Quite a confident statement about the benefits of Chinese Herbal Medicine, but it has been widely reported to be true in several global studies. The overall finding being that this approach helps to improve the quality of a woman’s menstrual cycle.
One of the studies, was a study at the University of Adelaide, South Australia, which reviewed a range of studies that involved 1,851 women, aged 18-45 who had received treatment for infertility. These women suffered from endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome, amenorrhea and advanced maternal age.
The researchers reviewed seven randomized controlled trials, one non-randomized controlled trial and the results showed a 3.5 greater likelihood of achieving a pregnancy with Chinese herbal medicine therapy over a four-month period compared with conventional drug therapy alone. They found Chinese herbal medicine achieved on average a 60% fertility rate, compared with 30% for standard Western medical drug treatment or IVF.
Why is Chinese Herbal Medicine Effective for Infertility?
“In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the kidneys, liver, heart and uterus form the core of reproductive activity and together they help regulate the menstrual cycle,” explains IMI’s registered TCM practitioner Gianna Buonocore, “Acupuncture and herbal medicine can increase the chance of getting pregnant by improving the function of these organs, which in turn promotes qi (energy) and blood flow to critical areas of the body.”
“Emotional stress, infection, trauma, poor nutrition and a hectic lifestyle can disturb the supply and flow of blood and qi, which leads to problems such as irregular bleeding and ovulation.”
Other problems caused by impaired flow of blood and qi include endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), amenorrhea and advanced age.
In addition to an uninterrupted flow of blood to all areas of the body is the quality of the blood. “If the blood characteristics are poor then the developing eggs will be of poor quality and the endometrial lining will be too thin for implantation,” explains Gianna.
The aim of TCM therapies is to re-establish balance in the body. In the very first consultation, a TCM practitioner will check a patient’s tongue and pulse and assess their general state of health. This enables the practitioner to diagnose a pattern of disharmony in the body and put together a treatment plan.
IVF Support with Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs
IVF is a physically invasive procedure and is emotionally stressful. Our practitioners usually advise women to first try natural therapies before considering the more invasive options.
However, TCM can be used in combination with IVF or IUI treatment to increase fertility and produce significant additional benefits.
- Ried K, Stuart K, 2011: Efficacy of Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine in the management of female infertility: A systematic review; Complementary Therapies in Medicine, Vol 19 Issue 6, 2011; 319-31
- Paulus W E, 2002: Influence of acupuncture on the pregnancy rate in patients who undergo assisted reproduction therapy; Fertility and Sterility, 2002(4); 77: 721-4
- Dieterle et al, 2006: Effect of acupuncture on the outcome of IVF and intracytoplasmic sperm injection: a randomized, prospective, controlled clinical study; Fertility and Sterility, 2006; 85: 1347-51
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