Carolyn has completed extensive post-graduate training in the fields of obstetrics, fertility and gynecology including many workshops over the past several years with the world’s foremost TCM fertility experts Randine Lewis, Jane Lyttleton, Mike Berkley and Brandon Horn.
An ever increasing number of couples today are experiencing trouble conceiving. Approximately 20 percent of Canadian couples are challenged by fertility issues. You are not alone and Chinese Medicine can help! Acupuncture and TCM have gained positive attention recently for their ability to enhance fertility. Whether you are trying to conceive naturally or are using assisted reproductive techniques, acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can help you prepare not only for conception, but for a healthy and successful pregnancy.
Conditions that respond well to Chinese Medicine include:
- Unexplained Infertility
- Luteal Phase Defect
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
- Uterine Fibroids
- Menstrual Cycle Disorders- early, late, absence, painful etc.
- Recurrent Miscarriages
- Advanced Maternal Age
- Poor Egg Quality
- Tubal Blockages and Adhesions
- Male Factor Infertility
- IVF Preparation***
***For women undergoing assisted reproductive technology TCM can aid the chance of success. Research conducted in both Germany and China have endorsed the addition of acupuncture in supporting in vitro fertilization (IVF). An IVF treatment protocol including eight acupuncture sessions leading up to an embryo transfer and treatment on the day of the transfer has shown to significantly improve pregnancy results. In the United States standard fertility treatments have approximately 20 percent success rates. Studies have shown that when TCM is combined with IVF, the odds of conception and healthy pregnancy increase by up to 50 percent. Specific acupuncture protocols can help enhance other procedures such as IUI, IUI with medication, superovulation, and ICSI. Dr. Stephen Hudson and The Victoria Fertility Centre endorse acupuncture and recommend it’s support to many patients.
There are several reasons why Chinese Medicine helps increase your chances of successfully conceiving. Acupuncture helps:
- Reduce stress – excessive stress can cause hormonal imbalances and reduce the flow of blood to the uterus
- Increases blood flow to the uterus, therefore improving the endometrial lining
- Calms the uterus to help support implantation
- Regulates menstrual cycles and rebalances reproductive hormones
- Improves ovarian function and egg quality
- Improves response to hormonal stimulation
- Increases in-vitro fertilization success rates
- Lessens the side effects from hormonal treatments and fertility medications
- Helps prevent miscarriage
- Improves sperm count, motility and morphology
The TCM approach to enhancing fertility
Eastern medicine is born from the idea that the human body is part of a much greater system of energy and life. It sees the body as a microcosm of nature. Disease or malfunction is a disturbance in the “ecosystem” of the body, and health is restored by treating the entire system rather than fixing one part of it. Eastern treatment views the health of the reproductive system as part of the overall health of the body; therefore, treating the body as a whole is the only way to restore reproductive health. Your reproductive system is not made up of isolated organs and batches of separate hormones. Each element of the system must work together seamlessly so conditions will be right for pregnancy to occur. When you restore the health of the body, your reproductive system will do what it was designed to do naturally: conceive and carry to term a healthy child.
With fertility, there are many factors that can disrupt the flow of Qi and blood – stress, poor diet and lifestyle, constitutional weakness. Acupuncture and TCM regulate the balance in the body, allowing the normal flow of Qi while restoring health to the body and mind. Recent studies show that acupuncture can balance reproductive hormones, decrease stress, and increase blood flow to the uterus and ovaries.
Traditional Chinese Medicine focuses on a person’s unique constitutional pattern to dictate treatment therapies. Many women experience painful or irregular periods, hormone imbalance or emotional upheaval throughout the month. Each of these experiences may have a different root cause for each individual. By tailoring the treatment to each individual’s needs, Chinese Medicine can bring about great relief to many women. Carolyn has years of experience and training dealing with fertility and reproductive issues. Eastern medicine treatments include acupuncture, herbal formulas, dietary and massage therapy and lifestyle suggestions which can help restore balance and health to every aspect of your body, and optimize your reproductive health.
Riding the emotional roller coaster
Chinese Medicine also addresses the psychological impact that conception challenges place on those struggling to conceive. Feelings of frustration, depression and isolation are common and will be addressed during your treatments. The journey of fertility is most challenging and is well understood by your practitioners. By connecting the uterus with the kidneys, heart and brain, Chinese medicine can create great change and can impact how emotions affect endocrine function and create a sense of peace and well being while trying to conceive.
If you are planning to conceive, it is beneficial to seek out acupuncture and Chinese medicine treatments approximately three months prior to attempts in order to prepare the body for conception. This type of treatment is appropriate for both males and females as it takes approximately 100 days to produce new sperm and at least three months to re-balance female hormones and influence egg recruitment. The eastern approach views this time-frame as an opportunity to “cultivate the soil before planting the seed.”
Research and reviews
- The Infertility Cure – by Randine Lewis
- Taking Charge of Your Fertility – Toni Weschler
- Fertility & Conception – ZitaWest