The miracle of fertility can often feel more like a mystery. Women’s bodies are complex and wonderful and while they are designed to create and sustain life, their natural abilities can easily be stunted by both external and internal forces. In much of Western medicine, well-meaning doctors are forced to treat their patients’ symptoms, but in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), practitioners prefer to focus directly on the root cause of those symptoms to help bring your body back into a state of balance.
Achieving this balance includes physical, mental, and spiritual lifestyle adjustments and requires that the patient and their support system commit to working toward this common goal outside the treatment room. Even with a shared goal of achieving and maintaining pregnancy, each patient’s treatment is varied and regularly adjusted to meet their specific needs. The following are four of the primary issues we address when attempting to achieve pregnancy with the help of natural medicine.
There are several consistent factors required in a fertile, well-balanced body, one of the most critical is the healthy management of stress. All of that stress you internalize at work isn’t isolated to the hours you spend in the office. Unmanaged stress creates an unbalanced and unhealthy environment for you and for the possibility of new life to thrive. Elevated stress levels present in the form of high blood pressure, unhealthy coping mechanisms, and lack of sleep, and draws critical blood flow away from your reproductive organs, making conception difficult.
Along with stress management comes the need to establish a state of general emotional well-being in a TCM patient. According to Chinese medicine, there are 12 energetic pathways in the body called Meridians through which our life force flows. When these meridians are disrupted it throws the ecosystem of your body out of balance. The two meridians which primarily impact fertility are the liver and lung meridians, and left unaddressed disruptions in these meridians can cause emotional issues like anger, depression, frustration, stress, grief, and sadness. Disruptions in either of these meridians can be treated with acupuncture, herbs, and dietary and lifestyle changes.
TCM practitioners and Western doctors agree that unbalanced hormones play a huge role in fertility issues. Hormonal birth control and other medications, the pesticides used on your produce, plastics, and even the fragrances in your personal or home care products can interrupt the natural rhythms of your hormones throwing your system out of balance. It takes time, treatment, and adjustments in lifestyle and diet to restore balance in your body.
Chinese medicine values dryness over dampness within the human body. This may sound strange to you at first, but in TCM dampness refers to the accumulation of phlegm and other fluids that are not being properly managed through the body’s natural systems. Have you noticed that after you eat a greasy meal or a bowl of ice cream you experience the drip of phlegm in your throat? That’s the dampness we’re referring to. Within the body, that dampness can express itself as ovarian cysts and uterine fibroids which commonly impact fertility and often cause heavy and painful menstrual bleeding. The ideal diet for patients who are contending with dampness requires the elimination of damp foods like dairy, greasy foods, and alcohol. Additionally, patients should avoid external dampness occurring in moist or humid environments. Change out of your wet clothes immediately after swimming or exercising, and avoid lounging around in a damp towel after a shower.
Remember that in order to usher in new life, you must first create a healthy environment inside your own body. Maintaining a healthy body, lowering your stress, and managing your hormones can help you achieve pregnancy, but they can also make your life better before baby. Success in fertility, as in motherhood, isn’t about achieving perfection, but achieving balance.
If you're struggling to become pregnant, or maintain a pregnancy, book an appointment today. Together we can use the tenants of Traditional Chinese Medicine to get to the root of your fertility issues.