Successfully Treat Fibroids with Acupuncture & Herbs
For fibroids larger than a certain size, and/or if a gynecologist says the fibroid needs to come out immediately, then Chinese medicine is not a treatment option.
But the most common consensus among acupuncture gynecology specialists is that for fibroids around 3 cm and smaller, there’s a good chance Chinese medicine can successfully shrink them.
Many acupuncturists actually report successfully treating larger fibroids; and in fact most of the patients I’ve treated for fibroids have actually had masses larger than this.
The most recent case I treated was a woman in her early 30s with a fibroid approx. 6 cm. She was having heavy bleeding, irregular periods, urinary urgency, and abdominal discomfort. Her gynecologist was not worried about the fibroid, but did say if it continued to grow and cause heavier bleeding the next step would be surgery. She advised it was fine to try other options first.
With acupuncture and herbs this patient’s periods normalized and the pain and urine symptoms completely went away. Ultrasound verified that after 2.5 months of treatment, the fibroid had dramatically shrunk.
Are you a good candidate for acupuncture treatment for your fibroid?
If your doctor says your fibroid either doesn’t need to be removed immediately, or that you can take a few months to try Chinese medicine first before scheduling surgery, then you’re a perfect candidate for trying acupuncture and herbs.
My gynecology training
Due to differences in training and experience, some acupuncturists tell people that acupuncture and herbs can’t ever shrink fibroids and that the only option is surgery.
So in case you’ve been told that from another acupuncturist, I want to lend credence to what I’m writing here by giving a little background of my experience with fibroids.
Primary Acupuncture Training
My belief that we can treat fibroids began with my preliminary Chinese medicine education, where I was blessed to have a Chinese gynecology teacher who was the former Chief of Residents, OB/GYN at Shanghai Medical Hospital.
Because she was first a western gynecologist and worked in a setting where surgeries were performed when necessary, and then became a TCM practitioner and master herbalist, she was very aware when surgery was indicated, yet absolutely taught us treatments to disperse fibroids right along with everything else.
Clinical Gynecology Internship in China
My education continued when I lived in China for a stint to do clinical internships in a gynecology wing. In China they integrate medicine much more than we do here, so it was common for a patient to come in for her herbal consult (gynecology is primarily herbal medicine in China) armed with a fresh Ultrasound (U/S) that she had just gotten a few doors down the hall.
Women were able to get another U/S before each visit, and so as we’d see these women return week after week, we’d see the evidence with our very own eyes of what the treatment was doing.
Sure enough, as the weeks progressed we’d see the fibroids shrinking. This was so common that I came back to the states assured that Chinese medicine can successfully treat fibroids with no doubt in my mind.
Once home my own clinical experience began to match what I witnessed in China.
Advanced Gynecology Training
I then went on to study advanced gynecology under Bob Flaws, who is well known for writing many of the texts that acupuncture students use, and who specializes in gynecology. He lived in China and also learned medical Chinese, and translates medical literature into English for the West. Similar to my first teacher, he also taught that if fibroids are 3cm or less, we should expect good results with Chinese medicine.
Current advanced studies
For the past few years I’ve been studying under a Classical Chinese medicine teacher. She passes down the strong lineage in Chinese medicine of successful treatment of fibroids, and translates Chinese medical literature as well. Many case studies are listed in translated medical texts for us all to learn from, where fibroids much larger than 3cm are successfully shrunk.
Why don’t all acupuncturists have success with treating fibroids?
While I can’t speak to what other people are doing in their own clinics, I can speak to Chinese medicine in general and the different ways it’s practiced.
Chinese medicine has undergone radical changes in the last century, which have tried to fit it into the western model of medicine. You can read more about that in my Classical Medicine post.
But the summary is that they’re trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.
Western medicine looks like “this is the disease, and this is the treatment/s for this disease”. Everyone with the disease is seen as the same patient, and they all pretty much get the same treatments.
Old Chinese Medicine looks like “there’s an underlying imbalance that’s CAUSING the disease, which shows up in infinitely unique ways in each patient. THAT’S what we’re treating, so despite what their disease name is, to successfully treat the patient’s disease you need to know how to diagnose and treat the underlying imbalance”.
However, more and more acupuncture schools aren’t teaching students how to do this complex form of diagnosis, so modern Chinese medicine unfortunately looks more like “this is the disease, and this is the herbal formula to treat it”.
So, there’s a few “fibroid” formulas, and “crampy period” formulas, etc. Each fibroid patient will get a cookie cutter treatment for “fibroids”.
But this doesn’t work.
And if an acupuncturist uses the medicine this way, which is unfortunately becoming more and more common, then the medicine is going to continue to be less and less powerful. There seems to be a growing list of conditions that I notice my colleagues think are “too much” for us to treat – conditions that many of us treat every day.
Do acupuncture and herbs work every time for small fibroids?
I’m certainly not saying that EVERY case of fibroids I’ve ever treated has been successful. I’ve definitely had a few cases where it hasn’t worked.
But still in those cases, many of the other symptoms the women had went away; such as fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, hot flashes, etc. So the treatment was still very beneficial, and the women were set up to go through their surgery in much better health and with less stress.
If you’ve been diagnosed with fibroids and your gynecologist has told you surgery isn’t immediately necessary, and you’d like to try an approach that has prevented surgery for many other woman, you can schedule an appointment now.