Treating Fibroids with Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional chinese Medicine to treat fibroids
Traditional Chinese Medicine helps treat fibroids and many other health issues!

Traditional Chinese Medicine Addresses the Root Cause of Fibroids

For this blog, I welcome my cousin Elisabeth (Libby) Horesh, who owns 2 Acupuncture clinics in Massachusetts. She is a licensed acupuncturist and one of only a handful of fellows of the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine (ABORM) in the state of Massachusetts.

She became interested in Chinese medicine after being diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome in her twenties. After trying Chinese medicine rather than typical western treatments her symptoms completely resolved.

As some of you know, I went to acupuncture and took Chinese herbs after being diagnosed with fibroids. During this time, although deemed “impossible” by traditional doctors, my fibroids decreased in size and number. So, today, I am publishing the first of a series of posts discussing Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to treat women’s health concerns.

Julie’s TCM + Fibroid Experience

I experimented with Chinese herbs for my fibroids, specifically Guizhi Fuling Wan. After using this formula for just a few months, my fibroid size reduced. (Note from Libby: “An important thing to note here, is that this particular formula was good for Julie’s case of fibroids.  In traditional Chinese herbal medicine, there are a number of different formulas that could be used for fibroids based on each woman’s individual pathology.”)

I also did weekly acupuncture for 3 months. Doing this resolved most of my symptoms and my periods were not as heavy. I lost weight and felt less fatigued.

My acupuncturist said Chinese Medicine is most effective for fibroids under 5cm (size of a lemon). Because my largest fibroid was 15 centimeters, I needed surgery. Had I known about the efficacy of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) years prior, I could have avoided surgery. Traditional Chinese Medicine is proven to reduce and even eradicate fibroids, and it helps with the underlying hormonal balance. Unlike Western medicine, it is designed to solve the imbalance long-term, rather than mask the symptoms.

Let’s have my cousin, Elisabeth (Libby) Horesh take over to explain the details.

Elisabeth obtained her undergraduate degree in 2004 from Boston College in English and Environmental Geoscience. She has a Masters in Oriental Medicine from the New England School of Acupuncture. This degree included training in traditional Chinese Acupuncture as well as in Chinese herbal medicine. Following five years as a general practitioner of Chinese Medicine, Elisabeth became Board Certified in Oriental Reproductive Medicine. She owns 2 Acupuncture clinics in Massachusetts.

A Primer in Traditional Chinese Medicine: It’s About Balance

Enter Elisabeth Horesh, aka Julie’s Cousin:

Traditional Chinese medicine has many different components but the root of Chinese medicine is all about balance.   Balancing your own internal energy, as well as maintaining balance with the world around you.  Everything in Chinese medicine can be distilled down to the theory of Yin and Yang.  These opposite, but interconnected energies are the foundation for understanding health, as well as diagnosing and treating illnesses.   

There are a number of ways to keep the balance of Yin and Yang within the body.  Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are two of the ways, but individualized nutrition, a specific type of Chinese massage Tui na, and movement therapy (including Tai chi and Qi gong) are all a part of the system of Traditional Chinese medicine.

How Traditional Chinese Medicine Works for Fibroids and Other Health Concerns

In traditional Chinese medicine it is typical and ideal to use a combination of herbs to get the desired therapeutic effect.  The herbs in each formula balance each other, and all together help to shrink fibroids, move qi and blood in the body, and clear dampness.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, uterine fibroids can be caused by a combination of different imbalances.  Qi deficiency,  a disharmony between Qi and blood (blood stagnation), and dampness and phlegm are some of the most common pathologies that can over time lead to uterine fibroids. 

It is important to note that typically it takes years of these types of imbalances to lead to the physical manifestation of fibroids.  However, there are signs and symptoms that show up well before the actual fibroids themselves.  A TCM practitioner should be able to recognize those and hopefully help treat you preemptively!  

Blood Stagnation & Dampness; Just Some of The Root Causes of Fibroids in Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese medicine is individualized and holistic, which is what makes it so effective. But it’s also a difficult thing to study in the western medical world of randomized controlled trials.  

As a provider, I can have two different patients that may present with the same exact western medical pathology, but whom I may treat completely differently with regards to the acupuncture points and herbs I would use.  

Using Julie as an example, she came with her fibroids manifesting as dampness, and blood stagnation.  Her herbal and nutritional treatment was focused on helping move her qi and blood, drain dampness, and prevent more dampness from accumulating in the body.    

Another way fibroids can manifest is with blood deficiency leading to blood stagnation.  A great way of explaining this type of pathology in Chinese medicine, is if you think of the blood coursing through your body in your vessels like a garden hose.  If there isn’t enough water running through the hose it will slowly trickle instead of moving efficiently.  In Chinese medicine, if there is not enough blood in the body, the blood will move slowly, and start to stagnate and create physical masses in the body, such as fibroids. 

In this scenario I would want to suggest the patient eat more blood-building foods such as dark leafy, greens, berries, beets, and red meat.  Acupuncture and herbs would be focused on treating that underlying blood deficiency so that the blood would be able to move easier within the body.

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A Sense of Empowerment with Traditional Chinese Medicine

In traditional Chinese medicine, providers use signs and symptoms, as well as tongue and pulse diagnosis to come up with a comprehensive plan to achieve balance within the patient’s body and relieve the patient of their medical ailments. 

It is a system of medicine that is highly individualized, and takes some work by the patient as well, which can be incredibly empowering as the patient starts to feel better and realize  that they have control over their own health and wellness!

Blending Functional Health and TCM For Ultimate Balance

Western medicine is designed to “treat” health issues with prescriptions and surgeries. It is sick care, not well care. Functional Health is becoming more important as people realize we can affect our health with a holistic view of our health.  TCM fundamentally believes in balance—the Yin and the Yang and integrity of our life force. 

Just like there is a balance in Traditional Chinese medicine itself, there should also be a balance of western and eastern medical treatments. Functional health and TCM are ideal for prevention, but for most patients, we are using all three systems of medicine to help with symptom control, pain relief, and to achieve better health and wellness. 

Have You Used Traditional Chinese Medicine To Treat Fibroids, or Other Women’s Health Concerns?

Let us know in the comments!

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If you are located in Massachusetts,
you can book an appointment
with Libby or one of her trusted staff
at one of her clinics.

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