One of the most gratifying and joyous aspects of my practice is the successful treatment of infertility. Infertility has many medically-detectable causes, but in many cases couples are tested and no cause can be found. This is called idiopathic infertility. I’m always happy when people diagnosed with idiopathy infertility come to me, because often I’m able to help.
Frequently people who’ve been given a clean bill of health by doctors present with different issues that are important to a Chinese medical practitioner. From a western medical point of view, if tests of both partners’ reproductive systems show no abnormalities, then the infertility is idiopathic. It can’t be explained. Often the couple is referred for expensive and invasive IVF (in vitro fertilization) treatments.
In Chinese medicine, we look at the whole person, and often we can find one or more possible and likely reasons, as well as natural treatments, for the inability to conceive. (Some of these same issues can also prevent someone who has conceived from maintaining a pregnancy.) Let’s examine a few of them.
Blood Deficiency. Chinese medicine’s bar is much lower than western blood tests. In other words, an acupuncturist might diagnose you as blood deficient even if your blood tests come back as normal. Blood deficiency is extremely common in our culture. In Chinese medicine, it is believed that a blood deficient woman cannot support a pregnancy. Some of the signs of blood deficiency are dry eyes, pale tongue & nail beds and sleep disturbances. Women who have heavy periods can become blood deficient. Blood deficiency is treated through acupuncture and diet, and it takes about three months to start seeing real improvement.
Stress and Worry. We all know stories of couples who conceive after they stop trying. Stress blocks energy flow in the body, which in itself can be enough to prevent conception. Acupuncture is very effective for relieving stress.
Lifestyle issues. We live in an overtaxed society. We work and play hard, and we exhaust ourselves. Good diet, sufficient sleep, exercise and healthy habits are all vital in encouraging conception and pregnancy. So is a positive outlook. I advise people to avoid negative news stories and negative people.
Cold in the Uterus. It’s believed in Chinese medicine that a fetilized egg cannot implant in a cold uterus. This is a very alien concept in western medicine, I know, but it’s considered very important in Chinese medicine. I advise my infertility patients to avoid ice in drinks and not to sit outdoors on cold chairs or benches.
Spiritual issues. Perhaps there’s something else getting in the way. Maybe there’s a part of one partner with fears or uncertainty. Maybe there are issues in the relationship. These things can prevent pregnancy. When treating these issues is not within my scope of practice I’m able to refer patients to other professionals who can help.
There are other reasons, too, but the ones I’ve mentioned are all extremely common. If your tests have come back normal, and you’re still not getting pregnant, I urge you to try Chinese medicine before submitting to the expense, discomfort and uncertaintly of IVF treatments.