Infertility according to Traditional Chinese Medicine
There are a number of causes of infertility for females according to TCM and some Chinese Medical texts quote, ‘the treatment of women is 10 times more complicated than that of men’.
Some Chinese medicine diagnoses relating to fertility may include:
- Low kidney energy or Jing, resulting in poor quality sperm and eggs
- Blood deficiency (not enough volume) or blood stagnation (circulation) issues resulting in thin, scarred endometrial lining and poor environment for implantation
- Dampness; resulting in cysts, blockages or an endometrial lining that is too wet/soggy for implantation of the embryo to occur or motility issues in men.
As with male infertility the ‘kidney function’ in Chinese medical view, plays a major role in reproduction. It is said in TCM that the kidneys ‘dominate reproduction’ and are the store of reproductive essence or Jing (which in Western terminology relates to our life force battery). The kidney Jing plays a role in female physiology in all its stages-puberty, pregnancy and menopause. Aspects of kidney also influence libido, sexual function and contributes to longevity. Acupuncture and herbs can be used to tonify or increase the kidneys energy and strengthen the vital essence or Jing.
Balancing the kidney Yin and Yang is also essential for healthy fertility. Yin is the term used in TCM to describe the cooling, nourishing and moistening function and relates to ‘estrogen’. Deficient ‘yin’ can manifest as scanty production of vaginal and cervical mucus, scanty periods or in men scanty ejaculate. These women may also have thinner uterine linings that are not secreting adequate nourishment to maintain a pregnancy. TCM calls this a ‘hot, dry uterus’. If the yin energy is inadequate, the follicle in the ovary grows poorly and ovulation and the quality of the egg may not be optimal or viable.
Kidney ‘yang’ (relates to progesterone) performs a very important function after ovulation, when a fertilized egg reaches the uterus and implants and develops. The Chinese have for thousands of years ascribed the inability of some women to fall pregnant as a ‘cold womb’. Increasing the yang energy of the body through acupuncture, herbs and moxa also known as ‘maternal warming’ can incorrect this imbalance. In western terms a cold womb is one that is not supplied with insufficient ‘progesterone’.
Together with the kidneys and uterus the liver and the heart are also major organs associated with successful fertility. The heart encompasses the mind or ‘shen’ and governs the activity of the hypothalamus and the menstrual cycle. Balanced heart energy is essential for a relaxed spirit and the ability to have a rest-full sleep. The liver ensures your energy and blood flows freely throughout your body to nourish all your organs especially those involved with conception. The liver is also important in regulating the hormones required to fall pregnant and reduce the chance of miscarriage.
By treating the root cause of the imbalance and stresses associated with fertility, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can provide a low-cost, noninvasive option to improve a person’s overall health so that a natural conception is possible.