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Infertility

Western Diagnosis

Infertility is defined as the inability of a couple to conceive following a minimum of one year of trying, and where there are no obvious health problems to prevent conception.

Infertility in men is frequently the result of a low sperm count or an anatomical abnormality such as a varicocele (dilated vein of the spermatic cord). There are many factors which influence sperm count. Some of which are: alcohol consumption, acute illness or prolonged fever, endocrine disorders, exposure to radiation, toxins or excessive heat, and testicular mumps.

There are a number of causes of infertility in women as well. The most common are: blocked fallopian tubes, endometriosis, history of venereal disease, ovulatory failure or defect and uterine fibroids. In addition, psychological issues such as fear of parenthood or stress may contribute to infertility.

Eastern Diagnosis

Chinese medicine is often extremely effective in treating male infertility, using its methods to boost the quantity, strength and motility of sperm. It can also be very useful in treating infertility in women, dependant upon the condition.

For example, severe blockage of the fallopian tubes would probably be better suited to surgery to restore fertility. However, a condition such as hormonal imbalance, usually responds well to TCM.

The first step is to determine which type of imbalance is at the root of the infertility. These fall into one of five types: kidney deficiency (most often a male problem resulting in low sperm count or lack of sperm activity), blood deficiency (symptoms include miscarriages, anemia or bladder infections), liver qi stagnation (usually affects women and is related to mental stress - this is often the case when there is no obvious blockage or other infertility causes cannot be found), phlegm and damp stagnation (more common in women, results in fluid retention or being overweight and can include symptoms such as endometriosis or fibroids), and blood stagnation (related to previous physical injury, circulation problems, heart and lung disease or endometriosis and other diseases of the lining of the uterus).

Chinese medicine practitioners believe that treatment can only be successful when a patient's infertility is clearly and accurately diagnosed as belonging to one of the above noted patterns.

Following diagnosis herbs are used for a period of two to three months. In addition, acupuncture can help, especially in cases of kidney deficiency, blood deficiency and blood stagnation.

Recommendations

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The information provided on this site is provided for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice. Should you have any serious health concerns, you should always check with your health care practitioner before self-administering any natural remedy.

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