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 women with unexplained infertility are Liver Qi Stagnation and Kidney Yang Deficiency. In our book, Making Babies: A Proven 3-Month Program for Maximum Fertility, Dr. David and I called these the Stuck Type and the Tired Type. You can identify your type by taking this quiz and you can find out more about the fertility types here.
The Stuck Type describes someone who manifests stress physically. Often they have tension headaches or nervous stomachs, which are signs that they have become tight like a pressure cooker and qi is not flowing smoothly.
This lack of flow can lead to unsmooth hormone transitions resulting in symptoms such as PMS. At the Yinova Center 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.
The Tired Type describes someone who has metabolic issues that effect their reproductive hormones. They usually complain of fatigue, feeling cold and weight gain. At the Yinova Center 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. Women who are the Stuck Type can have elevated prolactin levels and women who are the Tired Type 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.