Infertility

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Treatment

TCM treatment for infertility focuses on devising herb and acupuncture formulas for the specific Pattern of Disharmony, differentiated by signs and symptoms. In many cases, however, whatever the cause for the imbalance, Kidney Zang should always be treated as well.

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Traditional Chinese Medicine may be used alone as a treatment for infertility or combined with Western medicine. Recent research in China on the fertility-enhancing effects of TCM has helped it become an important complementary treatment modality in the United States. In China, practitioners of TCM regard herbal medicine as the primary treatment modality and acupuncture as the second modality. Qi Gong is rarely mentioned as a treatment option in TCM literature.

All couples that fail to conceive should undergo a complete medical examination by a physician to determine the cause of the infertility. If the cause is a congenital or structural abnormality, TCM usually does not prove effective. Also, because infertility may result from many different causes, couples should consider which type of medical practice would yield the best results. It is important, therefore, for couples seeking infertility treatment to have thorough and frank discussions with their health care providers to fully understand their condition, recent clinical research, and treatment options.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture treatment for infertility focuses on a threefold strategy. First, treat the overall Pattern of Disharmony.
  • Kidney Yang Deficiency might be treated by combining points such as Kidney 3 (Tai Xi) and Ren 4 (Guan Yuan); Kidney Yin Deficiency by treating with a combination of Kidney 3 (Tai Xi) and Spleen 6 (San Yin Jiao)
  • Liver 3 (Tai Chong) and Spleen 8 (Da Ji) for Liver Qi Stagnation
  • Spleen 10 (Xue Hai) and Spleen 6 (San Yin Jiao) for Blood Stasis
  • Spleen 6 (San Yin Jiao) and Stomach 40 (Feng Long) for Phlegm
  • Spleen 6 (San Yin Jiao) is commonly used in many prescriptions because it affects not only the Spleen but also the Liver and Kidney meridians and has a direct effect upon the reproductive organs

Treat local points. The most commonly used point in this strategy is a special one on the lower abdomen called Infant's Palace (Zi Gong). Other local choices include Ren 6 (Qi Hai) and Ren 4 (Guan Yuan).

Use ear acupuncture to treat not only affected Zang Fu, such as the Liver and Kidneys, but according to biomedical diagnosis as well, using points such as Endocrine, Uterus, Testicles, and Ovaries.

Herbal Medicine

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Herbal medicine treats infertility on the basis of a careful differential diagnosis and combines herbs into formulas to resolve underlying Patterns of Disharmony. While some of the herbs in the formulas have demonstrated clinically their ability to aid infertility, they are used in the formulas to correct Zang Fu imbalances.

Herbs such as these are combined carefully with other herbs to match the signs and symptoms as exactly as possible. Specific herbs also may be used based on conventional medical examination findings. For example, a fallopian tube that is blocked by a mucous plug can be successfully treated with acupuncture and herbs, but diagnostic methods used to rule out other conditions often dislodge the mucous plug. Gou Qi Zi (Fructus Lycii Chinensis) may be added to a formula if there is a low sperm count.

  • Kidney Yang Deficiency: Formulas include herbs such as Xian Mao (Curculiginis Rhizoma) and Yin Yang Huo (Epimedii Herba)
  • Kidney Yin Deficiency: Formulas frequently contain Dang Gui (Angelicae Sinensis Radix), Bai Shao (Paeoniae Radix Alba), and Shu Di Huang (Rehmanniae Radix Conquita)
  • Liver Qi Stagnation: Formulas typically contain herbs such as Xiang Fu (Cyperi Rhizoma) and Bai Shao (Paeoniae Radix Alba)
  • Blood Stasis: Formulas contain Dang Gui (Angelicae Sinensis Radix), Chi Shao (Paeoniae Radix Rubra), and Chuan Xiong (Ligustici Rhizoma)
  • Phlegm: Formulas typically contain Ban Xia (Pinelliae Tuber Praeparatum).

Because many of these herbs, particularly those used for treating Blood Stasis, should not be taken during pregnancy, patients taking them must discontinue the treatment as soon as pregnancy occurs.

Qi Gong

In China, Qi Gong exercises are not considered effective therapy for infertility. Qi Gong routines, however, may be useful for reducing the stress, anxiety, and depression that many people diagnosed with infertility experience.

Note: For every "Dr. Wu" appearance on this website and elsewhere, it refers to "Dr. Wu, OMD., L.Ac".