In our generation, ⅓ of men and women have problems with the reproductive system. If a
couple having unprotected sexual life and fail to conceive within a year, it might considered as infertile. There are numerous causes that lead to infertility, such as age, alcohol abuse, diabetes, eating disorder, substance abuse, smoking, stress or even over exercise etc.
Western medicine uses hormonal medicine, or surgery to treat infertility. Varieties of alternative procedures can also help one to conceive artificially, for example Intrauterine insemination (IUI),In vitro fertilization (IVF), Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) etc. Above methods are not always available, and it can be costly.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), we use a different approach to analyze the causes and seek the possibility of the root from the pathogenesis. As mentioned earlier, Stress is one of the causes of infertility. In TCM, Liver is the dominance of blood, it plays a vital role in menstruation.
It stores and regulates blood flow. If liver qi stagnation occurs, it can lead to amenorrhea,
dysmenorrhea, metrorrhagia and other gynecological problems. Long Terms of suffering from depression and mood disorder can both impact male and female fertility. It’s always better to start the treatment as soon as possible. Combination of counselor guidance and acupuncture treatment can boost one’s fertility both mentally and physically. According to Raymond Chang M.D, “the use of acupuncture for reducing anxiety and stress possibly through its sympatho inhibitory property and impact on β-endorphin levels has been reviewed, and the efficacy of acupuncture in depression has also been studied. Because the pharmacological side effects of anxiolytic and antidepressant drugs on infertility treatment outcome are largely unknown, acupuncture may provide an excellent alternative for stress reduction in women undergoing infertility treatment.” The stimulation from the acupuncture needle induces the hypothalamus to send a message to the pituitary gland to secrete more FSH hormone that can greatly influence on fertility.
Another cause of infertility which must be strongly emphasized in TCM philosophy is
over exercise. Moderate or cardiovascular exercise help people to build a strong immunity and improve blood circulation, but consecutive high intensity exercise can harm our body. Excessive weight training in the gym daily, powerlifting, swimming in ice cold water on a regular basis etc are all considered as abusive of body energy or over consumption of qi. For instance, if you are already exhausted from work and still insist on going to the gym, you won’t get benefits from the exercise. Inversely, it will cause your body to overwork and in order to maintain the homeostasis, the body will keep on fight or flight mode. Reproductive hormones cannot be made when the body is constantly repairing injured muscle tissues or generating new blood cells. In TCM we call over exercise deplete kidney essence and qi. Kidney essence is a substance which can not be reproduced or you are born with a certain amount. Over exercising which over consumes the essence and there will not be enough essence in the later life to maintain the body to an optimal level. It's not uncommon for a bodybuilder to have a short lifespan or face a sudden body collapse. The concept from TCM is to have moderate exercise and preserve the energy. In conclusion, both western medicine and traditional chinese medicine have evidence that stress and over exercise has a great impact on infertility.
Written by West Gan B.G.S, RAc
Nova IVF, How much is too much exercise? The relationship between exercise and fertility
Raymond ChangM.D.Pak H Chung M.D.Zev RosenwaksM.D.c, Role of acupuncture in the
treatment of female infertility