There is a long history of treating infertility with Traditional Chinese Medicine. Some of the earliest records date back to 200 A.D., and describe herbal treatments that are still used today. For centuries, Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners have helped families to conceive.
Research funded by the Australian government indicated that couples with fertility problems are twice as likely to get pregnant using Traditional Chinese Medicine as compared to Western drugs.
“Our meta-analysis suggests traditional Chinese herbal medicine to be more effective in the treatment of female infertility – achieving on average a 60 per cent pregnancy rate over four months compared with 30 per cent achieved with standard western drug treatment.”
Clinical studies conducted in China indicate that about 70% of all cases of infertility (male and female) were successfully treated. Success rates range from about 50% up to more than 90%, depending on the particular type of infertility treated.
Some of the Causes of Infertility Treated with Chinese Herbs
- Obstruction of the fallopian tubes
- Amenorrhea (abnormal absence of menstruation)
- Absent ovulation
- Uterine fibroids
- Low sperm count
- Nonliquification of semen
Typical Approaches to Infertility in Chinese Medicine
There are three common causes to infertility which are targeted by Traditional Chinese Medicine.
- In a deficiency syndrome, the hormonal system fails to properly influence of sexual and reproductive functions.
- A stagnancy syndrome prevents the sexual and reproductive organs from functioning normally even though hormone levels (and the ability to respond hormones) are normal. These situations are related more to restricted circulation in the tissues involved.
- In a heat syndrome, the affected organs function abnormally. This may be associated with an infection or inflammatory issue, and can occur in males, causing abnormal semen quality, or in females, by causing tubal blockage, altering mucous membrane conditions, or influencing local temperature.
In all of these cases, Chinese herbs are used to rectify the underlying imbalances and restore normal functions.
Integrative Approaches to Restoring Fertility
In some cases, where people have multiple health problems, taking a more integrative approach is necessary. In these situations, complementary therapies such as psychotherapy, massage, acupuncture or hypnosis can be used to relieve stress. Alternative or mainstream medical treatment can be provided to address other related health issues.
Acupuncture is sometimes used alone, without the addition of Chinese herbs, when infertility is mainly due to functional disorders. It is particularly effective in increasing blood flow to help reproductive organs improve function.
Acupuncture has also proved effective in combination with in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intrauterine insemination (IUI). Studies in Europe and the US suggest that acupuncture treatment given on the day of implantation in IVF or IUI patients can improve the success rate. In one study, Dr. Eric Manheimer of the University of Maryland School of Medicine stated that the use of acupuncture may increase the success of IVF therapy by as much as 65%.
Reducing the Threat of Miscarriage
Chinese medicine, alternative therapy, and traditional medicine can also work together very effectively to reduce the risk of miscarriage in some pregnancies. Herbal treatments, acupuncture, and nutritional supplements such as methylfolate are common preventive therapies in these situations.
If you are struggling with becoming pregnant here in Hong Kong, our integrative medical clinic offers a wide range of traditional and alternative medical therapies, including both acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine. Give us a call today at (+852) 2523 8044 to book your appointment. Treating infertility with Traditional Chinese Medicine works for many people, so call us today.