Modern Western Medicine & Infertility
Traditional Chinese Medicine & Infertility
Bian Zheng Lun Zhi
Treatment According to Pattern
A General Overview of Modern Chinese Fertility Protocols
Endocrine Dyscrasias: Anovulation, Luteal Phase Defect, Midcycle Bleeding, & Premature Ovarian Failure
Fallopian Tube Blockage
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Female Immunologic Infertility
Candidiasis & Infertility
Special Difficulties Treating Infertility with TCM in the West & Some Personal Observations
An excerpt from Fulfilling the Essence: A Handbook of Traditional & Contemporary Chinese Treatments for Female Infertility
This book began, as so many of my other publications, as my own research. Treating women suffering from infertility on a regular basis, I have met with many difficult cases which have caused me to translate all the Chinese language literature available to me on this subject and pour over everything else available in English. This research has, in large part, been spurred by the pau"city" and incompleteness of the existing English language tcm literature on this subject. Often when treating patients, I have felt I was working with only fragments of what is necessary to do a professionally competent job. This is especially so since the treatment of infertility is emotionally unlike the treatment of any other disease.
In the treatment of infertility, there are no partial cures as is so often the case in other areas of medicine. In general clinical practice, complete and total cures of chronic diseases are the exception rather than the rule. Nonetheless, we can almost always alleviate some measure of the patient's discomfort or cure a portion of their complaints. But in infertility, the patient's goal is to get pregnant and give birth to a healthy baby. Nothing less than that is truly acceptable. And, not only is complete fulfillment of this goal the only measure of success, often treatment must span 6-15 months with a monthly report card in the form of the menses and an insistently ticking biological clock. Thus the treatment of female infertility is fraught with great emotional stress for both the patient and her tcm practitioner.
However, there are few things in clinical practice as gratifying as being responsible, at least in part, for the birth of a child. Once I visited the office of a lao yi sheng or old Chinese doctor in Oakland, CA, Henry Wong. In his waiting room were scrapbooks of testimonials from satisfied and grateful patients. Most of these, it seemed, included pictures of healthy, happy children whom the loving parents credited to the skill of Dr. Wong. What a wonderful record of a physician's life work!
More women seek treatment from tcm practitioners in general than men. Surveys have shown that the age group making the most use of tcm in the United States is the baby boom generation, the oldest of whom have reached their mid-40s. Members of this generation have often postponed marriage until their 30s and begin trying to have children relatively late. In addition, this same group's diet has been mostly quite poor, our levels of work and emotional stress are generally quite high, and we have been exposed to a great deal of iatrogenesis, pollutants, and toxins. Therefore, it is no wonder that many women seeking tcm treatment in the West complain of infertility.
When tcm successfully treats female infertility, it does so comparatively inexpensively and without iatrogenesis. Since tcm is a holistic medicine, its treatments result in improving the patient's entire state of being. However, both technically and emotionally, treating infertility is no easy matter and Western tcm practitioners need all the help we can get. Because of differences in our societies, Western women seeking treatment for infertility tend to be older than Chinese women seeking treatment for the same problem. Since age is directly related to fertility in women, our patient population is more difficult to treat for that reason alone. Therefore, I have decided to share with the profession the fruits of my research in this field to date. Although I am sure there is much, much more to this subject, I hope this small addition to the English language literature helps both practitioners and patients alike achieve the miraculous goal of bringing a new life into the world.
As we all know, it takes two to tango. When a couple complains of infertility, both partners must be tested to identify where the problem lies. According to The Merck Manual, in 40% of couples seeking treatment for infertility, the problem lies with the man. As a specialist in tcm gynecology, my own expertise is limited to treating infertility in females and this book only deals with that half of the equation. A Handbook of Traditional Chinese Urology & Male Sexual Dysfunction written by Anna Lin and published by Blue Poppy Press discusses the treatment of male infertility by tcm. Those practitioners wishing to treat both male and female infertility patients should refer to that book when treating men.
Traditional Chinese Medicine in China these days is undergoing many changes due to the influence of modern Western medicine. As the reader will see, this is especially apparent in the field of infertility. This book covers both the traditional theory and treatment of infertility and also describes the most modern advances in Chinese tcm treatment utilizing Western disease categories and biological knowledge. Because of this amalgamation of traditional Chinese and modern Western knowledge, the practitioner is advised to become conversant with Western reproductive anatomy and physiology. Personally, I find this union of Eastern and Western medicine exciting, and, when approached cautiously and systematically, my experience is that it can result in hybrid vigor. In any case, there is much for contemporary practitioners to learn when they choose to treat infertility. Hopefully this book will help in that learning.