like them because of their side effects or invasiveness. Little did they know, symptom like period pain or even hot flushes is considered ‘pathological’ and being ‘cured’ in China using Chinese Medicine.

Gynaecology has been practiced as a specialty way back in the history of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Enormous amount of gynaecological knowledge, clinical experiences and herbal formula have been recorded, and they are still being used with great success today.

So, although you may have been living with your symptoms most of your life, they don’t have to continue. With some patience and commitment, these symptoms can be treated, even ‘cured’** with Chinese Medicine.

(**Note: ‘Cured’ is defined as symptoms have subsided for more than three menstrual cycles, and symptoms don’t not return after stopping herbs. Yet, it is possible symptoms may flare up if patients are not taking good care of themselves. Major emotional upset, lifestyle/diet changes can trigger the symptoms too)

Unexplained Dysmenorrhoea (Painful Periods)

Although mild discomfort in the lower abdomen/pelvis during menstruation is normal, excessive or when it becomes unbearable is not. In severe cases, some women are incapacitated for up to 3 days.

Quite often dysmenorrhoea (painful periods) is unexplained, which means no specific known cause. There aren’t many treatments available in Western Medicine. NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory) and hormone pills are the two commonly used medicine. Unfortunately, they both can cause many side effects and are contraindicated in patients who have gastric ulcers and history of migraine respectively.

This is where Chinese Herbal Medicine can offer an alternative. Based on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theory, Shirley uses a different set of parameters to determine what is happening in the body and how to treat it. She asks about the nature of the pain (sharp or dull, relieved by warmth or pressure, any other accompanying symptoms); she pays specific attention to timing (pain occurs preceding period, during or at the end of period) and many other details (for example menstrual flow, presence of clots etc).

The results are remarkable. Most women can wane off hormone pill, and rarely need to take pain killer.

Irregular Period (Hormone Imbalance)

— including heavy or scanty Period, absence of period (amenorrhoea)

Irregular period usually indicates some degrees of hormonal imbalance. Generally, missing a period, heavy or scanty bleed, early or late period once or twice a year, is not a major health issue. When we are under stress, changing diet or exercise patterns, sudden weight gain or loss can change our period regularity. However, when periods become irregular for more than three to six months, this is when help is required.

There are women who never establish a regular cycle, although the reasons for this are unclear in Western Medicine, there are explanations in Chinese Medicine. Menstruation can be regulated with Chinese Herbs, and this is especially useful if you are planning to fall pregnant. Regular period makes ovulation more predictable.

If irregular periods don’t bother you and there is no health risk found, do you still need to treat it? It is up to you. However, Chinese Medicine believes when there is imbalance (eg imbalance of Yin and Yang, flow of Qi & Blood is interrupted), it not only affects the regularity of the periods, emotional fluctuations, sleep disturbances, digestive disorders may occur too. Many women are surprised that once their periods are regulated with Chinese herbs, there are relief of many other symptoms. Hence, a healthy rhythm is surely beneficial for general well being and emotional health.

Premenstrual Syndrome/Tension (PMT or PMS)

There are more than 100 symptoms been identified as PMS symptoms, and PMS differs from one woman to the next. Some commonly seen symptoms include breast tenderness, fluid retention, changes in bowel motions, mouth ulcers, irritability, anger, depression, acne, headache, anxiety, bloating and many others.

PMS can be extremely frustrating. Some women have such severe symptoms that their lives – from relationships with family and friends, to work productivity and the ability to simply relax or do things they like are disrupted for a week or two each and every month.

PMS aka symptoms that occur rhythmically with periods had been observed and recorded in Chinese Medical Literature dated back thousands years ago. Herbal treatment for specific symptom have been passing down and still being used with positive results. Whether you suffer from PMS on an occasional or a monthly basis, and whether if you have tried other therapies, Chinese Herbal Medicine can offer a safe, natural and effective alternative to alleviate the symptoms.

Endometriosis and Fibroid

Although in most cases, gynaecological conditions we mentioned above are unexplained, they could also caused by two common and serious conditions — endometriosis and fibroid. Western Medicine treatments often involve surgery. In China, these conditions sometimes are treated with Chinese Herbs alone or combined with surgery. In mild cases, small polyps and endometriosis tissues can be ‘cleared’ with Chinese Herbs alone. Although these are only case studies and no major clinical trial has been done to prove its efficacy, many Chinese Medicine practitioners have found herbs are very useful in these conditions.

Chinese Medicine believes there are underlying causes for endometriosis and fibroid especially in recurrence cases and cases that surgery alone can’t address. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine theory, endometriosis is caused by “sluggishness and stagnation of blood flow” in the pelvis area. This stagnation if is not treated early will eventually become visible by laparoscopy which is known as endometrial lesion.

There are a few factors can contribute to “sluggishness of blood flow”, for instance, “coldness in lower body”. Typically, women with endometriosis, who also feels cold easily and suffers from cold period pain or lower back pain that can be relieved by warmth are thought to have “coldness in lower body” . Since “cold” can slow down blood flow, if this underlying cause is not addressed, endometriosis tends to return after surgery. In this case, Chinese Medicine treatment not only try to “remove the blood stagnation”, also aim to “warm up the lower body” and “move the circulation”. Removing the blood stagnation is to relieve the symptoms; “warming” and “moving the circulation” are to prevent future relapses. This is a more holistic approach to treating endometriosis.


Perimenopause and Menopause

Hot flushes, night sweats, sleeping disorders are grouped under “Kidney Yin Deficiency” syndrome in Chinese Medicine. It is not merely a coincidence that they are also the classical symptoms of menopausal symptoms. In Chinese Medicine, ‘Kidney’ is considered an ‘organ system’ (not the organ itself but a system in the body) that governs our growth, development and aging. Yin and Yang in Kidney will deteriorate with ages. When Yin deteriorates, menopausal symptoms are its manifestation; when Yang becoming deficient, loss of libido becomes apparent.

How Chinese Medicine treat menopausal symptoms are reasonably simple, replenishing the lost Yin and possibly lost Yang as well. Of course, we still age and these symptoms may come and go, yet we age more gracefully with much milder symptoms and able to handle them better. In many cases, patients feel a great sense of wellness after taking the herbs.

Premature Menopause

Recently, there are much talks about premature menopause (menopause before 40). A recent studies showed that 7.4 per cent of women experienced the condition, a much higher rate than we previously thought. Although the cause (whether is due to modern lifestyle or previously under-diagnosed) is still unknown, hormone replacement therapy is recommended by conventional medicine as the main treatment.

Similar to Menopause, depending on the symptoms manifested, premature menopause usually classified under “Kidney Yin Deficiency”. However, it is not a simply an ‘aging’ issue anymore, highly stressful work and family life complicates this condition, as well as its treatment. We know we can’t eliminate stress, it is part of life. What could make a difference is our reaction to it. Chinese Medicine Practitioner can prescribe herbs that support the body, and “shen” (mind and soul), so enhancing the coping abilities of a patient.

For instance, if our bodies are healthy and strong, we will have more energy to do what we want to and meant to do. If our “shen” is calm and balanced, our emotions will not be affected by the daily hiccups or up and down of life as easily. Of course, at the end of the day, it is still equally important that patient try their best to eliminate unnecessary stress. Yet, while we are all trying to get through life, Chinese Herbal Medicine can help throughout the journey.

Vaginal Discharge & Itching

All women experience some amount of vaginal discharge. Discharge is a way the vaginal ‘cleans’ itself, getting rid of old dead cells inside the vaginal lining. Healthy vaginal discharge is usually clear or milky and doesn’t smell bad. It is thicker during pregnancy, ovulation and menstrual cycles. However, when the colour, amount, consistency and smell of the discharge alters, and/or accompanying with other symptoms (eg vaginal itching, burning or redness), then it needs to be looked at.

In Western Medicine, abnormal vaginal discharges and itching are usually related to infection, and are treated with antifungal or antibiotics.

Chinese Medicine believes one of the main cause is ‘dampness’. There are two types of ‘dampness’ – external and internal. External dampness can be explained as infection, or it can also caused by living in a damp environment for long period of time. In contrast, internal dampness is generated in the body because of weakening organ functions. In the later case, vaginal discharge is recurrent and unfortunately frequent use of antifungal or antibiotics may make the condition worse. Chinese Medicine uses herbs to clear the ‘dampness’ to relieve the symptoms, and strengthen the organs to prevent recurrence.

THE NEXT STEP

Now that you’ve read more about the treatment Shirley offers, it’s time to learn more about Shirley’s experiences and get to know her more by clicking here. If you’ve already read enough and are ready to be in touch, please click here to be in contact with us.

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