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Treating Pelvic Pain with Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine

Chronic pelvic pain is a common complaint patients seek alternative treatment for in my practice, affecting approximately 25% of females of reproductive age. There are several different causes of pelvic pain, and although it more commonly affects women, it can affect men as well. This sharp, stabbing lower abdominal pain can be the result of an underlying gynecological condition, infection, digestive disorder, physical or emotional trauma, organ dysfunction, or spinal nerve problem.

Causes of pelvic pain:

  • menstruation

  • ovulation

  • uterine fibroids

  • ovarian cysts

  • endometriosis

  • bladder disorders

  • constipation

  • intestinal problems

  • cervical, uterine or ovarian cancer

  • pelvic fracture

  • kidney stones

  • appendicitis

  • sexually transmitted infection

  • urinary tract infection

  • hernia

  • stress

  • trauma

In Chinese medicine, we categorize pelvic pain into a few different patterns: qi and blood stagnation, excess cold and damp-heat. "Qi and blood stagnation" (poor oxygen and blood flow to the pelvic region) is caused by prolonged sitting or lack of exercise, and results in sharp, stabbing pain due to lack of blood circulation and stagnant blood in the pelvic region. "Excess cold" is caused by internal coldness caused by eating too many cold or raw foods, drinking ice cold drinks or smoothies, or swimming, sitting or plunging into cold water. Cold causes the blood vessels to constrict, leading to poor blood circulation in the pelvis, an abdomen that is cold to the touch, and pain that improves with a heating pad. "Damp-heat" is a term in Chinese medicine used to describe infection. When the genital region is exposed to excessive moisture and heat (i.e., sitting in a wet bathing suit on a hot day), this creates a breeding ground for bacteria and yeast, leading to infection and subsequent pain.

Most patients are prescribed pain killers for pelvic pain, yet this only provides temporary relief. With Chinese medicine, the physician uses diagnostic methods (pulse or tongue diagnosis) to identify the pattern causing the pelvic pain. Treatment is individualized to each patient, and acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, or a combination of two are used.

Acupuncture is a drug-free treatment for pelvic pain. How acupuncture works, is by improving blood and oxygen to specific areas of the body (in this case, the abdomen, reproductive system, kidneys, spine, digestive organs, etc). Acupuncture is a powerful treatment for pain because it releases endorphins and enkephalins, your body's natural pain killers. The addition of heat and red light on the abdomen helps to treat cold and stagnant conditions as well. Treatment is customized to each patient to treat their unique situation.

Chinese herbal medicine is a very effective alternative to pharmaceuticals in the treatment of pelvic pain. Herbal formulas are prescribed to both treat the pattern and alleviate the pain at the same time. For qi and blood stagnation, we used blood moving herbs to improve blood circulation and create vasodilation to the pelvic region and reproductive organs. With excess cold conditions, we use warming herbs and blood movers to warm up the abdomen and vasodilate constricted blood vessels. With damp-heat infections, we use colder anti-bacterial herbs along with herbs that drain dampness/excess moisture and improve urination.

If you are dealing with chronic pelvic pain and looking for a natural solution, book your free consultation today! 321-972-2940

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