Gynecology & Obstetrics
Gynecology & Obstetrics
Gynecology and obstetrics are branches of Western medicine concerned with the treatment of women and they form a significant part of today's modern medicine practice concerning women. TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) also has a long history of treating women's diseases. Although both Western and Chinese medicines share the same goal in restoring health, there are some significant differences between the two medical systems. The TCM approach to understanding illness and maintaining well-being is unique; its practice is highly sophisticated with particular theories, diagnoses and treatments for women. See articles on
"Chinese Medicine History."
Gynecology deals with disorders of the female reproductive system, including menstrual disorders, disturbances of sex hormones, infectious diseases, injuries and mal-development of the reproductive organs, benign and malignant tumor formation and the prescription of contraceptive devices.
Obstetrics deals with the treatment of women during pregnancy, labor, childbirth and the postnatal period. Obstetricians work to ensure that pregnancy culminates in the delivery of a healthy baby, without impairing the health of the mother. Infertility has become its own subspecialty and utilizes a variety of technological medical breakthroughs such as artificial insemination and embryo implantations to help women become pregnant who cannot to do so through traditional means.
Technological advancements in
diagnostic tests such as X-rays, computed tomography(CT) scans and magnetic resonance imaging(MRI) contribute greatly to making accurate diagnoses of women diseases. Even with all this progress, however, some concern still remains about the efficacy of prescribed treatments and their undesirable side effects
Early on, TCM understood the importance of treating diseases specific to women. The Huangdi Neijing (The Yellow Emperor's Medicine Classic), a famous TCM classic completed 2000 years ago, described the anatomy, physiology, diagnosis and diseases that were specific to women. For generations, physicians continued to explore and consolidate the knowledge of women's related health problems, which has evolved into a particular form of healing.Traditional TCM consultation
According to TCM, the anatomy of the female reproductive system consists of the uterus, cervix, birth canal, vaginal orifice and the surrounding meridians. TCM also recognizes the physiological functions unique to women including menstruation, pregnancy, childbirth and lactation. In reviewing the traditional Chinese monographs, women's diseases are commonly classified under categories of menstrual disorders, pregnancy, abnormal uterine bleeding, vaginal discharge, antepartum (before delivery), postpartum (after delivery) and miscellaneous types. In sum, TCM therapies for gynecological and obstetric problems are now divided into five main scopes: menstruation, vaginal discharge, pregnancy, childbirth and miscellaneous. Unlike Western obstetrics, pregnancy, labor or childbirth problems are not divided into an individual branch of medicine. In fact, TCM gynecology covers all kinds of women's diseases, which may not be covered under our Western understanding.Modern TCM consultation
In modern practice, TCM gynecologists also make use of advanced diagnostic methods commonly used in the Western medicine. They will look at the type of disease from Western diagnostic perspectives and then further identify the TCM syndrome of the woman to decide on appropriate therapeutic strategies. As a result, the range of TCM treatable conditions has been greatly expanded to include diseases that were rarely treated before using TCM such as endometriosis, ectopic pregnancy, fibroids, abnormal uterine bleeding, senior osteoporosis and leukoplakia in the external genital area. Additionally, some complicated conditions that cannot be diagnosed in Western medicine can still attempt to be treated using TCM methods because of its syndrome differentiation approach to diagnosis making it complementary to Western medicine therapies.