Retained placenta according to Chinese Medicine

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In Chinese Medicine, retained placenta can be associated with three so-called "patterns of disharmony". Chinese Medicine sees the body as a system, not a sum of isolated parts. A "pattern" is when the system's harmony is disrupted. It is not equivalent to the Western concept of "disease", as a matter of fact here retained placenta can be caused by three different patterns.

To understand whether someone's retained placenta might be caused by a given pattern, one needs to look for signs and symptoms associated with the pattern beyond what one might typically experience from retained placenta alone. For instance when retained placenta is caused by the pattern Heat and Blood Stagnation in the Lower Burner, patients also experience symptoms such as lower abdominal pain, night fever, delirious speech and irritability. Similarly, patients with Heat and Blood Stagnation in the Lower Burner typically exhibit choppy (Se) or full (Shi) pulses.

We've listed below a description of the three patterns associated with retained placenta so that you can start to get an understanding of the various possibilities according to Chinese Medicine.

Once identified, patterns are often treated using herbal formulas. Drinking herbal infusions is the most common remedy in Chinese Medicine, together with acupuncture. Here we detail below two formulas that can help treat the various patterns associated with retained placenta, depending on which pattern fits your profile.

The three "patterns of disharmony" associated with retained placenta

The Triple Burner is a so-called "Fu" Organ. Learn more about the Triple Burner in Chinese Medicine

Heat and Blood Stagnation in the Lower Burner

Pulse type(s): Choppy (Se), Full (Shi)

Recommended herbal formula: Tao He Cheng Qi Tang

Symptoms: Thirst Amenorrhea Night fever Irritability Dysmenorrhea Restlnessness Delirious speech Lower abdominal pain

Retained placenta might be due to Heat and Blood Stagnation in the Lower Burner if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as lower abdominal pain, night fever, delirious speech and irritability. Similarly, patients with Heat and Blood Stagnation in the Lower Burner typically exhibit choppy (Se) or full (Shi) pulses.

Read more about Heat and Blood Stagnation in the Lower Burner here

Blood Stagnation in the Directing and Penetrating Vessels

Retained placenta might be due to Blood Stagnation in the Directing and Penetrating Vessels if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as irregular menstruation, brown vaginal discharge, dark clots in menstrual blood and painful period. Similarly, patients with Blood Stagnation in the Directing and Penetrating Vessels typically exhibit choppy (Se) or wiry (Xian) pulses as well as a bluish-purple tongue.

Read more about Blood Stagnation in the Directing and Penetrating Vessels here

The two herbal formulas that might help with retained placenta

Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Promotes Blood and lymphatic circulation, thus eleminates Blood Stagnation. Softens and resolves hard lumps such as cysts and fibroids.

Why might Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan help with retained placenta?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help with the patterns Blood Stagnation and Phlegm in the Uterus and Blood Stagnation in the Directing and Penetrating Vessels which are sometimes associated with retained placenta. If any of these patterns look like something you might suffer from, this formula might help (although please seek confirmation with a professional practitioner beforehand).

Read more about Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan here

Tao He Cheng Qi Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Dispels Heat and. Eliminates Blood Stagnation.

Why might Tao He Cheng Qi Tang help with retained placenta?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help treat Heat and Blood Stagnation in the Lower Burner, a pattern sometimes associated with retained placenta. If it looks like you might suffer from Heat and Blood Stagnation in the Lower Burner, this formula might help (although please seek confirmation with a professional practitioner beforehand).

Read more about Tao He Cheng Qi Tang here