Mrs Lombardelli came from Italy to TCM Healthcare’s fertility clinic every month. She had been receiving treatment for about 4 months when she told us this.
“I have a laboratory report from my doctor to say that my endometriosis is completely gone. I would like to continue treatment for infertility.”
Mrs Paul, from London, had undergone treatment for a month.
“I used to have so much pain that I had to lie down for 2 days when my period came. I am amazed that, just after a month, I could be serving guests at a party during my party.”
Elizabeth Douglas, 41, had 4 cycles of failed IVF before she came to us. Her story was published in Real magazine in 2002. Call us for a copy of the article.
“We saw Professor Li at the TCM Healthcare fertility clinic. He asked me a lot of questions: what food I liked, whether I was hot or cold, and also looked at my tongue and took my pulse in both wrists. His diagnosis was that my chi (life energy) was completely out of alignment and that I was far too cold. He gave me a concoction of herbs to boil up and drink twice a day, which tasted revolting, but I persevered and kept going back for consultations.
After about 6 months, he told me his treatment had finished and I simply had to be patient. Incredibly, in just 2 months, I was ringing him with the wonderful news that I was pregnant.
It wasn’t a great pregnancy. I was sick and suffered bad indigestion but Matthew was born healthy last June. We’ll always be grateful to the IVF consultants, but without Chinese medicine, we may never have found the final piece in the puzzle, which allowed us to become parents at long last.”
Endometriosis occurs when tissue is found outside the uterus that appears similar to the lining of the uterus (endometrium). It may grow on the outside of your uterus, ovaries, tubes and even on your bladder or intestines. This tissue can cause pain and adhesions (scar tissue) on the organs it touches.
If you have endometriosis, you likely have period pain, which can be severe. It manifests itself as pelvic or abdominal pain, particularly with menstrual bleeding or with sex. Sometimes, endometriosis can grow inside your ovary and form a cyst (endometrioma). This can usually be seen on an ultrasound, unlike other endometriotic tissue. The only way for you to tell if you have endometriosis is through laparoscopy.
It may be more difficult for you to become pregnant, if you have endometriosis. It is estimated up to 50% of women with the condition may experience infertility, as it can distort your pelvis anatomy, scar fallopian tubes, inflame pelvic structures, alter your immune system function, change your eggs’ hormonal environment, impair implantation of a pregnancy, or alter egg quality.
There are four stages of development, from stage 1 (minimal) to stage 4 (severe). Severe endometriosis, which causes considerable scarring, blocked fallopian tubes and damaged ovaries, often requires advanced fertility treatment.
Endometriosis needs the female hormone oestrogen to develop and grow. Birth control pills and other drugs that lower or block oestrogen can be effective in improving pain symptoms. For patients who wish to get pregnant, though, this approach clearly presents a problem.
More invasive techniques, such as surgery, may thus be considered prior to attempts at conception, but some doctors think this treatment won’t improve pregnancy rates.
At TCM Healthcare, we treat endometriosis with a 2-stage approach.
The main symptom of endometriosis is period pain, which can sometimes be severe. We first use a natural herb remedy for the pain. Our experience is that for most women, pain should be under control within 2–3 months.
We actually start tackling your endometriosis as soon as you come to us, ie in stage 1. While we work to minimise and eliminate your pain, we are also dealing with the crux of your condition. It should be noticed the latter takes a bit more time; we have a good track record in reducing endometriosis, as confirmed by laparoscopy.
In addition, since endometriosis affects fertility, our focus is also to improve reproductive functions all round (reducing and getting rid of scarring and adhesions on reproductive organs, and improving egg quality).
Our specialist prescribes a unique herbal formula, usually consisting of around 20 kinds of herbs, from which you will make drinks and consume twice a day for 18 days in a month.
Most patients observe substantially reduced pain between 2 and 3 months of treatment. We ask all our patients to have a laparoscopy after 6 months of treatment to see how well you have responded.
Patients that finish the full course of treatment and are properly discharged usually do not experience both the period pain symptoms and endometriosis again.
The fees come to about £350–400 a month, all inclusive.
Once a month. Most patients come from 3 to 9 months. Some combine our treatment with further IVF cycles.
A traditional Chinese medical consultation involves the following steps.
The practitioner may scrutinise your complexion, eyes, tongue, and movements to gain insight into how your organs are functioning. The tongue is a particularly important source of information, and its colour, body, coating, and moisture will all be taken into account.
The practitioner assesses the patient’s energy and general condition by taking into account your body heat, odour, skin sensitivity, and uses other senses to gain an insight into the your condition.
To gain a full picture, the practitioner will ask detailed questions about your complaint and your medical history. They will want to find out whether your problems vary at all according to the time of year and your diet, feelings or emotions.
This can provide a highly sensitive and detailed picture of your general health. The practitioner will take a number of different ‘pulses’ using three fingers put on the wrist of each hand of the patient. This enables him to gain further information about the quality and functioning of the five major organs. The practitioner will take account of your general health and strength, as well as all of your symptoms, whether they seem to you to be connected or not. This will be the basis for deciding on the best treatment.
Monthly consultations are required to gauge your progress. The prescriptions will be devised accordingly — for treating a changing condition, a fixed single herb or formula is unlikely to be effective over time.
Patients want to know how long they need to see us for. We say after 3 months of treatment, we will review progress, retesting hormones and check subjective experience, such as period cycle regularity and sexual interest. If they are at normal levels, we discharge the patients.
If they are better but still need further improvement, patients may need second course of treatment at the same or less intensity.
Typically, women see us for 3 courses of treatment, ie 9 months total.
The point is that the way we treat patients means they should not rely on our treatment for too long. Their improved health and function should stay with them if they look after their health.
We have just launched a second opinion service where you can send us your hormone test results, sperm test results and other results. Consultations will be done on the phone and it will not be a face-to-face medical consultation.
Since we work with IUI, IVF, ICSI, egg and sperm freezing specialists, we can explore a full range of options with you prior to your committing to a course of actions that may be best for you. There is no charge for this service.
We offer this service in good faith based on our clinical experience and our work with partner agencies such as IVF specialists. We do not accept any liability and we will urge you to triangulate opinions given with your own doctors before you decide what may be best for your circumstance.