Journal of Acuherb in Medicine

Infertility Treatment Philosophy

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Cultivate the soil before planting the seed.

While infertility may appear to be the core problem, it is actually the manifestation of a deeper underlying imbalance. Through our approach of creating a healthy and fertile body, we correct the imbalance and leave it to the body to do what it was created to do: live in vitality and be fertile. Our overall goal is to prepare the body for conception and pregnancy

Architects will tell you that the foundation is the most important aspect of a building or a home. Much like everything in life, the key to successful conception is also a strong foundation. While it is important to live a healthy lifestyle once you have conceived, it is even more important to do so during the 3 months leading up to conception, since this period will determine the health of the sperm and egg that will eventually become your child.

There exists a Chinese parable about “cultivating the soil before you plant the seed.” This parable with respect to infertility is one of the cornerstones of our approach. It can be better appreciated by using the following example.

You have a very health plant growing in a healthy pot of nutrient rich soil. You also have an unhealthy-sickly looking plant that is shriveling up in poor quality overly dried soil. You switch the two plants from their respective pots and you place the shriveled plant in the healthy, moist soil and you maintain the soil by watering and adding nutrients to it. You place the healthy plant in the dried up soil and you neglect it so the soil remains dry and lacking nutrients.
What do you think would happen to the two plants?

There is a good chance that the healthy plant will begin to shrivel and die in the poor soil and the sick plant will recover in the nutrient rich soil. We learn from this story that the health of the plant is dependent on the quality of the soil. At our clinic we concern ourselves with cultivating your soil. We do this by creating a healthy and optimum body environment in both the man and woman, which optimizes the quality of the egg and sperm at conception, as well as providing a blood rich uterine lining favorable for implantation and for nourishing a growing fetus for the full pregnancy. 

Infertility Treatment Overview

Optimizing your reproductive health. Cultivating the soil before planting the seed. These are the goals of the infertility treatments. We treat holistically which means we take into account your physical, emotional and spiritual aspect. We do not only focus on regulating the menstrual cycle to alleviate any pain or discomfort before and during one’s cycle, we also want to improve all systems of your body and mind. If you are sleeping well, full of vitality, proper digestion and elimination and healthy sense of self then all systems will work more efficiently including your reproductive system. This can be accomplished by treating some of the subtle imbalances in the body mind and spirit via acupuncture, herbs, supplements, diet, and lifestyle.

First, your western medical diagnosis is reframed into Chinese medicine disease categories.
Second, your unique Chinese medicine patterns are diagnosed through investigation of presenting signs and symptoms.
Thirdly, a principle of treatment is created to suit your individual needs.
Finally, herbs, acupuncture, diet, supplements, and exercise are employed to regulate your menstrual cycle (i.e. elimination of PMS, reducing menstrual discomfort, adjustment of cycle length), and treat the Chinese medicine patterns you exhibit to restore balance and health.

It is optimal to treat for at least 3 months to properly regulate the menstrual cycle, balance Yin & Yang (hormonal activity), and to optimize the egg quality by ovulation. Women’s follicles are recruited over 3-5 month time period before being chosen for ovulation. This is why it is recommended to allow adequate time during the preconception phase to “nurture nature” and take at least 3 months for any treatments and healthier life style habits to take affect. Four to six months after beginning initial treatment is when a woman can expect to have an improvement in egg quality.

For natural cycles (and non-medicated IUI): specific treatment protocols are used based on where you are in your cycle as well as any imbalances during parts of your cycle (i.e. PMS). Treatment will always be aimed at regulating the menstrual cycle and the Chinese medicine patterns that are being displayed. Depending on your individual needs, you may be seen once per week during preconception, or only at certain times of your cycle (i.e. if you do ovulate on a timely basis then you may be asked to come for treatment a few days close together just before ovulation would normally occur).

Basic Chinese Medicine Patterns of Female Infertility

Kidney Yang Vacuity
Delayed menses, scanty or heavy menses, amenorrhea , pale dull blood
(3 of 4): low back ache, feeling of cold, nocturia, reduced libido, sore weak knees, bright white complexion, tiredness, copious clear urination, ankle edema, loose stools
Tongue: pale swollen with white wet coat Pulse: deep weak slow
Principle of Treatment: supplement Kidneys, warm the Yang
Herbal Medicine: You Gui Wan, Jin Gui Shen Qi Wan

Kidney Yin Vacuity
Early menses, scanty menses, watery red coloured blood
night sweat, thin body, tinnitus, poor memory, dry mouth and throat at night, low back ache, sore weak knees, scanty dark urine, constipation, tiredness, anxiety, hot flushes, 5 centre heat, malar flush, shallow sleep, excess sexual desire, dry eyes, afternoon low grade fever
Tongue: normal to red and dry with no coat Pulse: rapid thin, floating empty
Principle of Treatment: enrich Yin and Essence, nourish Blood
Herbal Medicine: Zou Gui Wan, Liu Wei Di Huang Wan, Er Zhi Wan

Blood Vacuity
Delayed menses, scanty periods, amenorrhea, pale blood
poor night vision, dull complexion, dizziness, numbness tingling in limbs, poor memory, blurred vision, trouble getting to sleep, dry skin, pale lips, white nail beds, floaters, palpitations, constipation
Tongue: pale thin Pulse: choppy thin weak
Principle of Treatment: nourish Blood, boost Qi
Herbal Medicine: Ba Zhen Tang, Dang Gui Shao Yao San

Liver Depression Qi Stagnation (Spleen Vacuity)
Irregular menses, scanty menses that may start and stop, dysmenorrhea, small clots
PMS, breast distension, irritability, hypochondrial distension, anger, unfulfilled desires, moodiness, depression, melancholy, lump in throat, alternation of loose stool and constipation, sighing, fatigue, ART anxiety,
Spleen vacuity; fatigue, dizzy when stand quickly, bruise easily, chronic loose stool, can give rise to Damp Heat, reduced appetite, nausea, belching
Tongue: may see red sides if heat, purple, swollen (Spleen) Pulse: wiry, rapid if heat, weak on the right
Principle of Treatment: course Liver, resolve depression, supplement Spleen
Herbal Medicine: Xiao Yao San, Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San

Blood Stasis
Dysmenorrhea, delayed menses, irregular menses, amenorrhea, dark blood, clots
fixed stabbing pain (worse at night that dislikes pressure), fixed masses, dark complexion, purple lips and nails
Tongue: purple Pulse: choppy or wiry
Principle of Treatment: Quicken Blood, transform Stasis
Herbal Medicine: Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang, Tao Hong Si Wu Tang

Uterine Cold
Feel colder during menses, delayed menses, scanty menses, small clots, dysmenorrhea
general cold feeling especially in lower abdomen, pale face, usually gives rise to Blood Stasis, (externally contracted or Yang vacuity)
Tongue: pale with thick white coat Pulse: weak tight
Principle of Treatment: warm interior, invigorate Yang, expel Cold
Herbal Medicine: Ai Fu Nuan Gong Wan, Wen Jing Tang

Phlegm Dampness
Delayed menses, amenorrhea
Overweight, chest oppression, cough with easy expectoration, breathlessness, rattling sound in throat, feeling of heaviness, nausea, dizziness, oily skin, white vaginal discharge
Tongue: swollen with white slippery coat Pulse: slippery
Principle of Treatment: eliminate Damp, transform Phlegm
Herbal Medicine: Ling Gui Zhu Gan Tang, Er Chen Tang

Damp Heat
Menstrual bleeding which could be scanty or heavy, bleed mid-cycle, sticky blood
Bitter taste in morning (LRGB), heaviness, yellow leucorrhea, genital itching, genital sores, mid cycle bleeding/pain, redness swelling, burning difficult dark urination, yellow complexion and eyes
Tongue: red with slippery yellow coat Pulse: slippery rapid
Principle of Treatment: clear Heat, eliminate Damp
Herbal Medicine: Si Miao San, Long Dan Xie Gan Tang 

Acupuncture and Reproductive Health 

Dr. Kenneth Wang reviewed existing studies and found that acupuncture helps…

1. Reduce stress hormones that interfere with ovulation

2. Normalize hormones that regulate ovulation so an egg is released

3. Increase blood flow to the uterus, improving the chances of a fertilized egg implanting

4. Improve ovulation cycles in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which makes getting pregnant difficult

5. Improve pregnancy rates in women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF)


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  1. acuherb / 2011/08/10 10:43 pm


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