Updated: Oct 31, 2018
The Complementary Therapies in Medicine Journal (December 2017) published a review showing that women were twice as likely to conceive within four months of using Chinese herbal medicine treatments compared to those who opted for IVF or conventional Western medical fertility drug treatment.
The results showed as well that a woman’s menstrual cycle quality – a very important part in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) diagnosis – seems to be a vital factor for the successful treatment of female infertility. Often defined as a failure to conceive after a year or more of regular sexual intercourse without the use of birth control, infertility affects both female and male and it can be due to both structural and non-structural issues.
Used for ages in the treatment of infertility, Chinese herbal medicine has been the main form of infertility treatment by Chinese women for thousands of years. In fact, its use as a treatment for miscarriage prevention and infertility has been recorded as far back as 200 A.D. A book published in 1237 A.D entitled “The Complete Book of Effective Prescriptions for Diseases of Women,” was the first book exclusively devoted to obstetrics and gynecology.
In the West, TCM treatments are categorized as alternative forms of therapy. Because of The internet, more and more people are getting to know what TCM is all about especially its effectiveness in the treatment of infertility, pain and the relief of stress. Couples who have tried Chinese Medicine have found just how safe and effective these treatments are. This explains the fact that more than a quarter of the population of the earth use Chinese medicine on a regular basis as part of their health care regimen. TCM is the only type of classical medicine that can claim to be used regularly by millions of people outside its country of origin.
TCM Infertility Studies
In a study designed to analyze abstracts in English of tests dealing with TCM, menstrual health, and infertility, researchers performed meta-analyses of RCTs or non-randomized controlled trials (RCTs) or cohort studies and sampled them to clinical pregnancy rates attained using Chinese herbal medicine versus IVF or Western medicine drug treatment. Besides that, they gathered typical TCM patterns of diagnosis in infertility in relation to menstrual cycle quality and related symptoms. Six case studies, three case studies, 13 cohort studies, and eight RCTs involving a 1851 women suffering from infertility were involved in the review.
When used over a four-month period, Chinese herbal medicine led to a more than thrice likelihood of attaining pregnancy compared to standalone Western medicine drug therapy use. Results also showed that a pregnancy rate of 32% was attained by women who used Western medicine compared to 60% for those who were treated with Chinese herbal medicine. Meta-analysis of selected cohort studies revealed a 50% rate of success for those who used TCM compared to only 30% for IVF patients.
TCM or Western Fertility Treatments, Which Do You Prefer?
Both Western medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine share a common goal which is the betterment of health. The way they achieve this is different. Their notions on the etiology of disease, the disease itself and the steps utilized to maintain and recover wellness are very different. A Chinese medicine practitioner’s goal is to heal the patient by treating him/her holistically and not treat only the disease. The practitioner takes into account the different combined aspects of a person that accounts for that person’s state of health. A Western trained physician, on the other hand, believes that disease should be resolved by prescribing drugs or by performing dangerous and invasive surgery.
Based on TCM theory, an individual is much more than his/her pathology; the pathology is merely temporary and addressing it brings about the results required.
In Chinese medicine, the main therapeutic factors for female infertility are aimed at reducing stress, restoring balance in the body, and regulating the menstrual cycle and the hormones. Practitioners recognize that a lot of cases of infertility originate from an issue that is functional than structural in nature. Western medicine, on the other hand, uses therapies such as IVF that are not only expensive and highly invasive but cause severe stress among patients. Stress is a major factor for infertility and certainly is a hindrance to a successful pregnancy.
In Chinese medicine, management of fertility has been well-developed and widely studied. In modern China, doctors have claimed that the use of Chinese herbs led to a success rate of above 70% in the treatment of both male and female infertility. Chinese medical journals publish the results of large scale clinical trials. TCM treatment of infertility literally uses hundreds of different herbs in a frequent basis, usually mixed together using multiple ingredients. Lifestyle changes, diet, massage, and acupuncture are often combined with herbal medicine in addressing infertility. Compared to Western medicine TCM fertility treatments are less costly, often produce higher success rates and are quite non-invasive.
These and other Traditional Chinese practices all form part of TCM, each adding a little to the history and methodology of Acupuncture and Herbs and their ability to help with Infertility.
Eca Brady is a fully licensed physician of Traditional Chinese Medicine BSc(Ac) MBAcC, focusing on Female Infertility with Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs from Harley Street, London.
Make an appointment for an acupuncture or Herbs treatment and we can discuss how we can help you if you suffer from Infertility click here or to read more blog's about TCM and increasing your chances fertility click here.
This article includes excerpts from the original article by Dr Wang