What is infertility?

Infertility is a condition when a recently married couple (within a year) cannot bear a child.  There are two types of infertility ; primary infertility and secondary infertility.  Primary infertility is when a woman never experienced any pregnancy.  Secondary infertility is when a woman who has experienced pregnancy doesn’t become pregnant again after abortion, or a year of amenorrhea after giving birth.  

Causes of infertility

Women cannot become pregnant when the process of ‘ovulation-fertilization-implantation’ is interrupted for somewhat reason.  

For women, the causes are ovulation problems, fallopian tube problems, uterus problems, abdominal problems, and uterocervical canal problems.  For men, the causes are disability of testes to produce sperms, inability to transport sperms, and sexual intercourse problems.  

Oriental medicine aspect

Infertility occurs when uterus does not receive enough qi and blood.  The symptoms are endometriosis, blood clotting during menstruation, sharp and stabbing pain in the lower abdomen before menstruation, headache, breast pain, severe mood swings, and cold hands/feet.  Let’s divide the causes of infertility into women and men’s aspect.  

- congestion of damp-heat or damp-phlegm 
- deficiency of qi and blood
- the flow of qi is not smooth due to excessive stress
- blood stagnation due to problems in blood circulation
- uterus feels cold
- obesity
- underweight
- tumor in uterus 

- low energy
- not enough sperms
- premature ejaculation
- lack of sperm activities

How can acupuncture and herbs help?

Acupuncture and herbal medicine work in two entirely different ways.  Acupuncture invigorates or enhances the circulation of blood and energy throughout the body.  Some manifestations of obstructed flow of energy and blood are: endometriosis, blocked tubes, fibroids, clotting during menstruation, premenstrual lower abdominal aching or sharp stabbing pain over the ovaries during ovulation, menstruation or ovulation related headache, breast aching, extreme mood swings and cold hands and feet.  While the above signs and symptoms would not necessarily render one fertile, they do reveal internal blockage of energy and blood which may contribute to infertility.
Acupuncture moves things but cannot “give” anything to your body.  If you have “blood deficiency” that causes infertility, acupuncture probably will not help you.  Several signs and symptoms of blood deficiency include dizziness, hair loss, floaters (seeing spots), weak or brittle finger nails, insomnia, and a light scanty period.  Besides blood deficiency, there are other types of systemic deficiencies which can be successfully treated with herbs.  Herbs can directly impact one’s metabolic system, endocrine system and other systems that may contribute to infertility.  They also can nourish internal reproductive landscape and give body something it lacks; acupuncture can invigorate what is stagnant and move what is blocked.

Is it necessary for me to change diet?

Proper nutrition is as important as exercising on regular basis.  Eating salads (cold nature food) for a year is not the best diet for a person who has generally a low basal body temperature.  Sometimes eating meat such as lamb (warming food) can help tonify a “cold” uterus.