Chinese Medicine Perspectives on Infertility

Yin Yang Acupuncture Chinese Herbs FertilityChinese medicine, including acupuncture and Chinese herbs, offers much to women (and men) struggling with infertility. A long anecdotal record among Chinese medicine practitioners is now being supported by research.

 

The Chinese approach to enhancing fertility is to normalize the menstrual cycle, and ensure the abundance of qi, blood and essence.  We also pay attention to harmonizing and balancing yin and yang. Our attention to the yin demonstrates the special insight of Chinese medicine. Modern fertility treatment focuses on the yang process of forcing more eggs out of the ovaries at the clear expense of the woman’s yin. Indeed, most ovarian stimulating drugs are very hot, according to Chinese medicine, and thus they damage the yin. The result is thin uterine lining, absent mid-cycle cervical fluid, and a sub-optimal uterine environment for the embryo. Acupuncture alone can counteract some of these side effects of ovarian stimulation, but Chinese herbs can bring even more benefit. Chinese herbs during ovarian stimulation have been researched in China, but not in the West. (Zhenjiang Journal of Chinese Medicine 2007; 7 : 405)

 

These days acupuncture alone to support IVF success is fairly common, but as a practitioner I find myself wishing more women tried Chinese medicine first. By the time I see a woman, maybe just a few days away from an IVF embryo transfer, she may have had multiple medicated cycles and be in significant imbalance, probably much more so than before she started the fertility drugs. The exclusive approach of Western medicine seems to be to crank up the ovaries, and ignore the other issues that may truly be the root of the infertility.

 

The individual patterns associated with infertility in Chinese medicine are varied. Three patterns are quite common and may occur alone or in combination with each other.

Pattern Symptoms Possible Western Correlate
Yin deficiency Scant menses Rising FSH levels
Scant cervical fluid
Short follicular phase
**************************
Yang deficiency Hx of miscarriage Sub-clinical hypothyroid
Heavy menses Insulin resistance
Cold feet
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Blood stasis Painful menses Endometriosis
Dark menstrual blood Coagulopathies
Insulin resistance

 

While this is a very simple summary of the patterns we see, each of these pathologies can be treated with Chinese herbs and acupuncture, and even if the woman elects to proceed with advanced reproductive intervention, her chances of sustaining a full term pregnancy will be greatly enhanced.

 

Chinese medicine restores balance to the ovaries, uterus, and spirit. Achieving balance is not an over-night event, and not as quick as a round of clomid and the swollen follicles that follow. But Chinese medicine will make you healthier and that is always good for you and your pregnancy.

 

I am available to help you attain balance and improve your fertility. Please call or e-mail to learn more.

Please contact me at ewqi4me@yahoo.com, or 520-318-4964.

 

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