China Elevator Stories

A Cure To My Menstrual Problems

I go to see a Chinese doctor at a TCM hospital in October 2013.


Ruth Silbermayr
Ruth Silbermayr


I had been dealing with menstrual problems I would like to treat, thus I go to the gynecological department. The doctor prescribes a mix of herbs, ear acupuncture and moxibustion. After a week, I feel quite good about the treatment. But there is one thing out of the normal – my period is one day overdue. I assume this is because of the medicine. It included herbs that are supposed to stop the heavy bleeding.

I go and see the doctor again, and she asks me to do a pregnancy test. I’ve done an early pregnancy test at home and it showed negative, but the doctor makes a hand gesture that seems to say: “You can’t trust those tests.”

Off I go to the lab. They take my blood and urine, I will have to wait until the next day for some of the results. The woman doing the urine tests looks at my results. “Why is this one positive”, she asks without me knowing which one exactly she is talking about. “Are you pregnant? You need to have another urine test.” Off I go to the bathroom again. After that I go back to the lab, carrying a little cup of urine across the whole hospital floor.

The woman puts a paper strip into the cup and when she takes it out, she looks at it and waits for a very long time. When the result seems to be steady, she asks other colleagues about their opinions. They all decide together that the result is not very clear. It shows a weak positive. My eyes fill with happy tears at the thought that I might be pregnant, but I try to hold back my tears, since the results aren’t clear and I could be wrong.

When I show the doctor my results, she congratulates me. After enquiring if I want to have a baby (or rather keep it, after all, abortions aren’t a rarity in China), she says we need to watch the progress. We still need to wait for the results of the blood test, but for the time being, she prescribes me hormones and Chinese herbs that are said to be nourishing for the uterus.

I have since stopped taking hormones. I read up on all the side effects and the possibility of them causing cancer if the hormones aren’t bioidentical. Furthermore, the blood results showed that my hormone levels are normal. I have also stopped taking herbal medicine since many TCM herbs are contraindicated for pregnant women.

Have you ever taken a pregnancy test that didn’t show any clear results?

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