Severe period pain and fibroids

Testimonials

Nana was 45 and had multiple fibroids when she first came to us. She had operations but the fibroids came back. She had heavy periods, period pain and blood clots. She also had hot flushes. After seeing us a few months, she said,

“I am pleased with the treatment. I do not have hot flushes anymore. My period is no longer heavy, pain is much less. I do not see blood clots any more in my period.”

Victoria reported this on her fourth visit.

“My back pain, abdominal cramps, mood swing and headache are almost completely gone. The bleeding is much less. Other than the faint bloating and cramp, I am almost not aware of my period coming now. I feel so much better.”

Jane, from London was ecstatic with her treatment.

“Usually when my period first comes, I feel so much pain that I have to lie down for two days, pretty much. This time, my mother was worried about me as my period coincided with a party we had at home. It had only been a month since I saw you. It is amazing that this time round, I felt no pain at all. I was running, around serving guests and doing all sorts of things. I was completely fine, with no pain.”

Although period pain is usually accepted by women as a normal part of the menstrual cycle, our clinical experience suggests period pain, especially severe pain, is associated with reproductive system issues. While some of these issues can be detected and diagnosed by conventional medicine, many women are not given answers, nor solutions, and this can go on for many years. 

Causes of period pain

Period pain is usually felt as painful muscle cramps in the tummy, which can spread to the back and thighs. It sometimes comes in intense spasms, but can also be dull and constant. It may vary each month, where some months are more painful than others. Some women experience pelvic pain even when not menstruating.

Primary cause

Period pain occurs when the muscular wall of the womb tightens. Mild contractions continually pass through the womb, but they’re usually so mild most women don’t feel them. 

This wall contracts more vigorously during the period, to encourage the womb lining to shed. When it contracts, it compresses the blood vessels lining the womb, temporarily cutting off blood supply, and hence, oxygen, to the womb. Without oxygen, the tissues in the womb release chemicals triggering pain. Prostaglandins are also produced, encouraging the womb muscles to contract further, increasing pain. 

It’s not known why some women experience more period pain than others — some may have a build-up of prostaglandins, so they experience stronger contractions.

A diagram of the female reproductive system, drawn with Chinese calligraphy, TCM Healthcare — London fertility clinic

Secondary causes

Period pain can also be caused by an underlying medical condition. The medical term for this is secondary dysmenorrhoea. This kind of period pain tends to affect women between 30 and 45. Such conditions include endometriosis (womb lining grow outside the womb), fibroids and Adenomyosis.

Endometriosis

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.

For more on Endometriosis, please click here.

Adenomyosis

Adenomyosis is a condition in which the inner lining of the uterus (the endometrium) breaks through the muscle wall of the uterus (the myometrium). Adenomyosis can cause menstrual cramps, lower abdominal pressure, and bloating before menstrual periods and can result in heavy periods. The condition can be located throughout the entire uterus or localised in one spot.

For more on adenomyosis, please click here.

Fibroids

Fibroids are non-cancerous growths that develop in or around the womb (uterus). The growths are made up of muscle and fibrous tissue, and vary in size. Many women are unaware they have fibroids because they don't have any symptoms.

Women who do have symptoms (around 1 in 3) may experience:

1. heavy of painful periods

2. tummy (abdominal) pain

3. lower back pain

4. a frequent need to urinate

5. pain or discomfort during sex

In some cases, further complications can affect pregnancy or cause infertility.

Why fibroids develop?

The exact cause of fibroids is unknown, but they have been linked to the hormone oestrogen.

Oestrogen is the female reproductive hormone produced by the ovaries (the female reproductive organs).

Fibroids usually develop during a woman's reproductive years (from around the age of 16 to 50) when oestrogen levels are at their highest.

Fibroids tend to shrink when oestrogen levels are low, such as after the menstrual cycles stop in menopause.

A test for your hormones may therefore be useful. See Female fertility profile test.

Who gets fibroids?

Fibroids are common, with around 1 in 3 women developing them at some point in their life. They most often occur in women aged 30 to 50.

Fibroids are thought to develop more frequently in women of African-Caribbean origin.

It's also thought they occur more often in overweight or women because being overweight increases the level of oestrogen in the body.

Women who have had children have a lower risk of developing fibroids, and the risk decreases further the more children you have.

Types of fibroids

Fibroids can grow anywhere in the womb and vary in size considerably. Some can be the size of a pea, whereas others can be the size of a melon.

The main types of fibroids are:

1. intramural fibroids – the most common type of fibroid, which develop in the muscle wall ofthe womb

2. subserosal fibroids – fibroids that develop outside the wall of the womb into the pelvis and can become very large

3. submucosal fibroids – fibroids that develop in the muscle layer beneath the womb's innerlining and grow into the cavity of the womb.

Fibroids and infertility

Fibroids in the cavity of the uterus, also known as submucosal fibroids, can be a cause of infertility. These fibroids can prevent the embryo from attaching, can get in the way of conceiving, or can result in miscarriages.

How does conventional medicine treat fibroids

Conventional medicine believes that fibroids don't need to be treated if they aren't causing symptoms i.e. too big or obstructive if you want to get pregnant.

If treatment is required, surgery to remove fibroids may be suggested. However, they may grow back as surgery does not treat the cause of the problem.

For serious condition, the only definitive cure for fibroids is a hysterectomy i.e. the removal of the uterus. This is often the treatment suggested for women with significant symptoms. This clearly has a major impact on fertility.

How do we treat fibroids?

In our medical system, we believe that fibroids are caused by some kind of blockage. The blockage itself may not be visible but this can be the root cause of fibroid. More importantly, the blockage may also be a contributing factor for infertility. You may therefore wish to consider dealing with the root causes of the problem. The first step may be to do a Female fertility profile test to see if the fibroids are hormone related or that you have hormone imbalance. Should the results show that hormone imbalance may be the casual factor, we can set about correcting the imbalance to see if the fibroids can be shrunk or better managed.

In cases where the test shows that the hormones appear to be normal, our treatment will focus on treating all associated symptoms such as pain, heavy bleeding, large blood clots etc. naturally. Most patients see significant improvements by the end of the first course of treatment i.e. 3 months, if not earlier. When these symptoms improve, the chances are the fibroids may have disappeared or shrunk. In any event, the blockage is resolved or well managed and your chances of pregnancy should improve as a result. The treatment has no adverse side effects and you would see your general health improved too.

Unexplained period pains

Some women can go through all investigations possible by conventional doctors and still have no clear answers. They are then prescribed painkillers, and fertility issues can be undetected for many years. Our treatment for these kind of issues are similar since we believe blockage is the cause of pain.

How do we help?

Our approach focusses on using natural herbal remedies and acupuncture to strengthen the reproductive system and general health. We have extensive experience dealing with various causes of period pain and PMS, such as hormonal changes, endometriosis and fibroids (see above).

Patients bring us their test results and medical record. We do a 40 minutes first consultation, in which we do non-invasive and pain-free Chinese medical diagnostic procedures, in order to understand your particular condition and circumstances thoroughly. 

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.

A month after the first consultation, you will be done with the first round of herbal remedy. We do a second consultation, lasting 30 minutes, doing another diagnostic procedure to see how well you’ve responded to the treatment. Another prescription will be written.

This monthly cycle will repeat 3 or 4 times before you are asked to have another test carried out. Our treatment is different to using painkillers or anti-inflammation drugs, as you should see the pain and PMS as unlikely to come back in subsequent period cycles. We do not prescribe any synthetic hormones. There are no known adverse side effects. 

What are our fees? 

The fees come to about £350–400 a month, all inclusive.

How often do I need to come?

Once a month. Most patients come from 3 to 9 months. Some combine our treatment with further IVF cycles.

What to expect during a consultation

A traditional Chinese medical consultation involves the following steps.

Observation

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.

Assessment

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.

Taking a history

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.

Pulse diagnosis

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.

Follow up

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.

A second opinion service

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.

Book an appointment!

Call us any time on 0207 096 0283 or fill out our enquiry form.

We would like to see the following test results (less than 2 months old):

If you have not done them yet, we can arrange them for you. Results come out in 1–3 days.

A booking fee of £50 (refunded when you attend) will be processed at booking. 

Are there patients we cannot help?

Yes. No medical system is foolproof and medical practitioners, however good, are not omnipotent. As great as our success rates are, they are not 100%. There are times patients do not respond to our treatments despite our best efforts.

Delayed improvements are possible when patients rest a little. However, even with rest, patients may still not respond well. Fortunately, these cases are in the minority. We minimise the number of these cases by trying to understand our patients’ conditions as much as possible before taking them on. We minimise time and financial commitments from patients by insisting they have hormone or sperm test results prior to treatment, and to get retested after 3 months —following our evidence-based approach.

At TCM Healthcare, we will always have your best interests in mind and we will do our best.