Treating Infertility with Chinese Herbs

Chinese herbs are very useful in treating the underlying cause of infertility. In Traditional Chinese medicine there are several different patterns that are identifiable. In most cases tonification of the Blood and the Kidney energy is necessary as it is the Kidney energy is responsible for reproductive function. Blood is a key factor as it is lost every month during menstruation and it is Blood that is needed to make a thick receptive uterine lining for implantation of an embryo.

In Traditional Chinese medicine, paying close attention to the menstrual history offers many clues as to a potential imbalance. For example, light, scanty periods indicate a lack of Blood; Irregular periods or premenstrual syndrome (irritability, breast distension, abdominal distension) indicate a stagnation of Qi (or energy); dysmenorrhea (painful periods) indicates poor blood circulation in the uterus or even a ‘cold’ uterus.

Having a regular menstrual cycle with a good quantity of fresh blood for 4-5 days, no clotting or pain, and no premenstrual symptoms is very achievable with acupuncture and Chinese herbs and is a positive sign that the uterine lining is thick enough and has good blood flow to it. I usually prescribe herbs during the first 3-4 days of the period with the aim of properly discharging all of the menstrual blood as well as giving herbs to replenish the blood lost.

At day 4 of the menstrual cycle, I begin to give herbs that tonify the Kidney Yin energy as well as the Blood. These herbs are to support the growth of the egg within the follicle and correspond to the hormone oestrogen. More plentiful stretchy clear cervical mucous is usually seen when taking these herbs and are a reflection that oestrogen levels are high.

After ovulation has occurred the herbs are changed to support Kidney Yang function which broadly correlates to progesterone levels.
Achieving a successful pregnancy may be quick, within one or two months, or prolonged over 6-8 months. The best sign of progress is that any menstrual problem becomes better and more normal and that there is plentiful stretchy mucous with ovulation at midcycle.

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