29 November, 2019 Physician Vivian Lee

What is Infertility?

It is defined by the inability to get pregnant after 12 months of unprotected sex. Both men and women have equal chances of being infertile.

For pregnancy to happen:

Any problem with these steps causes infertility. The common causes of female infertility include uterine fibroids, blocked fallopian tubes, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). The common causes of male infertility include erectile dysfunction, insufficient sperm production, and low sperm motility.

Lifestyle factors such as smoking, drinking, diet, and stress can affect a person’s fertility as well. The cause of infertility is often considered unknown for cases where both couples are healthy yet unable to conceive. 

 

Consultation with a Chinese Medicine Practitioner

In evaluating one’s fertility, the physician will ask questions which include:

In conjunction with tongue and pulse reading, the physician will come up with a diagnosis using TCM principles. 

 

Diagnostic patterns of TCM on Infertility 

Kidney

The kidney is like the ‘powerhouse’ of the body. It stores reserve energy inherited from their parents at conception. Hence it is regarded as the ‘congenital constitution’. An individual’s growth, maturation, and reproduction rely on the energy from the kidney. Kidney energy may be low since birth, but it is also progressively depleted with age. It is particularly vulnerable to exhaustion due to factors such as chronic stress, overwork, insufficient fluid intake, multiple pregnancies, overly active sex life, or long-term illness.

Spleen

The spleen oversees the intake, processing, transformation, and distribution of nutrients and fluids from food. It thus attributes to the ‘acquired constitution’ of our body. Both acquired and congenital constitution support one’s growth and development throughout their lifespan. Irregular diet, frequent intake of raw, cold, and spicy food weakens the spleen, thus becoming less efficient in the transformation and transportation of fluids, hence dampness accumulates.

Liver

The liver regulates the circulation of ‘Qi’ throughout the body. It plays a significant role in managing emotions too. Often in times of stress and negative emotions, the regular flow of ‘qi’ is affected, which in turn disrupts the smooth circulation of ‘blood’. 

 

The Traditional Chinese Medicine solution

Acupuncture, moxibustion and/or herbal prescriptions are often recommended according to each individual’s condition.  

Acupuncture for Fertility Planning:  

  • Improve stamina & well-being 
  • Improve blood circulation 
  • Reduce stress levels 
  • Balance hormones 
  • Regulate menstrual cycle
  • Regulate ovulation 
  • Improve quality of egg 
  • Strengthen uterus 
  • Improve endometrial lining for implantation 
  • Boost IVF rate of success

Herbal prescription is often given as a concoction of multiple herbs in tablet or powder form, which should be taken regularly. For females, herbs prescribed may vary according to the different phases of the menstrual cycle. 

 

Lifestyle tips to enhance fertility

  • Maintain a healthy weight and exercise regularly.
  • Manage stress by learning to relax your mind and body.
  • Adopt a healthy diet; eat foods high in antioxidants like folate and zinc, and avoid foods rich in trans fats. 
  • Have sexual intercourse during the fertile window of the menstrual cycle. The best chance of conception is 5 days before ovulation or during ovulation.   
  • Acupressure points massage:

KD1 (Yong Quan) for kidney

 

LV3 (Tai Chong) for liver

ST36 (Zu San Li) for spleen

 

Article by Physician Vivian Lee

Note: Information provided is not a substitute for a physician or any form of medical care. Individual symptoms differ due to different body constitutions and diagnosis. One should consult a licensed TCM practitioner for accurate diagnosis and treatment.

About the Author

Physician Vivian Lee Physician Vivian Lee is a registered TCM Practitioner in PULSE. In 2015, she graduated with a Double Degree with First-Class Honours in B.Sc. in Biomedical Science and Bachelor’s Degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine from Nanyang Technological University and Beijing University of Chinese Medicine.

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