Health Blog

Traditional Chinese Medicine and Infertility

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is one of the oldest, continually practiced medicines in the world. The written literature reaches back almost 2,500 years, and 1/4 of the world's population uses it.  TCM is practiced extensively in China, Japan, Korea, Malaysia and parts of Southeast Asia. Now it has gained unprecedented popularity in North America as well. TCM works by establishing balance in the body's flow of chi or vital life force. 

Within the system of Traditional Chinese Medicine is: acupuncture, herbs, acupressure, moxibustion (heat therapy) , diet and lifestyle consultation. A practitioner of TCM should be well versed in these different modalities. She then uses these to create a treatment plan aimed towards restoring health, energy and balance in the patient.

With respect to infertility, TCM provides a low cost, non invasive alternative and complement to modern western medicine. It emphasizes a re-balancing of the body's energetic system. The treatments are tailored to the individual's particular energetic imbalance.

How does the practitioner of TCM view infertility?  Through the four exams of looking, listening, smelling, feeling the pulse and asking questions the practitioner discovers a pattern of energetic disharmony.  It is this pattern of disharmony that is treated. To put it more simply if a person is energetically cold you want to warm them up with moxibustion, warming herbs, and having then eat a warm, nutritious diet.  Conversely if a person is too hot they need to be cooled, if they are weak they need to be strengthened etc. 

The most common patterns seen in infertility are: deficiency of kidney yin or yang, symptoms could include: weakness and/or chronic aching in the lower back, with deficiency of yin you could feel warm in the evenings with possibly night sweats.  With deficiency of yang you could be more sensitive to the cold and have cold feet.  Stagnation of liver chi could show up as irritability or anger, PMS, or possibly fibrocystic breasts.  Stagnant heat might cause you to bleed excessively during your menses. Blood deficiency might present with dizziness or weakness and a cold uterus with cysts, or fibroids.  You might be thinking that you have some symptoms from a few categories.  This is very common and all can be treated with acupuncture and TCM.

If you are considering becoming pregnant the first thing to consider is to normalize your menses. If your menses are already normal, i.e. it comes every 27-30 days, the flow is normal, not too scant, not too excessive, if the color of the blood is normal, if the flow is pain free without cramping and without lower backache then you could be good candidate for pregnancy.

If however your period is not normal,  consider seeing an acupuncturist and practitioner of TCM to help you with normalizing your period.  The success rate with acupuncture and infertility is very high and it is non-invasive and very relaxing.