Uterine stagnation is an imbalance where the uterus has old residue buildup due to poor circulation or improper period care. Uterine stagnation may occur because the liver is under functioning, because the body is cold or there is some blockage or restriction. Weak digestion can also be a factor.
-Menses that is dark in color (brown, black, purple, stringy)
-Hesitant menstrual start (with brown discharge)
-Hesitant menstrual finish (with brown discharge)
-Long menstrual cycles (31 days or longer)
-Low breastmilk production
-Improper Period Care
-Tampons or other “plug” type products
-Birth control pills, IUDs and prescription drugs
-Over-eating, late-night eating, poor food combining
-Fats, oils, chemicals, alcohol, preservatives, processed foods, refined foods
-Not dressing warm enough in cold weather
Uterine stagnation itself is not a concept from western medicine. Brown menses is considered normal as well as long menstrual cycles, cramps, clots and period pain. When it comes to the rest of the body however, clots are recognized as a blood circulation issue.
It’s possible that if further medical attention was focused on menses diagnosis that clots might be recognized as a sign of poor circulation since the blood that flows to the uterus during menses is part of the larger circulatory system and the uterine artery connects directly from the heart to the uterus.
The following medical diagnoses are always characterized with advanced uterine stagnation buildup.
Medical treatment varies from either no treatment at all to pain killers, hormonal birth control, fibroid embolization, myomectomy, exploratory surgery and full uterine removal (hysterectomy).
The concept of Uterine Stagnation correlates to the Traditional Asian Medicine concepts of Blood Stagnation, Liver Qi Stagnation, Qi Stagnation and/or Cold Uterus. Uterine Stagnation as a defined imbalance does not distinguish between the above patterns because, when using steam for any of these conditions, the steam will introduce heat, Qi circulation and blood circulation all at once.
Compounded stagnation over time can cause buildup in the wrong places. For example, stagnation plus phlegm may be responsible for fibroid growths.
In the case of endometriosis, stagnant menses buildup on uterine walls could be an explanation for why endometrial lining grows in random places rather than where it’s supposed to.
Stagnation buildup on the walls of the uterus can possibly cause interruption of the hormone feedback loop (hormone receptors line the uterine walls) which may be responsible for PMS and Pre Menstrual Disphoric Disorder.
Stagnation may be an explanation for some unexplained infertility cases since the embryo must implant into the uterine wall right after conception. If there is stagnation buildup on the walls, how might that interfere with implantation?
In the cases of IVF or IUI assistance, the health of the uterine walls is not considered ,which may be why it has such a low success rate.
Stagnation also seems to be a factor with ectopic pregnancies.
-Menstrual Cramps / Painful Periods
-Unexplained Infertility / Difficulty Conceiving
-Late Postpartum Menstrual Return
-Low Breast Milk
Very Effective. Stagnation appears to be very responsive to steam therapy especially if used in combination with period care guidelines. Steam alone might be capable of resolving the imbalance entirely.
How Does It Work?
Pelvic steam appears to increase blood flow and circulation to the reproductive organs which helps optimize the uterus’s natural mechanism to expel stagnant matter – menstruation. Increasing circulation helps improve menstrual effectiveness as a natural uterine cleanse.
Because stagnant matter creates secondary problems such as cramps, pain, blockages, interruption of the natural hormone pattern, cycle irregularity and formations throughout the reproductive organs, steaming appears to be helpful resolving a considerable number of issues.
What to Expect
When steaming with stagnation it is common to experience increased old residue clear out during the following period. If someone has a lot of stagnation to start off with they may see multiple clots and/or black menses (“tar”) clear out. All of this is a good sign. That old menses is now clearing out and the uterus is getting a full cleanse (which, for some reason in the past, it didn’t).
Because contracting (commonly called cramping during the period) is the womb’s natural mechanism to help clear out something that is stuck, the uterus may cramp during the initial few periods after steaming in order to help clear out old residue. It is very important to follow best period care practices.
Steam users also commonly report a difference in menses color and quality – reporting it be more red and fresh.
Steam Therapist Recommendation
It is not necessary to work with a practitioner if you know the right steam setup, duration and herbs. Steam weekly and/or 3 days in a row before and after the period.
For help with the right setup and herbs, do an intake with a Peristeam Facilitator who can do a quick screening to make sure that you are not contraindicated, check for steam sensitivities and get you setup correctly.
For advanced signs of stagnation where there is a uterine disorder (fibroids, endometriosis, PMDD, PCOS, unexplained infertility, etc), it is recommended to have a consultation with a Peristeam Hydrotherapist who can create a personalized steam schedule targeted towards the health concern.
For best results do an initial consultation plus follow up consultations. The follow up consultations should take place after each following period or monthly.
During the follow-up consultation the Peristeam Hydrotherapist will be able to read the menstrual cycle to determine if there is any leftover stagnation and/or other imbalances and how to modify the steam plan and herbs accordingly. With stagnation it is very common that the steam plan and herbs will change after the first few periods.
6 -12 months
The amount of time to naturally resolve a uterine disorder completely varies. Ovarian cysts tend to be quicker (3 months) and fibroids tend to take longer (12 months). People who have the best results work with a Peristeam Hydrotherapist and follow the steam schedule very closely for, at least 3-6 consecutive months in a row.
-Womb Cleanse Care Guidelines (rest, no plugs, warmth, nourishment, no inversions)
-Cardio MC days 12-24 (or modified for shorter cycles)
-10pm Bedtime (Between 11pm to 3am the liver works to clean and generate blood which is important for overall circulation. If awake at this time, it is more difficult for the liver to perform these functions)
-Stagnation Food Guidelines (No night eating, reduce fat/oily foods, avoid cold foods/beverages)
-Eat last meal by 6pm or earlier allowing digestion a chance to rest at night, which frees up the liver for cleaning and generating blood
-Food Therapy for Circulation (spicy food, bitters, emmenagogue teas)
-Spices: Ginger, Cinnamon, Thyme, Cumin, Marjoram, Turmeric, Pepper, Cayenne
PERISTEAM FACILITATOR (Steam Facilitator)
Recommended if dealing with minor uterine stagnation issues and needing help with herbs and setup. Facilitators have great services such as spa packages, steam rooms, pamper parties, mobile steam services and possibly saunas and herbs for sale for home steaming. Great on a weekly or monthly basis for overall wellness, preventative care and connecting with the steam community.
PERISTEAM HYDROTHERAPIST (Steam Therapist)
Recommended if dealing with advanced uterine stagnation concerns. Definitely consult with prior to surgery. Peristeam Hydrotherapists are specialists at reading the menstrual cycle and using steam and herbs to target imbalances that may be at the heart of advanced uterine issues. If unsatisfied with medical options and looking to steam as an alternative, these are the specialists who have studied various gynecological concerns and learned how to use various steam schedules to target them. Plan to work with a steam therapist monthly until the problem resolves. Often there is a big difference in symptoms after 3 months.
Recommended if dealing with advanced uterine concerns. Steam and acupuncture together result in the highest effectiveness targeting advanced gynecological problems. Acupuncture is instrumental in: 1) moving stagnation anywhere in the body; 2) pinpointing which organ is slowing the circulation and why (often the liver is the culprit but there are different solutions based on how it is out of balance); 3) introducing customized internal herbal formulas that will help to balance out the liver and improve function of the overall circulatory system.
Weekly acupuncture is recommended for at least four weeks. If stagnation is more severe the acupuncturist may recommend continued treatment.
If the uterus is experiencing pain or advanced issues, abdominal massage is highly recommended. Speak to the abdominal masseuse about when the best time for a session would be (before or after the period; weekly, etc).
Massage is great at increasing overall circulation. Getting weekly massage for four weeks in a row would be very beneficial for overall circulation.