Traditional Chinese medicine can be used to help support female fertility, thereby increasing the chances of a successful pregnancy. It has also been shown to increase successful implantation rates when used in conjunction with IVF.
Chinese medicine in the form of acupuncture and herbal medicine are used to help regulate hormones so that the ripening and releasing of eggs and the thickening of the uterus lining can occur. Improving egg quality can also be a very important focus of the treatment approach.
Modern scientific research is starting to understand the mechanisms by which this can occur and they include the following clinical findings:
Acupuncture has been shown to reduce the stress and hyperactive sympathetic nervous system response. Research has shown that stress can negatively affect fertility and IVF outcomes.
Studies have shown that acupuncture increases blood flow to the uterus and ovaries which is understood to be beneficial to reproductive function.
Endometriosis is one disease mechanism which can negatively affect female fertility. There is research demonstrating that acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can have a beneficial effect on pregnancy rates in addition to pain and certain immune/inflammatory markers on women with endometriosis.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) can affect fertility and make it more difficult to have a baby. Research on women with PCOS has shown that acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can have a beneficial effect on ovary function, pregnancy rates and other parameter s such as blood glucose levels and BMI (Body Mass Index).
In the first few weeks of pregnancy, implantation and development of is critical in avoiding miscarriage. Research on acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine has demonstrated a reduced incidence of miscarriage. One of the mechanisms by which acupuncture is understood to have an effect is through immune modulating effects which reduces the risk of the mother’s immune system rejecting the embryo.
Pregnancy related problems
Throughout the different stages of pregnancy, you may experience numerous signs and symptoms including:
Nausea and vomiting
lower back and hip pain
swollen legs and ankles/varicose veins
Acupuncture along with a lifestyle and diet care plan can be very helpful to mums dealing with pregnancy related complaints. At best, this approach can help resolve the complaint completely or in other cases it can at least serve to reduce the level of discomfort.
Preparing for labour
Acupuncture has been shown in clinical studies to be useful in preparing for labour through:
Reduced medical induction and emergency caesarean rates (when used in the 4 weeks before the due delivery date)
Encouraging the start of labour (useful for those who are scheduled for a medical induction)
Encouraging cervical ripening and shorten labour time
Among the most common complaints are menstrual disorders. These can include:
Amenorrhea (no periods)
Dysmenorrhoea (painful periods)
Oligomenorrhea (infrequent periods)
Metrorrhagia (irregular periods)
More often than not, menstrual disorders do not stand alone and can co exist with other complaints such as digestive dysfunction, headaches, fatigue, chronic pain, infertility and more.
In some cases, women may present with a history of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) or Endometriosis. These disorders can manifest with a range of chronic symptoms or can be asymptomatic (no symptoms).
Whatever the case, your body is telling you it is out of balance and Chinese medicine in the form of acupuncture and herbal medicine can be very useful in helping to restore the balance. Nutritional and environmental medicine can further support hormonal regulation and healthy functioning of your reproductive system.
PRE MENSTRUAL SYNDROME (PMS)
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) refers to a wide range of physical and emotional symptoms that a woman may experience in the lead up to a period (menstruation). In fact, over the course of a life time, over 90% of women report experiencing some symptoms of PMS.
Common complaints include bloating, acne, mood disturbances, constipation/diarrhoea, fluid retention, headaches and sleep disturbances. Symptoms and severity differ in every woman and, even in individuals, often vary from month to month. Modern medicine actually knows very little about what causes PMS. What is known is that hormone changes during the latter part of the menstrual cycle (luteal phase) and the effect this has on serotonin might play a role. This alone is likely to be one tiny piece of the puzzle.
Fortunately, acupuncture and Chinese medicine have been used for centuries to help regulate menstruation and alleviate associated symptoms. One way this can be achieved in Chinese medicine is to address the Liver system. This can help to improve circulation, alleviate pain and regulate the hormones. Lifestyle factors including stress and lack of exercise along with dietary habits also need to be addressed to achieve sustained relief from symptoms.