Patients who have been diagnosed with unexplained infertility often find it a great relief that their seemingly random collection of symptoms make sense from a Chinese medicine perspective. They have usually undertaken a battery of tests by the time they visit us at the Yinova Center and their first question is, “If nothing is wrong, why am I not getting pregnant?”
Chinese diagnosis is based on identifying patterns of disharmony, so an acupuncturist will look for signs that have meaning when seen in relation to each other. Two of the most common patterns in people with unexplained infertility are Liver Qi Stagnation and Kidney Yang Deficiency. Lkiver qi stagnation often manifests in an individual who is frequently stressed. Often they have tension headaches or nervous stomachs, which are signs that they have become tight like a pressure cooker and Qi (pronounced "chee") is not flowing smoothly.
This lack of flow can lead to unsmooth hormone transitions resulting in symptoms such as PMS. At Eastern Bench, we give these patients a very well known Chinese formula called Xiao Yao Wan and treat them with weekly acupuncture to move qi. We know they are getting better when they no longer have PMS and many of them then go on to get pregnant.
Kidney yang deficiency describes someone who has metabolic issues that affect their reproductive hormones. They usually complain of fatigue, feeling cold, and weight gain. At Eastern Bench, we put them on a warming herbal formula and suggest they eat warming foods. We give them weekly acupuncture often with moxibustion, a warming herb. We know that they are getting better when they tell us they have more energy and that their hands and feet are not cold anymore. At that point, many of them go on to get pregnant.
Both these types can result in problems that can be identified by conventional medicine. People with Liver qi stagnation can have elevated prolactin levels and people with Kidney yang deficiency can have low thyroid hormone. However, in many cases the imbalance is sub-clinical and not picked up by medical testing. That is a great reason to seek out an acupuncturist and herbalist in order to correct patterns of disharmony that may be minor but are subtly impeding your fertility.