Can Chinese Medicine Treat Gynaecological Issues?

By Steven Clavey

The treatment of women’s disorders with Chinese herbal medicine can be remarkably successful (see scientific research on: infertility, endometriosis, gynaecological painmenopause and post-menopause osteoporosis) and this is partly because “women’s problems” are considered within the context of the whole body and its functioning.

Chinese herbal gynaecology differs from Western gynaecology in three areas: the diagnosis, the treatment, and the type of problem each handles best.

Let’s look at the last one first. Western gynaecology, like all of Western medicine, attends first and foremost to problems affecting the structure of the body, “organic” diseases detected by visual or microscopic examination of the tissues of the organs involved. Treatment then involves repair, excision, or replacement of the diseased tissue, or identification and destruction of an invading pathogen. The advantages of this type of approach are certainty of diagnosis (when tissues have in fact already been affected) and focussed treatment. The disadvantages start to show up when the disease has not yet reached the stage of tissue damage, in which case diagnostic tests are often inconclusive, and treatment hampered or impossible because of inability to define just what the problem is.

This is precisely the area, however, to which Chinese gynaecology and Chinese medicine in general addresses itself: the realm of “functional” disorder, a lack of coordination somewhere in the vast, finely-tuned biosystem of the body, which may not as yet have perceptibly damaged the body structurally. Endometriosis, for example, does not just happen overnight; it begins to develop long beforehand, and the signs of this development can be spotted in advance.

You may also like to view the post: Chinese medicine and endometriosis.

In Chinese gynaecology, we pay attention to the regularity, amount, colour and texture of the menstrual flow, and correct abnormalities as they arise. PMS and period pain are considered pathological in China, and are treated as such.