Zi Xian (Eclampsia): Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

What is zi xian (eclampsia)?

  • Zi xian, also known as "convulsions in pregnancy" or eclampsia in Western medicine, is a condition that can occur not only during pregnancy but also after childbirth.
  • Its main symptoms are severe dizziness, headache, vomiting, hypertension, and in later stages, tremors of limbs, convulsions, and coma.

Causes of zi xian

  • The cause of zi xian is believed to be a combination of overwork, irregular diet, and emotional problems.
  • Overwork can injure the liver and kidney Yin, leading to a rise in liver Yang and the development of liver wind, which causes severe dizziness, headache, hypertension, convulsions, and coma.
  • An excessive consumption of dairy or greasy foods can injure the spleen and lead to the formation of phlegm, which can obstruct the mind's orifices and cause coma.
  • Emotional problems can cause qi stagnation, and stagnant qi can turn into fire over time, which can combine with phlegm and lead to the development of internal wind.

Pathology of zi xian

  • In terms of pathology, zi xian is primarily caused by internal wind, which leads to severe dizziness, tremors, and convulsions.
  • Phlegm is often associated with this condition and causes unconsciousness by obstructing the mind's orifices.
  • Underlying these excess conditions is a deficiency of liver and kidney Yin, which leads to liver wind, and a deficiency of the spleen, which leads to the formation of phlegm.

Identification of patterns and treatment of zi xian

There are three main patterns associated with zi xian:

  • Liver wind agitating within

    • Clinical manifestations: hypertension late in the pregnancy, headache, a feeling of heat in the afternoon, tremor of limbs, convulsions, and unconsciousness.
    • Tongue: red and peeled
    • Pulse: rapid and wiry
    • Treatment principle: extinguish liver wind, nourish liver and kidney Yin.
  • Phlegm fire harassing upwards

    • Clinical manifestations: hypertension, edema, slight tremor of limbs, mental confusion, unconsciousness, and a feeling of oppression in the chest.
    • Tongue: swollen with a sticky coating
    • Pulse: wiry and slippery
    • Treatment principle: clear heat, resolve phlegm, open the mind's orifices.
  • Empty wind

    • Clinical manifestations: slight tremor and twitching of limbs, especially after delivery, dizziness, palpitations, sweating, and a pale face.
    • Tongue: pale and short
    • Pulse: fine and scattered
    • Treatment principle: nourish blood and Yin, extinguish wind.

Prognosis and prevention of zi xian

  • In Western medicine, the clinical significance of edema and hypertension as potential prodromal signs of imminent eclampsia has been recognized.
  • If these symptoms and signs are present, the woman should be immediately hospitalized and treated with Western medicine.
  • Overall, the prognosis for zi xian is good if the condition is treated promptly and effectively.
  • Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can be integrated with Western treatment with good results, and Chinese medicine journals and texts regularly report successful case histories.
  • Prevention of zi xian can be achieved through regular check-ups during pregnancy, a balanced diet, and avoiding overwork and emotional stress.