Treating Prolapse with Chinese Medicine

In my 17 years of practice, I have seen many patients, usually middle-aged women, who experience prolapse.  It is rarely a main complaint, suggesting that patients do not expect Chinese medicine to treat their condition.  In this blog, I would like to introduce the TCM point-of-view of prolapse and describe a specific, effective treatment.

Prolapse refers to the inconvenient and often uncomfortable sinking and even external protrusion of bodily organs.  Common areas affected by prolapse include the stomach, uterus, and the rectum.  Western medicine shows relatively little interest in the cause of prolapse preferring, instead, to focus on practical remedies.  In most cases, these solutions involve surgically returning the tissue to its rightful place and using implants, such as metal mesh, to corral the anatomy.

Chinese medicine takes a different view.  Qi, the fundamental resource responsible for all bodily activity, holds or contains the tissues in place.  In patients who are fatigued and weak, any form of leakage, whether spontaneous sweating, uterine bleeding, or rectal prolapse, may be seen as qi failing to contain.  In treating these conditions, the Chinese doctor primarily focuses on boosting function, or qi, to allow the body to pull organs back into place.  Physically lifting sagging tissue, possible with acupuncture, is of secondary importance.

Center-Supplementing, Qi-Boosting Decoction or Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang is a remarkable herbal formula known for its ability to treat prolapse.  The formulation utilizes huang qi astragalus to boost qi and lift up fallen tissue.  Ren shen ginseng, bai zhu ovate atractylodes, and zhi gan cao licorice root assist astragalus by increasing the available qi.  Chai hu bupleurum and sheng ma cimicifuga, when used in small dosages, gently elevate dropped organs.  Finally, dang gui tangkuei nourishes blood, providing a solid foundation for building qi, and chen pi tangerine peel stimulates movement to prevent the richness of the other herbs from creating stagnation in the gut.

In my clinical experience, this Chinese herbal formula is an effective treatment for many different types of prolapse.  I have used it as a raw herb decoction, a granular blend, and in the form of prepared pill or tablet.  As with most formulas, the best method is crafting a custom prescription designed to meet the specific needs of the patient.  Nevertheless, I have also seen good results with a modest dose of tablets.  One colleague even reported having success treating a horse suffering from prolapse with Bu Zhong Yi Qi Wan pills.

Regardless of the exact Chinese treatment, organ prolapse should never been viewed as a simple structural issue.  Patients with prolapse have a systemic deficit that needs to be addressed to ensure a long-term health and well-being. While fixing a prolapsed region of the body satisfactorily manages a symptom, it is always essential that the physician take the next step to try and identify the root cause.