Acupuncture and Unknown Fertility Issues
There is a small chance these days that your doctor may not be able to find a direct link to your fertility issues (this is known as 'idiopathic infertility'). This can be very frustrating as other, more expensive medical options start to come into the picture, and there are a variety of methods to choose from. Luckily, natural therapies like acupuncture can offer a great deal in terms of optimizing your chances of conception, even in conjunction with the scientific therapies that your doctor may suggest.
How can acupuncture make you more fertile without knowing the cause?
Acupuncture is a modality of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which has been developing for at least 3-5000 years, long before modern science was developed. Because of this, TCM practitioners had to learn from the ways their patients reacted to their treatments, sticking to what worked and forgetting methods that failed them. The result of these combined efforts over generations resulted in a complex method of diagnosis based on speaking with and listening to a patient, while also looking at their face, tongue and body language, and feeling their pulse. Applying these methods, even today, can help a TCM practitioner define for you your own pattern based on the principles of TCM. With this diagnosis, virtually any ailment has a chance at being treated. Since there is no scientific test needed, and no scientific result required other than your hoped-for result after treatment, acupuncture can have tremendous results based on the TCM pattern with which you present.
What would your pattern be with unknown fertility issues?
Generally speaking, everyone presents with a pattern of either deficiency or excess. Your treatment protocol will depend on which of these two patterns you fit into, and in what way(s) you are deficient or are carrying excess. Once this is determined, your acupuncturist can boost what needs to be boosted, or help to resolve what needs to be resolved.
Deficient patterns leading to fertility issues include Kidney (capitalized to differentiate from the scientific definition) deficiency, and Spleen deficiency. When your Kidneys are deficient, symptoms (other than fertility concerns) may include hot flashes, low back pain, knee pain, a cold feeling in your abdomen, or loose bowels. Spleen deficiency symptoms include anxiety, heart palpitations, dizziness, fatigue or insomnia.
Excess patterns leading to fertility issues include Liver Qi (energy) stagnation, Qi and Blood stagnation, and Dampness accumulation. Symptoms related to Liver Qi stagnation include irritability, depression, or irregular menstruation with small blood clots. Qi and Blood stagnation symptoms include painful menstruation with a great deal of blood clots, purplish lips, or sharp abdominal pain. Finally, Dampness accumulation symptoms include a feeling of heaviness, chest oppression, excessive sweating, or headaches.
Note: even though a TCM practitioner may diagnose you with one of the above patterns, you may not experience all of the above listed symptoms.
Treatment with acupuncture to help improve your chances of conception is commonly performed over a twelve week period to achieve optimal results. Herbal supplementation is often also prescribed, and light massage may also accompany your TCM treatments. Your acupuncture will be augmented if you are also receiving treatment such as IVF (in vitro fertilization), and is in fact a very helpful complement to this therapy in particular.
For more information, and to obtain your own free TCM diagnosis, contact us.
By Richard Lobbenberg, Acupuncturist and TCM Practitioner
These links may also be helpful:
The Yellow Gazebo Fertility Program