When organs of the body “prolapse”, it literally means they fall out of their correct place where they should be positioned in the body. Organs that commonly become prolapsed are the rectum, bladder and uterus. In Chinese medical theory, hernias also come under the category of prolapse. It is estimated that about 13% of all hysterectomies performed are because the uterus has become prolapsed and is protruding into the vagina. Often these conditions are not painful.
Chinese medical theory has quite a different view from western medicine as to the cause of prolapse and hence the treatments differ radically.
Western medicine says that uterine prolapse is due to excessive pushing from labour or a history of having large babies. Other factors like being overweight can increase the risk. Modern medical treatment is surgery.
Chinese medicine says that the spleen is the major organ responsible for giving strength and power to hold all the organs up and in their correct place. Traditional Chinese medical treatment is to strengthen the spleen to treat prolapse, though at times other organs can be involved.
Many people believe that certain conditions can only be rectified with surgery and that acupuncture can only help to stop pain temporarily. In fact acupuncture actually stimulates the body to heal and rejuvenate itself and the alleviation of pain during a course of treatment is just a side effect.
Classical medical acupuncture texts from China have numerous references of acupuncture points for prolapse being used to treat organs such as the uterus and rectum. Some of the acupuncture points are spleen meridian acupuncture points but there are many others. One of interest is a point known as bai hui which translates as 100 meetings because it has had the tradition of being able to treat 100 diseases. This point is right on the top of the head and an important point used in the treatment of prolapse and is also used with moxibustion. When this point is stimulated it has the ability to draw up the energy that has collapsed and sunken in the lower part of the body which then caused conditions like rectal prolapse and hemorrhoids.
Often liver acupuncture points are also used in the treatment of uterus prolapse. Western medicine makes no correlation between the liver and prolapse. Chinese medicine views that the liver being the major organ that stores blood obviously plays a major role in women’s problems and is in fact used to treat many problems such as infertility and period pain. This is why acupuncture points on the lower leg are sometimes used to treat uterine prolapse because they on the liver meridian.
Dr Skya Abbate of New Mexico, says that in her experience acupuncture has proven successful in many individual cases of treating prolapse that otherwise would have progressed to surgery.
Chinese herbs can also be used to treat prolapse and a classic formula known as bu zhong yi qi tang is just one many formulas at the disposal of a qualified Chinese herbalist to address this problem. Chinese herb formulas are tailor made and modified to suit the individual requirements of the patient because everyone is different. Whereas western medicine uses the approach, one size fits all.