Enhancing fertility with Chinese medicine

- A Holistic Approach

ying and baby twins through 1st ivfNowadays the conventional route for infertility results in Assisted Reproduction Technology (ART) too quickly, even it may not be necessary or appropriate. However, IVF should be the last resort. Changing life style, improving general well being, natural treatment are always worth trying first. 

Chinese medicine has been used in China for centuries to regulate the female reproductive system. Our approach of enhancing fertility is to integrate Western and Chinese medicine. We will examine a whole range of physical symptoms, lifestyle and other factors that may affect your fertility. The focus is to regulate your menstrual cycle.

A good Chinese gynecologist can tell a lot how the body is functioning from a woman's menstrual cycle-colour, texture, timing and duration and accompanied symptoms. Integrated with the modern laboratory tests and BBT (basal temperature chart), we will help maximize your chances of conceiving naturally.

During consultation we’ll help you understand of where they are and how to move forward. Whether it is unexplained infertility, any underlying conditions like endometriosis,  Polycystic Ovaries, recurrent miscarriages etc, or you are using assisted conception (IVF, ISCI), we’ll take a look from Chinese medicine perspective, to restore and balance the energy, which may have become depleted, disrupted through stressful lifestyle, miscarriages or IVF treatment.

There have been several studies investigating the use of acupuncture:

*Improve the reproductive system’s blood flow to the endometrium and ovaries

*Improve the quality of eggs and sperm

*Balance hormone levels

*Reduce uterine contractility so to relax the uterus

*Minimise the side effect of IVF drugs

Below are some commonly seen situations:
Unexplained infertility
It is the "ideal" situation for us. We will look at you from the Chinese medicine perspective to find the underlying imbalance that causes the difficulty to conceive. What you probably need is just a little bit help!
Disorder of ovulation
Commonly seen ones include Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), premature ovarian failure/premature menopause, resistant ovary syndrome, hypothalamic anovulation, post-pill amenorrhoea etc.
Chinese medicine approaches these problems by trying to re-establish a regular menstrual cycle, rather than just one-off ovulation that drugs can achieve. In Chinese medicine, lack of ability to produce eggs is related either to a Kidney or Blood deficiency, or to an interruption somewhere in the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis caused by Qi stagnation, Phlegm-Damp obstruction or Blood stagnation.
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Endometriosis
It is a condition which has puzzled doctors for a long time - associated with painful period, pain during intercourse, spotting before periods and infertility. For extensive or bulky endometriosis, it’d better be removed with surgery, hopefully leaving undamaged tubes and ovaries. T
he drug regimens haven’t been very satisfactory.
The strategy behind all of them is to prevent ovulation and the flux of hormones associated with a normal menstrual cycle. Plus the fact that they produce a wide range of side effects that are not easily tolerated or more treatment is needed for the side effects, the endometriosis often comes back after the treatment stopped!
Is there another way that doesn’t remove or shrink the manifestations of the imbalance but tries to address that imbalance or underlying pathology? Chinese herbs and acupuncture, which aim to regulate the flow of Qi and Blood, strengthen the Kidneys, not only can effectively relieve the distressing symptoms, but also prevent it from reoccurring. Also as the patients’ hormone level is more balanced they feel generally better and fertility can certainly improve.
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Blockage of the fallopian tubes
Structural blockage can be difficult. If there is extensive damage to the tubes, IVF is the only option.
Chinese medicine often produces a good outcome for functional blockages. Emotional stress can cause spasm and tension in the muscles of the tube walls. You might have heard that sometimes HSG indicated completely closed tubes which, when examined again during laparoscopy and general anaesthetic, prove to be perfectly patent.
Women, who have been trying to fall pregnant for a long time, understandably feel some level of pressure at midcycle. The tension held in the body can manifest in tight or inflexible tubes. In this situation acupuncture around ovulation time will help to encourage flexibility of the tubes.
Excess secretions from the cells lining the tubes can also block the tubes. Acupuncture, probably with Chinese herbs that can resolve the phlegm-damp accumulation works well for this situation.
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Recurrent miscarriages

The cause of a miscarriage is not always known. Chromosomal or genetic abnormalities in the embryo, hormonal deficiencies, an immune reaction or an infection are thought to be responsible in the majority of early miscarriages (in the first twelve weeks of a pregnancy).

We all can understand that having repeated miscarriages is very damaging, but the pressure of time ticking by is strong once a woman is already in her late 30s or has turned 40. But it is wise for them to prepare their body first.Chinese medicine has been used to prevent miscarriages for centuries. A Chinese medicine viewpoint is that an underlying Kidney deficiency, sometimes as well as Spleen deficiency, is often linked to the occurrence of a miscarriage. After diagnosing the nature of the recurrent miscarriage according to the constitution of the female partner, acupuncture, sometimes with Chinese herbs if needed, will be given to address the cause before trying again. After positive pregnancy test pregnancy will be closely monitored. it is advised to carry on with treatment at least till twelve weeks. If there was a late miscarriage in the past treatment should be carried throughout the pregnancy.

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Publications
Yes, herbal medicine can help women achieve pregnancy - Guardian newspaper
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