The fallopian tubes connect a woman’s ovaries to their uterus to allow an egg to be transported along. The fertilisation of the egg by the sperm usually occurs in one of the fallopian tube and after 5 days the embryo is transported along the tube to the uterus for implantation. Fallopian tube blockage is thought to account for up to a third of infertility cases whereby the tube is blocked by mucus plugs, scar tissue, fluid or debris thus preventing the fertilisation of the egg by the sperm. In some cases, herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine can help to remove the fallopian tube blockage.
It is thought that some herbal medicines work by reducing inflammation and irritation in the fallopian tubes. Active substances found in these herbs can help to soften or break down scar tissue and adhesions and dissolve cell debris and mucus plugs. They also decrease inflammation and remove scar tissue caused by an ectopic pregnancy or by infections such as gonorrhoea and chlamydia. Herbal medicines are usually administered as a tea, pill or capsule or by using an herbal enema containing the herbal medicines. Readymade herbal tampons are also available from some suppliers. The active substances are then carried by the blood stream to the fallopian tubes.
The Herbs Leonurus (Yi Mu Cao) and Siegesbeckia (Xi Xian Cao)
These herbal medicines are used together in traditional Chinese medicine to remove blockages in the fallopian tubes caused by a variety of reasons. In clinical studies conducted in China, the herbs Yi Mu Cao and Xi Xian Cao proved to clear blocked fallopian tubes within 10 days in most women.
The Enzyme Serrapeptase
Partial or complete obstructions caused by scar tissue in the fallopian tubes are caused by infections, injuries or inflammation. Traditional Chinese medical herbs for fallopian tube blockages are also used in conjunction with an enzyme called serrapeptase, which also works by helping to break down scar tissue and cystic tissue in the fallopian tubes and promote blood circulation in all the reproductive organs.
If you would like to discuss any of this information or if you have a fallopian tube blockage and want to find out if Chinese herbal medicine and/or acupuncture can help you then please contact Dr (TCM) Angelo D’Alberto on 0207 073 2939 or email at email@example.com.
Using Chinese Herbal Medicine During an IVF cycle
Generally, I do not prescribe any Chinese herbal medicine to patients during an IVF cycle, asking them to stop a couple of weeks beforehand and to just continue with their acupuncture treatment. However, I do encourage patients to continue with their herbs alongside acupuncture where they have had 2 or more stimulated IVF cycles and responded poorly to the drugs so that very few eggs or embryos were produced.
In Chinese medical thinking when the Kidney energy and Blood is nourished then ovarian function should also improve making the ovaries more responsive to the IVF medication. The Chinese herbs and acupuncture will also improve the flow of energy (Qi) and Blood in the pelvic area with the aim of improving implantation rates of the embryo.
The use of Chinese herbs during cycles involving the transfer of frozen embryos is fine if deemed necessary. Similarly, during IUI cycles where no down-regulating drugs are being used there is no contraindication to using Chinese herbs. The use of Chinese herbs where Clomid (clomiphene citrate) is being taken has been well documented and researched by numerous trials in China and is strongly recommended.
A patient who had lost one of her fallopian tubes after it had ruptured following an ectopic pregnancy had been told by her consultant that her remaining tube could collect the egg coming from the other ovary too. I know the human body is amazing but I thought I’d do some investigating to see if this is actually the case and … yes it is!
Fallopian tubes are very malleable and can cross sides to pick up the egg on the opposite side of the ovary that releases it. Whilst your ovaries take turns releasing eggs unfortunately it’s not in a set pattern but quite random as to which one it will be. It will probably take you longer to conceive if you do have just one tube remaining as the remaining tube will more likely reach out to the ovary closest to the tube.
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.