Using a Western treatment approach such as surgery and drugs offers reasonable expectation of good results if the cause of infertility is rather severe i.e. blockage of fallopian tubes, failure to ovulate, etc. However in cases where the variation from normal is not so great, then slower and more ‘holistic‘ form’s of medicine such as acupuncture often excel in improving fertility in women.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the basic substances treated are Yin, Yang, Qi, Blood and Shen. Yin is described as cooling, nourishing and moistening. In the context of the Menstrual Cycle, it relates to the first half of the cycle and encompasses areas such as stimulation of follicles, pituitary function, lining of the uterus, etc. Yang is described as dynamic, active and warming and mainly comes into play at ovulation. The important functions of Yang are dispersing obstructions and aiding unfettered movement. Blood in TCM follows the Western notion of blood but goes further to include aspects of tissue nutrition i.e. nourishing the endometrium. Qi is the energy that flows in the system, its main function is that it facilitates movement of the egg. The all important Shen translates as spirit. It is related to the Heart and plays an integral role in controlling fertility. A healthy Shen and Heart will create mental stability and contentment.
The use of acupuncture for fertility is growing for both natural and assisted conception, the benefits of which include
- Regulation of the menstrual cycle and encouraging ovulation
- Improving ovarian function to maximize the production of quality eggs
- Hormone regulation to improve the number of follicles produced
- Encouraging blood flow to the uterus to improve the thickness of the uterine lining to support implantation
- Improving the quality of sperm count, motility and morphology
- Keeping stress levels down which can have an adverse effect fertility hormones
- Making assisted conception a less draining, depleting, and stressful experience
Some women also have problems with PCOS (Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome) and Endometriosis, which can have a devastating effect on fertility, and result in higher risk pregnancies. Acupuncture can be beneficial for these conditions, especially in conjunction with given dietary and lifestyle advice. The result is improved fertility
Pat uses a combination of acupuncture, herbs and diet to help in whatever way he can to improve fertility and achieving conception.