Women’s Health and Fertility2020-07-13T21:16:52+01:00

Whether a woman has a female health issue such as PCOS, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, menstrual conditions, menopausal symptoms or is hoping to start her family either naturally or with the assistance of ART (Assisted Reproduction Techniques), Chinese Medicine has much to offer.

Women’s Health

Fertility

Pregnancy and Childbirth

Women choose Chinese Medicine for a wide range of conditions:

  • Gynaecological conditions
  • Reproductive health
  • Pre-conception health
  • Natural fertility treatment
  • Monitored cycle fertility assessment
  • IVF support treatment
  • Pre/post embryo transfer acupuncture
  • Pregnancy wellbeing
  • Natural labour induction
  • Post-partum care
  • Menopause
  • Well Woman programme

Women’s Health

Chinese Medicine offers a sophisticated and detailed understanding of the energetics of female physiology and the menstrual cycle. Working with the vitality of the blood, together with regulating the menstrual forces and rhythms alongside addressing any complex female reproductive pathologies underpins the principles of treatment for women.

Women are increasingly choosing natural methods of healthcare for a wide range of conditions such as:

  • Menstrual conditions
  • Dysmenorrhoea (painful periods)
  • PMT
  • PCOS
  • Hormone dysregulation
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Endometriosis
  • Cystitis and UTI’s
  • Thrush
  • Menopausal symptoms (excessive bleeding, night sweats, hot flushes etc)

Fertility

Women coming to Sherwood Healing Arts for fertility treatment, do so for the following reasons:

  • Those who have decided to start a family and wish to start preparing in advance by regulating their cycles or boosting their wellbeing
  • Those who will be starting their IVF treatments in the coming months and wish to prepare for their upcoming cycle the best they can
  • Those who have failed a number of IVF cycles and are looking for a complementary approach which can provide support on the run up and during the treatment cycle
  • Those who have decided that IVF is not – or no longer – a route they wish to go down, and would like to continue trying for a baby naturally.
  • Those who have tried all the ART options available to them and none have worked and they have nothing to show for it except a diagnosis of “Unexplained Infertility”
  • Those who have endured several miscarriages and want to do everything they can to safeguard their next pregnancy.

Enhancing Fertility for Natural Conception

Enhancing fertility is an area in which Chinese Medicine particularly shines. The forces of creation involved in our reproduction are utterly extraordinary: both stunningly complex and breathtakingly brilliant in equal measure. The exquisite intelligence at work in our reproductive biology is awe-inspiring and humbling. Working with couples to optimise their fertility and help them realise their hopes for a child is a deep honour.

However, human fertility rates are decreasing with both male and female fertility implicated for a host of reasons, conditions and environmental factors that are contributing to this trend.

Women are often starting their families later in life when ovarian health is perhaps past its best, sometimes after years of birth control interventions that can take their toll on reproductive health. The nutritional content of food is increasingly compromised by mass agricultural methods, lifestyles often push us to burn the candle at both ends and making ends meet drive many of us to work harder, longer days with less and less restorative R&R. Such factors, together with each person’s own pathological dynamics contribute to undermining folliculogenesis (the natural process of egg recruitment in a woman), sperm viability and reproductive health.

It is now acknowledged that 90% of couples without any discernible fertility problems can take up to 2 years to become pregnant with a mere 18-20% chance of success per cycle. In spite of the global population figures, it would seem that getting pregnant is harder than we think and becoming harder all the time. Understandably, this reality can clash with our expectations and family planning.

So when should a couple take action to seek support?

The NICE guidelines currently recommend that a couple consider fertility investigations after a year of trying if there is no known existing problem such as endometriosis, PCOS, compromised menstrual cycle, low sperm count etc. However, where the woman is over 35 years old or where there is a previous history of fertility issues with either partner, then fertility investigations are advised after 6 months of trying to conceive.

Issues abound that can compromise fertility and natural conception and yet many of these factors can be improved or resolved with Chinese medicine:

  • Advanced maternal age
  • Hormonal imbalance associated conditions
  • Anovulation, abnormal uterine bleeding, irregular menses
  • PCOS, fibroids and polyps
  • Luteal phase defect
  • Tubal obstruction
  • Hostile mucus
  • Poor endometrial quality
  • Recurrent miscarriage
  • Unexplained infertility

Supportive Treatment during ART (Assisted Reproductive Techniques)

Embarking on a path of ART, whether it be IUI, IVF, IVM, ICSI or any related technique, can be very demanding, stressful and expensive. Although the actual fertilisation process will be facilitated by the ART procedure, there is a lot we can do to enhance and support the success of this precious window of opportunity. Couples choose to undergo ART for many reasons and they will invariably have undergone several investigative procedures in the build-up to making this big decision. Common reasons for choosing ART include the following:

  • Unexplained infertility
  • Stress and infertility
  • Poor egg quality
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Luteal phase defect
  • Poor endometrial quality
  • Polycystic ovarian failure
  • Endometriosis
  • Advanced maternal age
  • High FSH levels
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Blocked fallopian tubes
  • Amenorrhoea
  • Autoimmune infertility
  • Uterine fibrosis
  • Secondary infertility
  • Recurrent miscarriage

Many of the above conditions can be greatly improved or even resolved with a thorough course of Chinese Medicine treatment, especially if undertaken as a first option before procedures such as IVF, which can leave a legacy of additional disturbance on the finely balanced reproductive system.

However, time may be of the essence or the problem may be unresolvable such as completely blocked or permanently damaged fallopian tubes. In this instance, Chinese Medicine can still help enhance the chances of success with an ART procedure such as:

  • Improving follicular quality and quantity for a more fruitful yield at egg collection
  • Pre/post embryo transfer acupuncture
  • Improving endometrial quality for a better chance of implantation
  • Improving luteal phase viability
  • Vitalising the blood to reduce early miscarriage
  • Treating autoimmune reasons for subfertility

Treatment of infertility with Chinese Medicine, either as the primary or adjunct therapy, is both established and well-proven, with a growing and impressive body of evidence-based research to endorse what has been known and practised by CM physicians for many centuries.

Our experience has shown that getting the right physiological, nutritional and emotional support before, during and after ART procedures not only makes for a smoother experience but for greater chances of success.

Pregnancy and Childbirth

With the triumph and delight in discovering you’ve conceived your precious baby, now the real work of staying pregnant, growing a super healthy baby and staying super healthy yourself is underway.

Historically, Chinese Medicine held particular reverence for the gestational process. It was considered vital that mothers-to-be were supported in having calm, relaxing and undemanding environments in which to grow their child. This might seem a far-cry these days from the reality that many mothers live extremely demanding lives whilst they are gestating, often working right up to 38 weeks.

At Sherwood Healing Arts we can help bridge the gap between the profound energetics of the gestational process for both mother and baby and the reality of our 21st century lifestyle and needs. Chinese Medicine maps the energetic and physical development of the growing foetus and offers unique insights and treatment methods for supporting and enhancing this extraordinary miracle. Having regular acupuncture, moxibustion and in some cases Chinese Herbal Medicine dovetails seamlessly with regular obstetric services and check-ups.

Pregnancy care is multifaceted, addressing such issues as:

  • Preventing first semester miscarriage
  • Threatened miscarriage
  • Alleviating morning sickness
  • Foetal malnourishment
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Supporting a happy, healthy, vitalised pregnancy
  • Turning a breech presentation baby
  • Preparation for labour and childbirth

Natural Induction and Childbirth

During the final weeks of pregnancy, attention turns to readying for labour and childbirth. For first time mothers this can be both exciting and daunting in equal measure. From week 38 we gently start the process of readying you on every level. Typically this will involve starting with 1 treatment in week 38 and 2 treatments per week thereafter until the birth. Generally this will successfully support the transition to labour initiating smoothly.

Partners are encouraged to come to one of these birth-preparation treatments to learn a simple of sequence of acupressure points that they can continue to practice at home on their blooming mother-to-be, both to support her readiness for labour and for offering some pain relief and calm during labour itself.

Breech presentation

Should a baby be presenting in a breech position in the final weeks of pregnancy, acupuncture and moxibustion from week 36 can offer a remarkably effective solution in many cases.

Post-Partum Care

Recovering from birth, coping with the physical demands of having a young baby such as broken sleep and breastfeeding are all part of the post-partum phase. Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine can help women regain their strength and vitality whilst attending to post-partum issues such as insufficient lactation, traumatic birth experience, blood-loss from childbirth or post-natal depression.