Using Chinese Medicine and female fertility

Chinese Medicine and female fertility

In Australia, the use of Traditional Chinese Medicine is enjoying growing popularity amongst couples and their treatment choices as they seek to enhance their fertility using natural methods.  Good news stories of positive experiences and successful outcomes are spreading like wild fire as natural, holistic adjunctive and alternative support  to conventional medical fertility enhancement (IVF) are being sought.

The overwhelming evolutionary purpose of humanity is to reproduce, ensuring survival of our species.  As such Chinese Medicine practitioners are working with a very potent force dwelling within nature.

There are a number of possibilities to explain why couples might experience difficulty conceiving.  In many cases of medically unexplained infertility it is relatively simple to use Chinese Medicine.

In cases of explained infertility Chinese Medicine is often used in conjunction with Western medical treatment as an adjunctive therapy.

Fertility treatments

There are many schools of thought within Chinese Medicine that govern how practitioners approach clinical cases.  Some practitioners will insist on treating both partners simultaneously, some only when clinically necessary.  Some will prefer to use one general formula for the duration of the whole menstrual cycle and change it according to how symptoms shift over time.  Others will elect to divide the menstrual cycle, usually into four phases and use a different formula for each phase.

No matter what the treatment approach is, the primary aim of fertility treatment is to increase the likelihood of pregnancy and the intended outcome is pregnancy.

Unexplained infertility

Unexplained infertility is diagnosed when after a year of unprotected intercourse at ovulation a couple has been unable to conceive and medical evaluation has been unable to determine any abnormalities to explain the reasons behind the infertility.

Even though medical test might hold no explanation, there will commonly be subclinical signs able to be detected using the system of Chinese Medicine that explains the reason behind the infertility.  These sub-clinical signs might include symptoms such as light periods, premenstrual breast distension and stress, clotting with the period, period pain, excessive vaginal discharge, irregular cycle or heavy menstrual bleeding.

Fertile but having difficulty conceiving subsequent pregnancy

The next category includes those women who have a history of previous pregnancy.  Clearly fertile this group either have children or have experienced previous miscarriage(s) and are finding it difficult to conceive a subsequent pregnancy.

Following miscarriage, pregnancy and childbirth there are a number of circumstances that may impede a women’s natural capacity to conceive.  A woman may have a constitutional weakness that predisposes her to a greater risk of compromised reproductive health and fertility.  She may have experienced birth trauma or medical complications and intervention, multiple birth, previous miscarriage(s), pregnancies too close together, be an older mum or have received inadequate post-natal support and recovery.

Explained infertility

Explained infertility is when Western Medical tests have been able to establish an underlying pathology such as Endometriosis, hormonal irregularities, Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), Fibroids, blocked fallopian tubes, failure to ovulate or poor egg/semen quality which might explain the reason behind infertility.

By the time most women arrive at a Chinese Medicine clinic they usually have a Western Medical diagnosis and will be looking to explore conjunctive or alternative treatment options.

Having a Western Medical diagnosis can be very helpful to Chinese Medicine treatment in that it offers valuable supplementary information to support and direct a comprehensive treatment plan.

Other than diagnostic tests, the scope of Western Medicine practice is primarily limited to drug therapy, surgery and of course IVF treatment.

Once the cause of infertility is established then a woman will be able to use this information to make informed choices about her next treatment option(s).

A surgical procedure will remove any pathological growths, uterine obstructions or scarring.

Surgery quickly and resolutely removes ‘old’, stale blood and energy allowing the opportunity for a new, voluptuous endometrial layer to develop.  This treatment outcome would also be one of the intended aims of Chinese Medicine treatment although the end is achieved using non-surgical techniques.

Falling pregnant is only one aspect of the ‘baby making’ equation.

The value of Chinese medicine in this scenario is in its ability to support and cultivate the fertile ground of the endometrium to provide ongoing nourishment to a growing baby.

Chinese medicine is commonly used in conjunction with Western Medicine care and women often continue both Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal treatment once they become pregnant.

Helpful hints to enhance fertility

  • Cease OCP as soon as possible
  • Address menstrual irregularities sooner rather than later
  • Space your children, allowing adequate time for  post natal recovery and recuperation
  • Reduce stress, practice relaxation, yoga, meditation, have a holiday
  • Consider having children in your 20-30’s.
  • Avoid cold, raw foods and fluids, processed and junk food
  • Regular exercise that is appropriate to your fitness level
  • Stop smoking
  • Avoid or restrict alcohol intake
  • Keep your reproductive organs warm, wear a singlet or a tummy warmer to protect your midriff