What is female infertility?
The majority of women who come to us for help with unexplained infertility are trying acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine because they believe that they have exhausted their options. Many are older and are trying to conceive while approaching menopause. Others are young and have menstrual issues or endometriosis. Some are still hopeful that they will conceive, but others are suffering from mental stress, guilt, and despair.
The women we treat believe that they are infertile, because they have been labelled infertile by the medical system, society, or themselves. Our program operates on the premise that, unless there is a biological reason that you cannot conceive (you are too old or young, or have a structural problem), you are fertile.
When you start the program after our comprehensive initial consultation, it is because you are fertile. But physiological factors are getting in the way of your natural state of fertility, resulting in unexplained infertility. We use traditional Chinese medicine to identify and treat whatever is causing unexplained infertility so that you can conceive. For example, we discover ovulation problems and remove barriers to ovulation, treat amenorrhea, and explore whether women have blocked fallopian tubes.
We take a holistic approach to restoring fertility by focusing on your entire health and wellness. The reproductive system is connected to and affected by all the other systems. By treating the entire person, we identify and remove hormonal, physiological, and even emotional issues impacting fertility, bringing you into balance and enhancing your ability to conceive.
Three months is typically enough time to improve the quality of the follicles through acupuncture and bring about cycle regulation and hormone balancing. However, if you have serious menstrual issues, such as irregular or unpredictable cycles, amenorrhea, anovulation, or severe PMS or pain, we may suggest a longer treatment program. Also, we might include lifestyle and nutritional advice to your tailored plan to help you successfully conceive.
Preconception acupuncture treatments help improve:
- Digestion and absorption
- Mental and emotional states
- Blood flow to the uterus and ovaries
- General blood production
- Cycle regulation and hormone balancing
In the event of troubled conception, we will help you find a solution and may even refer you to a specialist, such as a gynecologist or reproductive endocrinologist in order to gather more information. Fortunately, it has been our experience that success is achieved after a few months with regular acupuncture treatments, Chinese herbs, careful monitoring, and timing. However, some women do need additional support through the use of assisted reproductive techniques (ART) and we are happy to help by providing complimentary care and advice. Acupuncture treatments for enhancing the success of IVF/IUI through cycle regulation and hormone balancing also ideally begins three months before the IVF/IUI procedure. This allows us to help you achieve the best health possible before the cycle.
If you have an IUI or IVF in less than three months, acupuncture will be done to get your body ready. There may not be enough time to bring about cycle regulation and hormone balancing, so our goal is to encourage implantation, reduce the chance of miscarriage, and improve hormone production by using acupuncture to do the following:
- Improve blood flow to the uterus and ovaries
- Thicken uterine lining
- Decrease uterine cramping
- Reduce stress levels
Acupuncture Support During IVF and IUI Treatments
We offer acupuncture support during IVF and IUI treatments. Acupuncture is done on the day of your IVF or IUI procedure to increase your chance of success. The acupuncture can be done before or after the procedure.
Acupuncture support during IVF and IUI treatments has been proven to increase success rates. One study, published in the British Journal of Medicine, found that pre- and post-transfer acupuncture improved IVF success rates by 65%. Continued pregnancy rates improved by 82% and live birth rates improved by 91%. On the day of or before your procedure, we will use acupuncture to relax you, boost blood flow to your uterus, and reduce uterine spasms. This will improve the chance of implantation and contribute to a reduced likelihood of miscarriage.
Acupuncture support during IVF and IUI treatments is a safe, natural way to make IUI and IVF more effective. If you are planning a procedure, talk to us about how we can help you increase your chance of a successful conception.
Chinese Herbal Medicine
Chinese herbal therapy corrects underlying deficiencies, balances hormones, and regulates the menstrual cycle. Chinese herbs for fertility help to:
- Reduce stress hormones and normalizing brain dysfunction
- Improve ovarian function
- Create more follicles
- Improve egg production
- Balance hormone and endocrine systems that regulate ovulation
- Improve blood flow to your reproductive organs
Nutrition and Diet
What we put into our bodies really does affect our physical and mental health. A strong balanced diet creates a strong balanced body and mind. Think quality over quantity, which means eating a cleaner source of food such as, organic. If you think about all the chemicals substances that make its way into our food in order to enhance modern farming (hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, and fertilizers) and then we ingest those chemically rich foods. The chemicals make their way into our own body’s chemistry making us ill from the inside out. Therefore, it makes sense to eat healthy foods for a healthy you.
In Chinese medicine food is seen as having energetic properties that help us maintain our own energy to influence our health and therefore used as an additional therapy. Your practitioner may suggest incorporating certain foods into your diet to help support the acupuncture treatment you are receiving. For instance, if a woman is being treated for amenorrhea we might suggest eating more protein rich organic foods. Women with fertility issues might be told to include more warming foods to their diet such as roasted vegetables. This is because Chinese medicine views cold foods (ice drinks, salads) as an impediment to a woman’s reproductive system by not providing a sufficient amount of warmth to the uterus to sustain life.
Another theory in Chinese medicine includes the way we eat our food, so your practitioner may inquire about your mealtime routine and ask you to adjust it. In this fast paced society we often don’t take time for our meals and it is important for the health of our digestive system that we refrain from skipping meals, emotional binge eating, eating on the run, or while working.
Lifestyle and Mind-Body Medicine
In addition to improper eating habits, overexertion is a common cause of health declination. As a result we may suggest different techniques to assist you in finding and maintaining that balance between work, rest, and daily activities. Some suggestions that we may include: going to bed earlier to get a sufficient night’s rest, taking part in meditative exercise such as yoga or tai chi, or just help you find time in your schedule one day a week for yourself.
Further, fertility yoga can aid in healing the body through a combination of pranayama (breathing techniques), meditation, and yin and yang movements. Yoga helps increase the blood flow and circulation to the reproductive organs. Yoga helps with a range of disorders including fibroids, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, polycystic ovary syndrome, vulvodynia, and vaginisum. We provide a combination of Yin and Yang yoga to supply the many benefits that each tradition offers. We offer both a 6-week group yoga program and private specialized sessions.