Understanding Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) and How It Affects Fertility
More than one million women in the United States are diagnosed with acute PID every year and most of them are between the ages of 15 to 39 years. The term PID comprises all sorts of inflammatory processes occurring within the upper female genital tract, including the uterus, cervix, fallopian tubes, surrounding pelvic tissue, and the ovaries. These tissues become inflamed, swollen, irritated and can lead to scarring and infertility. The most common causes for PID are from bacteria which can cause Chlamydia and Gonorrhea. These bacteria are usually transmitted through sexual intercourse with a partner that has the infection already. Also, women who douche may have a higher risk of developing PID compared with women who don’t douche. Research has shown that douching can change the internal flora of the vagina that can lead to increased bacterial growth. PID can also occur after certain surgical procedures involving the female organs, D & C, or after the insertion of an intrauterine device (IUD).
The most common symptoms of PID are fever, chills, lower abdominal or pelvic pain, vaginal discharge, irregular menstrual bleeding or pain, nausea, vomiting, and pain upon urination. However, some patients report no symptoms or intermittent symptoms. Unfortunately, patients are sometimes misdiagnosed as having a twisted ovary or appendicitis based upon their symptoms. Usually a blood test will confirm an elevation of white blood cells and bacterial culture of the vaginal discharge will come back positive. Normal course of Western treatment would be antibiotics for 7 to 10 days.
How Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture Treat PID
PID is a condition of damp heat (infection), blood stasis, and stagnation of energy in the liver channel and the belt vessel. The practitioner will start by looking at symptoms and ask questions related to the discharge and location and type of pain the patient is experiencing. A treatment protocol would be developed after an accurate diagnosis is made.
A study published in the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine in March 1989, showed that out of 95 patients with chronic PID that used acupuncture and moxibustion as a course of treatment had an 88.4% reduction in symptoms and felt cured. This effective rate was superior to the control group using antibiotics. Research has also shown that acupuncture can affect changes in serum concentrations of IgG, IgA and IgM which are immune system markers (Wozniak et al., 1994). Other studies noted the decrease in ESR value, a strong marker of inflammation.
Acupuncture will increase the immune system’s ability to fight the infection and decrease inflammation in the reproductive tract and reduce pain. It will also help prevent adhesions and scarring in the pelvic cavity.
Chinese herbs would be individualized and tailored to increasing the function of the immune system and to remove the bacteria that is present in the reproductive tract. The use of moxa would be applied for chronic cases. Moxa is either a single herb or a mix of herbs that is burned over the skin at certain acupoints to affect a change in the body. It warms and heals the area, and points that the areas affect. Herbs will also be prescribed to resolve the dampness, clear the heat, moderate the immune system, and encourage blood flow.
Reproductive organ massage is a highly specialized form of therapeutic massage that manipulates the fascia of the pelvic cavity to unblock any obstructions or reduce any adhesions in the reproductive organs and improve the blood flow to these organs. It would be started after the acute phase of
Research and Related Articles on PID
On the therapeutic efficacy of electric acupuncture with moxibustion in 95 cases of chronic pelvic infectious disease (PID).
J Tradit Chin Med. 1989 Mar;9(1):21-4.
PMID: 2788236 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
A combined use of acupuncture, moxibustion and long dan xie gan tang for treatment of 36 cases of chronic pelvic inflammation.
J Tradit Chin Med. 2004 Dec;24(4):256-8.
PMID: 15688689 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
Anti-phlogistic and immunocompetent effects of acupuncture treatment in women suffering from chronic pelvic inflammatory diseases.
Am J Chin Med. 2003;31(2):315-20.
PMID: 12856870 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]