Traditional Chinese Treatment for Infertility

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Traditional Chinese Treatment for Infertility

Perhaps the most rewarding and enriching experience for a couple is the birth of a healthy baby. Difficulties in conceiving and bearing children are often the most frustrating and heart-wrenching problems a couple must endure.

Generally, a couple's inability to conceive after two years of normal sexual relations in the absence of birth control is symptomatic of an infertility problem. These problems can occur when a woman has had no previous pregnancies, which we call Primary Infertility, or when she has had at least one pregnancy, which we call Secondary Infertility. Traditional Chinese Medicine can successfully treat both types with safe, effective and natural methods.

In order for a pregnancy to occur, the male and female bodies must first be prepared and the conditions for a successful pregnancy must be met; these conditions, according to Western physiology, are the production of a normal egg (ovum) in the female ovaries, the production of normal sperm in the male, fertilization of the egg in the fallopian tubes and successful implantation of the fertilized egg (zygote) in the uterine wall (endometrium). If any stage of this process is abnormal, the woman will be unable to conceive. Infertility problems may have their origin in either the male or the female reproductive systems, or in the combined systems; subsequently, it is equally important to evaluate both to insure comprehensive treatment.

The underlying causes of infertility in the female reproductive tract can be irregular menstruation or the absence of menstruation due to a hormonal imbalance from stress, emotional problems or the previous use of Western birth control. Infertility can also result from a problem with the ovaries, such as the failure of the ovary to develop properly or the presence of a fibrous cyst, a hard lump of tissue that may develop in the ovaries. Scarring or closure of the fallopian tubes, due to swelling or adherence of the tube walls, may be brought on by an infection in the upper reproductive tract and will also lead to infertility.

Uterine problems may also cause infertility. The uterus may be too small; there may be uterine cysts present (uterine fibroid tumors), uterine TB or polyps which are abnormal growths on the interior of the uterus attached to the uterine wall. Infertility may result from a condition known as Endometriosis which is an abnormal extension of the lining of the uterus that may develop anywhere inside or outside the abdomen. Vaginal problems may also be the cause. Vaginal scarring or cysts may be present. There may be structural problems with the vagina resultant from a birth defect in the woman or the opening may be abnormal. For example, a double vagina or a closed vagina in which the vagina is closed at birth. Both conditions requiring surgical correction. The vaginal fluid may be too acidic or too alkaline for sperm to survive.

According to Chinese medical principles, female infertility results from a condition we call a cold uterus; by this we mean energetic coldness, but it can be related to climate. For instance, chilly or damp weather may make the uterus "cold", in which case the woman cannot become pregnant. Other factors are coldness in the stomach and spleen, liver chi stagnation, excess phlegm, kidney yang and chi deficiency, kidney jing deficiency, and chi and blood stagnation. I utilize Chinese pulse and tongue characteristics to diagnose the specific condition. I then prescribe herbs to treat this condition, for example to warm the uterus, establish regular menstruation, move the blood, move and tonify the chi yin or yang if chi deficient, drain the dampness from the body, clear flem, and soothe the liver chi in the case of liver chi stagnation. The physiological causes of fertility problems identified using Western medical theory, such as a hormone imbalance, are also corrected through Eastern medical treatments.

The origin of the infertility problem may also reside in the male; and, it is equally important to consider this. Once again, I incorporate Western medical analysis with Eastern theory and treatment. I employ laboratory analysis to determine sperm production and the ratio of normal to abnormal sperm. Low sperm count, low volume (less than 2 mL), or a high percentage of abnormal sperm will lead to impaired fertilization. These sperm cell abnormalities include double, enlarged or diminished heads, motility impairment and double tails. The pH may be too low or too high, again implying a medium either too acidic or too alkaline for maintaining healthy sperm.

Chinese medical principles identify the cause of male infertility as kidney yang and chi deficiency. My treatment is to prescribe herbs that tonify the kidneys, strengthen the yang and build the chi. We find that treating the male according to these traditional energetic principles leads to an increase in sperm production, restores pH to within its proper range and increases the ratio of normal to abnormal sperm. This can be verified analytically through laboratory testing and clinically through effective treatment results.

When patients ask me whether Chinese herbs can really help them I respond that Chinese Medicine has a five thousand year history and that these herbs were successfully used to treat infertility long before Western medicine developed pharmaceuticals. Beyond that, Chinese herbs are very, very safe. They contain no chemicals or substances which may be toxic to the body. I have used Chinese herbs to safely and effectively treat menstrual problems, cramps, PMS, menopause difficulties, and vaginal, uterine and ovarian cysts and cancers. I often tell my patients about my University library in China containing thousands and thousands of volumes on Chinese Medicine, many of which are hundreds or even thousands of years old. But the techniques and herbal prescriptions in them are still valid and used today. Our medical knowledge is cumulative and based on what has worked over centuries of trial and error.

The treatment for infertility generally takes two to three months to take effect. One patient of mine had tried unsuccessfully for a year to become pregnant. And after two and one half months on Chinese Medicine she became pregnant and later delivered a healthy boy. Another tried two years with no success and after one and a half months on Chinese herbs she became pregnant. She eventually delivered a girl. In the past three years I have had wonderful success treating eight patients in America; eight of my patients have become pregnant, with five births so far, two expecting in the Spring of 1997 and one of these with twins.

The Holistic Health Network.

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By Rosey Ma

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