TCM Female Infertility Treatment Theory
I have had the privilege of working with over 50 women on fertility issues over the past few years. The results have been amazing. Over 98% of them got pregnant, a few of them twice. The other 2 women gave up on treatments and didn’t want to get pregnant.
I believe the fertility issue comes down to simple concepts in Chinese Medicine. If a woman is balanced energetically, prepared to receive a child and has a fertile uterus than pregnancy is very natural and infertility isn’t an issue. However, this is easy to say but more difficult to do.
One important question I ask all my female patients concerns their partner. If the male doesn’t have good swimmers and plenty of them then the pregnancy may never happen no matter what the woman does. If this is the case, I have great Chinese herbs to increase motility and volume. So I ensure both parties are tested to rule one or the other out of the infertility equation.
With that said, I will assume the male is fine for the rest of this article. My approach is simple but effective, In general the treatments focus on building a woman’s energy, regulating her menstrual cycle and energy flow, and alleviating any psychological issues which may be present.
Of particular focus are the Kidney, Heart and Liver meridian systems.
In Chinese medicine, the Kidney system provides a woman with the foundation of her energy. If this energy is deficient either from overwork or other health issues, conception may be difficult. In theory, a woman will ideally have more energy than she needs – that is, enough extra energy to offer to the baby. Many women with busy and stressful lives present with the kidney deficiency. The goal is boost or tonify the kidney meridian system.
The Liver system is responsible for the smooth flow of menstruation, blood and energy within the body generally. A major focus of the infertility treatment is to regulate a woman’s menstrual cycle and treat any associated issues such as PMS or dysmenorrhea. Regulation of the Liver system is an important aspect of treatment, particularly if menstrual issues are present. Liver imbalances such as stagnation are also a key component in psychological issues such as depression and anxiety.
The Heart system is largely related to a woman’s psycho-emotional states. As relaxation and enjoyment are crucial aspects of fertility, the treatments will work to alleviate any emotional issues. In addition to any previous psychological issues, many women who are also undergoing western therapies experience stress – as well as hormonal imbalances – from the western procedures and the time commitments involved. Working to alleviate this stress and reducing the side effects of hormonal therapies is an important aspect of treatment.
Outside of the meridian systems listed above, the Spleen and Lung meridian systems are often used as well. The spleen has a role in the production of energy and the lung has a role in emotional issues such as grief which may coexist with infertility.
The main goals of treatment are as follows:
- regulate menstruation
- menses should become rich, red blood that is free of clots
- menstrual issues such as PMS, breast distention, etc. should be alleviated
- any psycho-emotional issues should be treated
- with regards to building energy, relaxing sleep and stress reduction should be promoted
- any digestive issues should be treated
In addition to the meridian systems described above, Chinese medicine also looks at infertility from a yin/yang perspective. Generally speaking the first section of a womens cycle (~days 1-14) is more related to the status of Blood and Yin, whereas the second section (ovulation to period) is related to the Yang. During the first section of the period the treatment may focus more on yin building protocols, whereas, the yang tonification may be the focus of the second section. This depends greatly on the overall set of signs and symptoms.
One of the main questions I get asked is how long is this going to take? The answer: it depends. Not a great answer but truthful. Every woman responds differently to acupuncture and herbs. However, I would say to count on a minimum of 3 months for the treatment protocol (weekly sessions). Give or take a month, this has been my average.
Call our clinic if you have any questions!!