Chinese medicine and Western Medicine on Preventing Miscarriage
The process of which an egg is fertilized by sperm, then implanted into the uterus up until the final stage of the mother giving birth to a baby, seems a normal experience to most women, yet it is indeed a great challenge for women who suffer from infertility or endocrine disorder.
Some Asians are aware of their own body condition, things can go relatively smoothly as they would perhaps take extra care than other women otherwise would. Most women with this condition will take treatment to prevent miscarriage as soon as they are pregnant. Some mothers will take it in the first three months of pregnancy, some cautious mothers will take it up to 30 weeks of pregnancy, and some even more prudent mothers will take the treatment up until delivery. The sad fact is that most mothers who have sudden miscarriage or premature labour, which causes fatal death to the baby, are asymptomatic. They do not have any uncomfortable experience, headache, dizziness or fever, so they consider themselves healthy. When they are pregnant, they do not pay much attention to this. Some of them even consider that preventing miscarriage with TCM is witchcraft. Unfortunately, they lose their baby, and it is too late.
“Miscarriage” is the spontaneous end of a pregnancy before foetal viability, less than 28 weeks of gestation age, and also known as “threatened abortion”. There are three major symptoms of threatened abortion, which are lumbago with backache, vaginal bleeding and abdominal pain. If spontaneous abortion happens in the same gestation week of two consecutive pregnancies, they are considered as recurrent spontaneous abortions, known as “Hua Tai (滑胎)” in TCM terminology.
What causes miscarriage? From the theory of Western medicine, luteosterone (also called progesterone) and Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin (HCG) in the mother’s body will increase rapidly once the fertilized egg implants in the uterus. If the hormones do not change in the correct programmed way as they would normally, then this mother might suffer miscarriage. So the mainstream treatment in preventing miscarriage is usually to supplement the progesterone either orally, by suppository or injection.
During a healthy and normal pregnancy, the mother and foetus rely on a series of mechanisms to isolate or inhibit the immune system. The egg can then be generated, matured, fertilized and implanted successfully. If women suffer immune infertility if at any point, this process goes wrong.
In common clinical immune infertility and immune abnormalities which lead to increased repeated spontaneous abortion, such as antisperm antibody (AsAb), endometrial antibody (EMAb), antiovarian antibody, phospholipid antibody, antizona pellucida antibody, ABO blood group antibody and so on should be paid attention to.
For patients with antiphospholipid antibody syndrome (APS), they will be prescribed western medicine like Aspirin, Prednisone and Heparin etc. Humira which is used to cure rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis, will also be used in patients with TNF-α (Tumor Necrosis Factor). However, these injections are expensive and each time costs around £700.
At present, the mainstream treatments of these immune diseases are immunosuppression with steroids, anti-coagulation, hyposensitization with cross injection between the couple and some other methods, while none of them has a satisfactory effect, and have many side effects.
In TCM treatment, a formula can be made with tonifying Yang, with herbs such as Tu SiZi, Chuan XuDuan, Sang JiSheng and so on. This is often used in prescription to prevent miscarriage. People with Yin deficiency can add some E Jiao. It is said that Empress Dowager Ci Xi of Qing dynasty escaped miscarriage with the help of E Jiao, so she could give birth to the Emperor Tong Zhi successfully. Chinese medicines with the ghfunction of nourishing Yin, such as Shu Di, Shan YuRou, Bai Shao and so on, can enhance immunity. They can stimulate the phagocytosis of reticuloendothelial system, at the same time control the immune hyperfunction and are also helpful in anti-allergic reactions. Dang Gui and Mu Xiang have the ability to control the humoral and cellular immunity. Sheng GanCao can clear the heat in the body and detoxify, it has a glucocorticoid effect and can be used as immunosuppression, an anti-allergy and anti-inflammatory treatment.
The pharmacological effects of Western medicine have been mentioned above. Chinese medicine, treats on the principle of "Syndrome Differentiation and a lot of traditional Chinese medicine or acupuncture has a two-way regulation function. The same prescription to prevent miscarriage can help immunocompromised patients, and can cure patients with immune hyperthyroidism. So treatment for preventing miscarriage can also bring other health benefits to a patient.
Mrs. K had secondary infertility. She easily became pregnant when she was young, and on several occasions, she had to have an induced abortion. When she got older and reached an age when she wanted to be a mother, she found that she could not get pregnant and struggled to do so for many years. She learned from the Internet that recurrent abortion is related to the immune system. So she began to visit doctors around the world specializing in immunology and infertility. Unfortunately, although she spent several hundred thousand of US dollars on different kinds of treatments, she could not get pregnant.
Due to her husband’s work, the couple moved to the UK, and lived near my clinic. They visited me with the mentality of trying one last attempt.
In my clinical practice, I consider the cause of this disorder to be the imbalance of Qi, Blood, Yin and Yang. This concept opposes and is contradictory to Western medicine. As a modern TCM doctor, we should be aware of the concept of this disease in Western medicine. Just like what “The Art of War” (Sun Zi Bin Fa, 孫子兵法) told us, “Know the enemy and yourself, and you can fight every battle with no danger of defeat.” So I made a treatment according to the imbalances of Qi, Blood, Yin and Yang. Mrs. K showed higher levels in Qi deficiency, so I chose medicines like Dang Shen, Tai Z Shen, Bai Zhu, Huang Qi and so on. During her course of treatment, she took over a hundred kilograms of these herbs. Combined with acupuncture, she finally gave birth to a healthy baby.
Studies have reported that the success rate is less than 50% when only Western medicine is used to prevent miscarriage, whereas the success rate is higher than 80% using TCM medicine alone, and combination of Western and TCM medicine treatment reaches to over 90%.
By Chak Hong Lui - Chinese article posted on Macao Daily News
Dr Chak Hong Lui of Ines Medical is a qualified practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine including Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Remedy. If you are looking for some treatment, contact Dr Lui and talk to him about Chinese medicine and acupuncture on +853 6201 6108 or firstname.lastname@example.org.