Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine for
On average, Infertility affects 1 in 5 homes, and is defined by not achieving pregnancy after 12 months of consecutive attempts. I have personally seen what an enormous challenge this can pose to a married couple and the toll it takes as negative test results mount over years of trying unsuccessfully. More so than with almost any other condition, I see women blame themselves, spouses become distanced from one another, and an overarching burden being carried on everyone’s shoulders. Indeed it is a painful challenge many have to endure.
What Causes Infertility?
There are many possible reasons why a couple can be infertile. It may shock you to learn that it is essentially a 50/50 split when it comes to which partner the dysfunction occurs within. However, since fertilization of the egg occurs within the woman’s body though, the onus often falls upon the wife; often times by herself as well. It goes without saying that there is no place for blame as this is a medical/physiological issue. It is imperative to keep the morale high, and stay a team, as is vital to not only achieving success, but to building a stronger relationship through the challenges presented by infertility.
There are many reasons a husband or wife may have difficulty conceiving.
For a Male:
For a Female:
The menstrual cycle of a female occurs through 4 phases (menstrual, follicular, ovulation, and luteal). Dysfunction during any one of these phases can affect the women’s ability to conceive. Below is a specific list of common issues that can occur:
In addition, it is all too frequent that the cause for infertility is simply unexplained.
Our Approach to Infertility:
It is beyond the scope of this article to go into all the different possible patterns that can exist when treating a patient to improve their chances for conception. I would like to share the 2 step process that I typically implement in the clinic, which I learned from my master Dr. Jimmy Chang.
Step 1: Clear the Pelvic Area
So many women present with cysts, fibroids, polyps, scar tissue, inflammation, and even infections in the pelvic area/reproductive organs. Our first step is to take around 1 month and clear the pelvic area as much as possible. We do this with both herbs and acupuncture. In Chinese medicine we have long used herbal formulas to successfully reduce abnormal growths such as cysts for example, along with reduce inflammation, and improve blood flow to an often stagnant area. My master taught me to combine 3 different formulas together to achieve these goals with excellent success.
Our first step is to take 1 month and clear the pelvic area as much as possible
Step 2: Strengthen Ovulation
Once we have cleared the pelvic organs of any possible stagnation, our goal shifts to strengthening the patient’s ovulation. We do this with a specific set of herbs which I also received from my master, along with a specific set of acupuncture points that not only balance hormones and improve blood flow to the pelvic area, but also calm the mind of the patient. It is understandably common that stress and anxiety are present and play a role in interfering with conception. This specific combination of herbs and acupuncture has proven to be quite successful in helping couples conceive.
During this time we also have our female patients take their basal body temperature every morning upon waking, and have them chart it on graph paper so we can learn more about the ovulation strength and timing. Over the course of a cycle or two we can start to see a pattern that can help in correcting hormonal imbalances and directing the patient with specific advice to improve chance of conception.
Once we have cleared the pelvic organs of any possible stagnation, our goal shifts to strengthening the patient’s ovulation.
As I mentioned above, the reason for infertility often times involves the male partner instead of or in addition to the female. In the case of the male we must first differentiate the pattern involved and then treat accordingly, ideally with both acupuncture and herbal medicine.
Whether we need to improve blood flow, boost testosterone, improve sperm quality or quantity, or clear a blockage; we must first assess the male patient and only then proceed with treatment once the nature of the problem has been clarified.
Supporting IVF with Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine:
In vitro fertilization has helped countless couples achieve the miracle of parenthood. However, not everyone is successful with IVF. IVF is expensive and emotionally taxing on the prospective parents; especially if multiple attempts are required.
The good news is acupuncture can increase success of IVF treatments by 35-50% according to a meta-analysis of 14 research studies.
Acupuncture increases success of IVF in the following ways:
And for men it increases sperm quality and therefore we also recommend a minimum of 3 months of acupuncture if this is the case.
Given the financial and emotional investment involved with IVF, it makes a lot of sense to include acupuncture into the overall protocol to increase one’s chances of success.
Our Protocol for IVF Support:
We recommend a woman begin her acupuncture treatments 3-6 months prior to doing an IVF cycle. Generally 1 treatment a week over the course of 3-6 months is sufficient to prepare the body for implantation.
It is also important to get acupuncture the day before egg retrieval, before and/or after implantation, and 3-5 days after implantation.
Then the patient can continue with acupuncture as needed.
Out of all the different issues we treat, it is hard to think of anything that brings more joy into the clinic than bringing new life into this world. When you see firsthand the pain and suffering involved with infertility cases, and then come to hear that same patient say, “I just had a positive test”, it is an indescribable moment. What could be a bigger honor and joy to be a part of?
For this reason, I have made infertility the first condition I chose to write about in this format. I hope to publish more short articles like this one moving forward, in order to spread awareness about conditions I have seen success treating over the years.
If you are suffering with infertility or some other condition; please contact the clinic to book in for an initial consultation and treatment. If you unsure if this is the right approach for you, then we also offer a complimentary meet and greet so we can answer your questions and find out how we can help you.
David Rose Acupuncture and Herbs (Treating out of 2nd Nature Wellness Center):
34 Nachal Hakishon
David has been practicing acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine since 2005. He also sat on the committee for competency and complaints for the College of Acupuncturists of Alberta which governs the profession of acupuncture in conjunction with the Health Physicians Act in Alberta, Canada. Please visit David’s website to learn more about him and how he helps his patients.