Infertility is the inability to get pregnant even after having frequent and unprotected sex for one year. Globally fifteen percent of couples have trouble conceiving. Many look to the woman first for problems, however in forty percent of fertility cases sperm abnormalities are either a factor or the factor. In fact, sperm counts have dropped an alarming fifty percent or more in developed countries since the 1970s!
Female infertility is often caused by ovulation disorders like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), but can also be caused by uterine abnormalities, fallopian tube damage, endometriosis and pelvic scar tissue, and psychological distress. Common causes of male infertility damage sperm count and quality, and include varicocele (scrotal swelling), drug side effects, environmental toxins, and overuse of alcohol, nicotine and marijuana.
Yet infertility can be surprisingly complex, and twenty-five percent of couples never uncover a cause! Many end up finding success with more natural approaches like Chinese medicine. Chinese medicine has a centuries-long history of promoting fertility. The Chinese developed herbal formulas that promote egg and sperm quality, and boost the body’s hormonal systems, and used acupuncture to direct blood flow into organs affecting reproductive function.
The Chinese realized liver function plays a key role in fertility, and that the liver is heavily impacted by stress. Too much stress pulls the body’s blood flow away from reproductive organs, and funnels it to the arms and legs as part of the body’s “fight or flight” response. In fact, current clinical studies point to the major role stress plays in preventing the implantation of a new embryo! Often simply enabling a woman to relax out of depression and anxiety, will enable her to finally conceive—even after years of frustrated effort.
The Chinese recognized that the liver also clears toxins and normalizes hormone synthesis. These days our liver is heavily burdened with an overload of toxins. This includes xenoestrogens, environmental chemicals found in plastics, skincare products, insecticides, and food preservatives. Many clinical studies reveal that in women, xenoestrogens bind with estrogen receptors, blocking natural estrogen pathways, and in men xenoestrogens bind to receptors on spermatozoa and alter sperm function.
The Chinese also looked to digestion as an important factor in fertility, as the quality and thickness of the endometrial lining is intimately connected to the digestive system’s ability to metabolize nutrients. Specific foods have been used by the Chinese and other cultures around the world to promote fertility, including eggs, fish eggs, seaweed, royal jelly, organ meats, and bone marrow.
By increasing resilience to stress and directing blood flow to organs with acupuncture, detoxing the liver, and optimizing digestion and diet, many couples can naturally and effortlessly conceive. Acupuncture, herbs and nutritional therapy can also boost fertility and a viable pregnancy by: regulating hormones, correcting ovulatory issues, and increasing sperm count, motility, and quality.
At Vital Health we help people find clarity regarding the root causes of their health challenges, providing step-by-step guidance on what to do in order to restore function naturally.
©2021 Darcy Greenwald, M.S.O.M., L.Ac. and Vital Health