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Why do you recommend Chinese herbs for fertility?


While acupuncture works on your body by stimulating the nervous system, Chinese herbs work more internally (like food and drugs).  Acupuncture and Chinese herbs work together, but in different ways. Acupuncture is suited for "regulating" and "harmonizing" the body to restore the normal functions of your body; however, when it comes to "replenishing" substances you are lacking such as the Qi-energy, blood, yin and yang, Chinese herbs work better and faster. In the theory of Chinese medicine, your eggs (both quantity and quality), uterine lining (endometrium) and fertile mucus all come from the blood and yin. Chinese herbs are better at nourishing the blood and yin than acupuncture.  If you have a factor of advanced maternal age, poor ovarian reserve or thin uterine lining, you likely have blood and/or yin deficiency, which need to be corrected with blood/yin tonics.  If you have a short luteal phase and are diagnosed with luteal phase defect (LPD), you likely have yang deficiency, which can be corrected with yang tonics.

For those who are going for an IVF, Chinese herbs are not recommended with ovulation stimulation drugs because your fertility doctor will likely be opposed to the idea of using Chinese herbs with fertility drugs even though it is safe for both medicines to be used together.  We strongly recommend starting treatment with acupuncture and Chinese herbs three months BEFORE your IVF cycle so that you have three months to take Chinese herbs.  If you are going to have an IUI or a frozen embryo transfer on a natural cycle, Chinese herbs are still recommended, depending on your condition. Please refer to IVF & IUI Support with acupuncture.

A formula of Chinese herbs is usually given depending on the phase of your cycle to enhance your fertility. Read below to learn about the four phases of your menstrual cycle are and how Chinese medicine (and acupuncture as well) helps your fertility in each of those phases.

 

Menstrual Phase

This phase starts on the first day of your menstrual cycle and lasts for 3-5 days.

It is important to regulate the menstruation and ensure proper shedding of the uterine lining.

 

Post-menstrual Phase (Follicular Phase)

This phase starts when your menstruation finishes or is finishing (typically around Day 4) and lasts until there starts to be evidence that the yin is well established (e.g. vaginal discharge starts to become a little more marked).

The treatment in this phase is focused on supporting the yin, essence and blood for your eggs and endometrium (a bed for a fertilized egg to grow).

The fertile mucus usually starts on average 6 days before ovulation.  Some studies have found that the fertile period starts 5 days before ovulation and ends on the day of ovulation, with the greatest chance of pregnancy being 2 days prior to ovulation.

 

Mid-cycle Phase (Ovulation Phase)

It starts when the yin is established (usually Day 12 if your cycle is 28 days) and lasts for 5 days (2 days before ovulation, on ovulation and 2 days after ovulation).

This phase needs to be focused on supporting an efficient and complete ovulation, including the proper movement of the egg in the tube.

 

Post-ovulation phase (Luteal Phase)

It starts a couple of days after the temperature has risen on the Basal Body Temperature (BBT) chart (usually Day 17 if your cycle is 28 days) and lasts until your menstruation starts.

This phase needs to be focused on supporting implantation and keeping the uterus warm (supporting the yang energy) - your BBT should be elevated for 12-14 days.

 


 

 

 


 

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