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Side Effects: Chinese Herbs & Fertility

by admin on January 27, 2017 No comments

Chinese Herbal Medicine has a good reputation with Women’s Health. But what about Fertility? And what about the side effects? In this post we discuss if there are side effects to Chinese Herbs with TTC.

Chinese Herbs enhance any acupuncture treatment. In my professional experience of 13 years practice, if I want to produce a result faster for a client, I will always prescribe Chinese Herbal Medicine.

Chinese Herbal Medicine is one of China’s “original medicines”. Like acupuncture, before there was Western Medicine, there was Chinese Medicine. It’s history of over 2000 years of empirical evidence means there is a lot of literature written about Chinese Medicine Theory and Practice.

Doctor’s Concerns about Herbal Medicine

In the context of Modern Medicine, a doctor could be concerned about Chinese Herbs if their patient is already taking certain medications. Drug Interaction is at the front of Doctor’s minds in this case and should be taken into account by a Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner before (a) prescribing at all and (b) herbal formula selection.

Liver herbs seem to be the main concern. This being because if you’re on any drugs or medications, the prescribed dosage is important to ensure intended effect by your doctor. Once you introduce herbs that improve Liver function or help support the Liver, the drugs can be processed much faster through the body, thereby, a more unpredictable dosage and release effect. It’s funny that Herbs that improve your detoxification system in your body, could be treated with such caution, but only when someone is on many or high doses of medication.

So to answer the question: Are there side effects to Fertility when using Chinese Herbs?

I would ask in return: Are you on any (Non- Fertility) Drugs or Medications?

If the answer is YES. What are they? I would then check for any drug interactions before considering prescribing for a patient.

If the answer is NO, I would then get more specific with Fertility Drugs and ask:

Are you doing IVF? Yes/No

Are you doing any Ovulation Induction? Yes/ No

If the answer is No to all questions, Chinese Herbal Medicine is a good option to speed things along. If there are any Yeses along this line of questioning, I would be very discerning in prescribing herbs. This may result in prescribing a formula that doesn’t use Liver Herbs, or not prescribing at all and using Acupuncture instead.

For someone on NO Medication – The Positive Side Effects

The “side effects” of Herbal Medicine are generally POSITIVE. With Chinese Herbal Medicine we can:

  • Improve Egg Quality
  • Regulate Menstrual Cycles
  • Promote Ovulation
  • Enhance Endometrium Thickness
  • Manage PMS signs – bloating, irritability, breast tenderness
  • Nourish Blood and improve blood test results especially for those who are tired and weak.
  • Lift Energy Levels
  • Improve Sleep and promote calm for people who are chronically stressed or anxious.

Just like with Acupuncture, the same TCM theory applies; Nourishing Kidney Energy (reproductive energy), Regulating the Qi & Supporting the Liver (PMS & Cycle regulation), Nourishing the Qi & Blood (Tired & exhaustion) and more.

The Chinese Herbs are intended to build energy reserves, balance hormone levels and improve egg quality, all towards conception success. After several cycles, of taking Chinese Herbs, one can observe conception simply culminating with a positive Pregnancy Test.

For someone on IVF Medication – The Positive Side Effects

Let me start by saying full disclosure to your Fertility Specialist is needed. Even better is communication between your TCM Practitioner & Fertility Specialist!

There are Chinese Herbal Medicine protocols for people who are told they’re “poor responders” to IVF Drugs. These herbs prescribed are intended to support IVF treatment (rather than over power it, which it can’t). There are Fertility Specilaists in the TCM world who have carefully analysed and prescribed Chinese Herbs to women successfully on IVF in this case. The same TCM Principles apply as for those trying naturally; Kidney, Liver, Nourish Qi & Blood.

If it’s your First IVF cycle, they probably will discourage you from taking Chinese Herbs as well. Unless you insist or there is an open conversation between you, your Fertility Specialist & Your TCM Practitioner.

For someone on other Medication

My advice would be to talk to your doctor or G.P. Or make sure your TCM Practitioner checks the Drug Interactions of your Medication before Prescribing Chinese Herbal Medicine. If you do proceed with herbs, I recommend to my clients to take their herbs away from when they’re taking their medication. eg. If you take your meds on waking, take your herbs at lunchtime or later.

Chinese Herbs should not be something you’re worried about. If you’re working with a Registered Chinese Herbal Medicine Practitioner, they should be asking all these questions BEFORE prescribing your Chinese Herbs.

Case Study – Infertility wth Low AMH

I think Chinese Herbs can bring such relief to a couple trying to conceive if and when used appropriately. I think back to some really challenging cases I had as a Practitioner, where the odds were stacked against this couple trying naturally. This woman of 35 had Low AMH and High FSH. The doctors saying there wasn’t much hope with her AMH being so low. Without doing IVF, which she didn’t want to do, they said they couldn’t do much. She was thin, tired all the time and had very short cycles. I put her on Kidney Yang herbs to improve her egg quality. She moved interstate twice which stopped her Acupuncture regime, so I kept ordering her the herbs, on her request. She announced her Pregnancy in Late 2016 and is now 25 weeks pregnant.

If you’re curious about Chinese Herbs but not sure if it’s a good fit for your situation, email me on info@springfertility.com.au and let’s start a conversation to find out where you’re at. I’d be happy to help your look at all your options for a Positive outcome.

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