A Look at Fertility through Traditional Chinese Medicine

A Look at Fertility through Traditional Chinese Medicine

To review from a previous article and to get the full picture on how Chinese Medicine looks at the male and female reproductive system, we will show the lists of which channels and organs play a role in the proper function of male and female reproduction.

THE UTERUS (BAO: Structure for Women-grows the fetus and discharges the baby)

Here is a list of the channels most greatly connected to the uterus and their functions:

  • The Ren Channel originates in the Kidneys and provides Qi & Essence to the Uterus.
  • The Chong Channel also originates in the Kidneys and provides Blood to the Uterus.
  • The Ren channel brings Yin and Blood to the Uterus.
  • The Du channel brings Yang from Kidney Yang to the Uterus to promote ovulation.
  • The Stomach Channel connects to the Chong meridian and flows through the Uterus.
  • The Spleen makes Blood and the Kidneys are the origin of menstrual blood.
  • Kidney Essence produces menstrual blood.
  • The Liver stores Blood, regulates Blood volume and provides Blood to the Uterus.
  • The Heart governs blood and Heart-Blood nourishes the Uterus.
  • Heart Qi and Blood descends to Uterus and controls two moments of transformation:
  • Yang to Yin= The discharge of menstrual blood during the bleeding phase
  • Yin to Yang=The discharge of eggs during ovulation
  • During pregnancy the Uterus is a Yin organ (stores the fetus)
  • During childbirth the Uterus in a Yang organ (discharges the baby)

ROOM OF ESSENCE (BAO: Structure for men-stores and produces sperm)

Here is a list of the channels most greatly connected to the male equivalent of the uterus (the room of essence) and the channel functions:

  • Kidney Essence produces sperm.
  • Kidney is responsible for growth, development and reproduction.
  • Kidneys and Du channel: if they are empty=impotence, premature ejaculation, clear and watery sperm, nocturnal emissions, spermatorrhea, etc
  • Liver stores the blood and therefore can modulate blood volume and maintain the flow of blood.
  • The Liver controls sexual and reproductive functions.

Now we will go deeper into diagnosis and what practitioners are looking for when patients come in with issues surrounding fertility.

Fertility & Libido in Females

Phase 1 Menstrual Phase: Maximum of Yang at onset. Yang is switching to Yin. Under the influence of the Heart for discharge of blood. TREATMENT: Invigorate qi and blood. Possibly stop bleeding if too heavy.
Phase 2 Follicular Phase: Blood & Yin relatively empty and beginning to grow. Fill Chong/Ren with blood tonics and qi regulators to grow endometrium. Strengthen Kidney Jing to grow follicles. TREATMENT: Nourish and invigorate blood, tonify the Kidneys.
Phase 3 Ovulatory Phase: Yin is switching to Yang. Heart opens the Bao Mai so the egg and sperm can meet. TREATMENT: Stabilize Heart Qi, regulate movement of Qi and Blood, clear Damp, tonify Kidney, strengthen Chong and Ren.

Phase 4 Luteal Phase: Yang is rising and Qi is moving. Emphasis is now moving from the Chong to the Ren. TREATMENT: Promote Yang, clear Damp, nourish Blood, move Qi.

Female Infertility

JING DEFICIENCY: Undeveloped sexual features, late puberty, irregular menses, amenorrhea, constitutional weakness. BBT Pattern: None. Hormones: Low estrogen, ovaries don’t respond to FSH drugs.

KIDNEY YIN XU: Long or short menstrual cycles, scanty fertile mucus, thin endometrium, scanty period flow. BBT Pattern: Long or short follicular phase, problems in luteal. Hormones: High FSH, low estrogen, poor response to IVF meds.

KIDNEY YANG XU: Short menses cycles, low libido, menses with tissue fragments, slower embryo growth, fewer blastocytes. BBT Pattern: Luteal phase defect, low or short luteal. Hormones: Low progesterone in mid luteal phase.

HEART QI STAGNATION: Irregular or no ovulation, pituitary/hypothalamus dysfunction, anxiety, insomnia, palpitations . BBT Pattern: Unstable especially in follicular phase. Hormones: No pattern.

LIVER QI STAGNATION: Irregular menses, PMS, ovulation pain, delayed ovulation, fallopian tube constriction. BBT Pattern: Unstable. Hormones: High prolactin levels, biochemical pregnancies, descent response to IVF medications.

BLOOD STAGNATION: Chong unsmooth fill and empty, endometrium uneven, clots, spotting, polyps, fibroids, tumors, endometriosis, blocked tubes, ovarian cysts, pituitary tumors, pain, implantation difficulties, embryo rejection. BBT Pattern: None. Hormones: No pattern.

PHLEGM DAMP: Cysts, PCOS, blocked tubes, pituitary tumor, vaginal discharge, no fertile mucus, irregular periods, thick or mucousy menstrual flow. BBT Pattern: None. Hormones: Smaller immature follicles and difficult to stimulate with IVF medications. BLOOD DEFICIENCY: Fatigue, delayed menses, long cycles, small amount of pale blood, dizziness, tinnitus, foggy headed, poor memory. BBT Pattern: None. Hormones: No pattern.

Fertility & Libido in Males

DAMP HEAT POURING DOWNWARD: Thick yellow semen, pus in semen, high quantity of dead semen, low seminal volume, low sperm motility, possible delayed ejaculation, distension in genitals after sexual activity, short reddish urine, swollen itchy genitals, most red and warm skin outbreaks in the inguinal/testicular area, heaviness in low back/legs, fatigue, heaviness in the head, dry mouth, desire for cool fluids, unsmooth bowel movements.

CONGELATION & STAGNATION OF TURBID PHLEGM: Low seminal volume, low sperm density & motility, low sperm vitality, inability to ejaculate, testicular hardness, swelling and pain, dizziness of the head and eyes, oppression in the check, nausea, heavy limbs, copious sputum, heart palpitations, an overweight body.

BLOOD STASIS OBSTRUCTION: A scrotum that feels like a bag of worms (varicocele), a sensation of distension, heaviness and pain of the scrotum and perineum, urethra pain during ejaculation, low sperm density, low sperm motility, high rate of sperm abnormalities, high levels of red blood cells in the semen, sinking pain in the testes, fixed abdominal pain, purple lips.

COLD STAGNATING IN THE LIVER CHANNEL: Clear and cold semen, distention, swelling and pain in the testes, saffing, distention and pain in the abdomen (worse after sexual activity), dampness and coldness of the scrotum (worsens with exposure to cold) with retraction and pain of the scrotum, generalized exhaustion, soreness and pain of the low back, somber white facial complexion, generalized aversion to cold and especially cold feet and legs.

KIDNEY YANG DEFICIENCY: Clear cold semen, low sperm motility, low sperm vitality, prolonged liquefaction time (over 30 minutes), weak ejaculation with decreased intensity of orgasm, low libido, premature ejaculation, coldness and weakness of lumbus and knees, aversion to cold and cold limbs, listlessness, fatigued spirit and lack of strength, somber-white facial complexion, sensation of cold and damp, long clear urination, frequent nocturia.

KIDNEY YIN DEFICIENCY: Low seminal volume, low sperm density, prolonged semen liquefaction time, high levels of abnormal morphology, soreness and weakness in low back and knees, dizzy head and ringing in the ears, seminal emission, premature ejaculation, frequent erections or inability to ejaculate, insomnia and forgetfulness, vexing heat in the 5 hearts, night sweats, dry mouth and throat, thin emaciated physique, pain in the heels, dry stool.

SPLEED & KIDNEY DEFICIENCY and INSUFFICIENCY OF HEART & LIVER BLOOD: Dilute semen, low sperm density, low sperm motility and vitality, decreased libido, premature ejaculation, dull facial complexion, physical weakness, abdominal distention, loose stools, soreness of low back and knees, listlessness, palpitations, insomnia with dreams, poor memory, dizziness, low appetite, laziness to speak, shortness of breath, pale nails.

When diagnosing and treating any reproductive health issues, herbal medicine is a very important piece of the puzzle. Acupuncture and herbal medicine work synergistically together on the root cause of disease. Here are some of the herbal formulas we carry at Lakewood Community Acupuncture and how they help with fertility.

Herbs for Women’s Reproductive Health:

Blossom Phase 1:  Menstrual Phase Blossom Phase 1 is designed for use during a woman’s week of menstruation. A Modern Chinese Medicine formula based on ancient Traditional Chinese Medicine principles, this herbal combination invigorates blood, helps relieve pain, and regulates the chong (thoroughfare) and ren (conception) channels.

Blossom Phase 2: Follicular Phase Blossom Phase 2 has been formulated for the follicular phase that occurs the week after finishing menstruation. This herbal formula has been designed to nourish blood, tonify kidney yin, and replenishes kidney jing (essence).

Blossom Phase 3: Ovulatory Phase Blossom Phase 3 has been formulated for the ovulatory phase. Taken during the week of ovulation, this formula tonifies kidney yang, replenishes kidney jing (essence) and mildly moves blood in the lower jiao.

Blossom Phase 4: Luteal Phase Designed for the luteal phase, which occurs the week before menstruation, Blossom Phase 4 moves liver qi and invigorates the blood.

Vitality: This enhances libido and supports healthy sexual vitality and reproductive functions. Warms Kidney yang, replenishes Kidney jing (essence) and increases sexual desire.

Symplex F: Lack of sex drive, depression, and for maintaining endocrine balance. Sympathetic Autonomic Nervous System dominance support.

Ovex P: Amenorrhea, menstrual irregularity, excessive flow, post menopausal osteoporosis. Ovex supports female androgen producing functions. It is a source of phosphatase for calcium assimilation and also provides specific ovarian nutritional support. Ovex contains vitamin E for proper steroid hormone protection. Ovex is not a hormone product. It contains enzymes that help the body make progesterone as opposed to estrogen. In an estrogen deficiency a woman’s period might only last a day or two, whereas in a progesterone deficiency it will last too long.

Herbs for Men’s Hormone Health

P-Support: Supports optimal prostate health by promoting healthy functioning of the urinary tract and prostate gland. Clears damp-heat, promotes normal urination and tonifies qi, blood and jing (essence).

V-Support: Clears damp-heat in the lower jiao, clears damp-heat in the Liver, gallbladder and Urinary Bladder channels, promotes diuresis, and invigorates blood circulation in the lower jiao
Vitality: This enhances libido and supports healthy sexual vitality and reproductive functions. Warms Kidney yang, replenishes Kidney jing (essence) and increases sexual desire

Vital Essence: This is a blend of tonic herbs that support optimal male fertility and reproductive health. It supports healthy sperm motility, mobility and count. Tonifies Kidney yin, yang, jing (essence) and tonifies Liver blood and ming men (life gate) fire. For optimal results this formula should be taken continuously for 2 to 3 months.

Symplex M: Maintains endocrine balance, for depression, fatigue, lack of sex drive, hypo/hyperthyroid and adrenal conditions. Sympathetic Autonomic Nervous System overload. Symplex M, along with Organically Bound Minerals, helps to stabilize autonomic nervous system symptoms, such as cold sweats, neuralgia-like pains, frequent fevers, and inability to relax. Use as foundational support for all endocrine-related protocols for men. Orchic PMG: Orchitis, infertility, testicular atrophy, male climacteric (symptoms of low testosterone levels: loss of libido and potency, nervousness, depression, impaired memory, the inability to concentrate, fatigue, insomnia, hot flushes, and sweating), gynecomastia (enlargement of the male breast gland because of a hormonal imbalance). This product supports healthy testicular function and repair.