Chinese Herbal Medicine for Ectopic Pregnancy

No Systematic Review

Chinese hospitals have longed used Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) to treat ectopic or tubal pregnancies and there have been many studies performed in an effort to support this ancient form of medicine as a therapy for this dangerous condition. However, until recent times, there had been no systematic review of the data and this has led to an uncertainty about the benefits of such treatment for tubal pregnancy.

When modern analysis was at last applied to the data at hand, it was found that none of the trials on this topic had been designed in a manner befitting serious research. Therefore, there is no way to either support or refute the contention that CHM is a beneficial treatment for tubal pregnancy.

Major Cause of Death

Ectopic or tubal pregnancy is the major cause of death in pregnant women during the first three months of pregnancy. The incidence of these doomed pregnancies has increased to between 1-2% of all pregnancies.

According to CHM, ectopic pregnancies are caused by:

*Blockages or kinks in the fallopian tubes due to the presence of scar tissue arising from past infections

*Poor protection of the inside lining of the fallopian tubes because of an inadequate amount of secretions or secretions that are too thin due to an excess of progesterone.

*Plugs of mucus that serve as blockages

*Muscle tension in the fallopian tubes

According to CHM, the inside of the fallopian tubes is coated with secretions that nurture an embryo and help it on its way to the uterus. The secretions keep the embryo from implanting before it meets its proper destination. In normal cases, this mucus gives sufficient coating to the tubes until two days after ovulation. At this point, progesterone levels rise and this causes the mucus to first thin and then disappear.

By now, the embryo should have been ready for implantation in the woman's uterus. However, if the embryo remains in the tube at this time for any reason, the lack of secretions can lead to an ectopic pregnancy. By the same token, should ovulation be delayed, the same condition might result since the egg is released too late.

This reflects a Chinese medicine precept relating to Qi and blood stagnation. This condition is thought to be associated with such symptoms as abdominal pain, tender breasts, and mid-cycle headaches. CHM adherents believed that if Qi and blood can be moved along during the time of ovulation, an ectopic pregnancy might be avoided.

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