Improvement in Lactation with Traditional Chinese Medicine and Western Herbal Medicine: A Case Study

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Delayed lactation, insufficient milk supply and other breast-feeding problems are common disorders worldwide, with research showing prevalence of up to 33 per cent. The aetiology of delayed lactation is multifactorial: primiparity is the most important contributor, but long duration of labour and inadequate breast-feeding education and support are also factors. Conventional medical treatment focuses on early postpartum education about proper breast-feeding technique. In the absence of organic pathology, women may be offered pharmaceutical galactogogues, some of which have undesirable side-effects. This case summarises the effects of acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, tuina massage, cupping therapy and a Western herbal tincture on a 30 year-old primipara experiencing insufficient lactation. After four weeks of treatment, the patient reported better milk production and a more positive experience of nursing, as well as improvements in other health symptoms. No adverse events were observed. The authors conclude that Chinese medicine combined with Western herbal medicine may be a safe and effective treatment to address insufficient lactation and its underlying causes.

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