Doctors with expertise in reproductive medicine have recently published that the combination of acupuncture and herbs are useful in the treatment of infertility, complications related to childbirth and for several other gynecological concerns. The doctors cited research stating that acupuncture and herbal medicine improve the success rate of in vitro fertilization (IVF). Pregnancy rates are improved in subfertile women undergoing IVF and in women with PCOS wherein ovulation may be restored using acupuncture.
In the latter, acupuncture is noted as a treatment option for both reproductive issues and endocrine disturbances for women with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome).
The medical doctors creating this report are specialists in reproductive medicine and endocrinology and are from Penn State University College of Medicine (Hershey, Pennsylvania), University of Gothenburg (Sweden), Heilongjiang University of Chinese Medicine (Harbin, China) and the University of Hong Kong. The doctors cite research showing that combining Chinese herbal medicine with conventional biomedicine demonstrates effectiveness in preventing miscarriages. They note that more research is needed on this aspect of integrated medicine given the nearly 40,000 pieces of literature recently reviewed on the topic.
The doctors note that clinical studies show the efficaciousness of acupuncture, herbal medicine, Chinese herbal medicine enemas and microwave physiotherapy for the treatment of endometriosis. They write that these therapies are effective in the treatment of dysmenorrhea, improving pregnancy rates and that these therapies can physically shrink adnexal masses. The doctors note that these therapeutic approaches have additional benefits over “standard hormonal and surgical treatments” for the treatment of endometriosis. They note that herbs, Chinese herbal enemas and acupuncture have significantly fewer “unpleasant side effects.”
The doctor report cites research showing the efficacy of complementary medicine “for women with genital infection.” In particular, they cite success in the treatment of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), cervicitis, vaginitis and vulvitis. At HealthCMi, we have extensive online acupuncture continuing education courses on these important topics.
The report cites a meta-analysis of 87 papers published between 2002 and 2012. The study finds acupuncture effective in the treatment of labor pain and for the treatment of postpartum complications. Acupuncture was also found effective in inducing uterine contractions and shortening the birthing process.
The report calls for continued research on acupuncture, herbal medicine and other forms of complementary medicine for the treatment of human reproductive issues. The doctors note that randomized controlled trials reported in the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials format are especially helpful in that they facilitate meta-analyses.
In related reproductive medicine research, the success rate of IVF is 24% (for 4 or more embryos transferred) as a standalone biomedical therapy. Combining IVF with acupuncture was found to increase the success rate to 42.5%. The researchers comment that acupuncture is safe and economical way to assist women undergoing fertility treatments.
A groundbreaking fertility seminar was presented in 2010 by Dr. Ting Ting Zhang at the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ACTCM) in San Francisco, California. She presented some of the most current findings on incorporating acupuncture and herbal medicine with biomedical findings. Dr. Ting Ting Zhang successfully translated basal temperature charts into differential diagnostics and demonstrated how the charts clearly delineate TCM concepts such as Yin and Yang deficiency of specific Zang-Fu organs. Dr. Zhang was granted a special visa from the Chinese government to bring this vital information to the United States.
Dr. Zhang is the Gynecology Department Chair of Yue Yang Hospital at the Shanghai University of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) and is renown for her experience in the field of infertility. Dr. Zhang unveiled new ultrasound and hormone testing research revealing that special Chinese herbal medicines promote ovulation and egg development, increase sperm motility and count, and prevent miscarriage. Biomedical data confirms that Chinese herbal medicine greatly increases the conception rate of women undergoing artificial insemination. Incorporating approaches developed by Dr. Tai, Dr. Zhang demonstrated a significantly high rate of clinical success in reversing infertility. Dr. Zhang noted that “infertility is a symptom, not a disease.”
Dr. Zhang presented Chinese medicine differential diagnostics in relation biomedical findings. Basal body temperature (BBT) charts were revealed to express a process of emerging Yin Essence in the first 12 days of a menstrual cycle followed by a powerful Yang stage. Dr. Zhang also introduced methods for analyzing hormone tests. For example, high FSH is linked to Yin Deficiency and high LH is linked to Yang Deficiency.
Common conditions leading to infertility are Kidney Yin and Yang deficiency, Liver Qi Stagnation, and Blood Stasis. For women, the main concern is to harmonize the menstrual cycle. Dr. Zhang presented important herbal formulas to address many clinical scenarios and included special herbs to promote ovulation and nourish the fetus. She presented herbal remedies to prevent anti-sperm antibodies such as AsAb and other autoimmune system disorders from leading to infertility. Dr. Zhang detailed the exact herbs needed to promote egg maturation and those needed to facilitate uptake and transport of eggs into and through the fallopian tube.
The last several years has seen continued research into the effectiveness of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in reproductive medicine. Luminaries such as Dr. Zhang have helped by organizing and clinically implementing the latest findings into protocols for increasing positive patient outcomes. At HealthCMi, we expect to see increasing attention given to this import aspect of medicine.
References: Wu, Xiaoke, E. H. Ng, Elisabet Stener-Victorin, and Richard S. Legro. "Effects and Mechanisms of Complementary and Alternative Medicine during the Reproductive Process." Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine: eCAM 2014 (2014).
Chui, Shiu Hon, Fung Chun Chow, Yim Tong Szeto, Kelvin Chan, and ChristopherWK Lam. "A Case Series on Acupuncture Treatment for Female Infertility with some cases supplemented with Chinese Medicines." European Journal of Integrative Medicine (2014).