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Chinese medicine: How the Kidneys influence your Fertility

Chinese medicine: How the Kidneys influence your Fertility

Fertility in Chinese Medicine and your kidneys

The kidneys belong to the water element in Traditional Chinese Medicine. They create our sense of being rooted in our life and feeling inner security. Most importantly, they are the foundation for all of the body’s yin and yang energies. Some of their functions are: govern growth, development, water metabolism, reproduction and aging. Furthermore, they store the kidney essence. Also called jing which is considered to be the root of life of all aspects of human life. In Chinese medicine we see a kidney deficiency as one of the most common causes for fertility issues.

Some mental-emotional signs that your kidneys are out of whack are:

  • Not wanting to be by oneself.
  • Fear of social gatherings.
  • Difficulties to love oneself.
  • Feeling of unworthiness.
  • Searching for the purpose in life.
  • Not feeling secure and rooted in life.
  • Not using one’s full potential.
  • Feeling critical with oneself and others.
  • Fear of financial insecurity and the future.
  • Defining oneself by its roles and status in life.

Do you identify yourself with many of these aspects? Then it’s very probable that your kidneys are out of balance.

Your kidneys strongly influence your fertility and menstruation. Consequently, a kidney deficiency is at the root of many women´s problems like: infertility, amenorrhea, scanty or heavy periods, irregular periods, endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and miscarriage. Let´s look today at their role in fertility.

Understanding kidney-yin and kidney-yang

The kidneys in Chinese medicine have a yin part (left kidney) and yang part (right kidney).

Kidney-yin corresponds to the parasympathetic nervous system and is responsible for restoration and regeneration. When deficient it can show symptoms of:

  • exhaustion
  • feeling of heat
  • frequent and sudden urination
  • restlessness and anxiety
  • insomnia and sleeping disorders
  • dry skin, eyes and mucous membranes
  • dizziness
  • dry mouth and throat
  • hot flushes
  • night sweats
  • spontaneous sweating
  • often constipation esp. before period
  • vaginal dryness
  • dark scanty urine
  • a pale face with flushed red cheeks
  • a red peeled tongue

Kidney-yang is the foundation of the yang qi in the whole body. Its mission is to warm the whole body to promote the proper functioning of all organs and tissues. Therefore, when deficient we can experience symptoms of:

  • exhaustion
  • difficulty concentrating
  • loss of joie de vivre and vitality up to depression
  • feeling cold and aversion to cold
  • declining or loss of libido
  • difficulty in urination and incontinence
  • excessive passage of urine at night
  • water retention and edema
  • lower backache esp. with menses
  • low BBT readings
  • often diarrhea esp. before or at the beginning of the period
  • cold feet
  • pale tongue

In practice we nearly always see a simultaneous deficiency of both as the two are inseparably linked. This can also lead to contradictory symptoms in women e.g.: feeling of heat of the face while having cold feet.

For getting a better understanding how they work together you could imagine that kidney-yin and kidney-yang are like an old-fashioned oil-lamp. Where kidney-yin is representing the oil and kidney-yang the flame. In other words, if there is not enough oil, the flame can die down and vice versa.

How the kidneys influence the fertilitzation process

In the reproductive system the kidney-yin is responsible for the quality of the ova (substance). While, the kidney-yang matures the follicles and provides the heat that ovulation can happen. Additionally, it is in charge of that the lining of the uterus thickens to prepare for the fertilized egg. As a result, we can see if ovulation happened in the BBT monitoring (basal body temperature) by a temperature rise after ovulation.

Consequently, we can conclude that if there are not many ova and / or the quality of the ova is poor the kidney-yin is weak. Whereas, a deficient kidney-yang can show the following symptoms: the ova is not ripening, ovulation is not happening and the uterus lining not thickening.

Furthermore, the ovaries produce the two sex hormones estrogen and progesterone. Both are crucial for conceiving and a healthy pregnancy. As a conclusion we can say that if there are low oestrogen levels, a woman can show symptoms of kidney-yin deficiency. Whereas, in case of low progesterone levels, symptoms of kidney-yang deficiency can be detected.

A kidney deficiency can be one of the reasons for recurrent miscarriages.

The main reasons for a kidney deficiency are: poor diet, chronic stress, long persisting emotional problems, certain medications, an inherited poor constitution, smoking and drinking too much alcohol.

Optimizing female fertility with natural therapies

Hormonal balance is then given when the warming (yang) and cooling (yin) functions of the body are well-balanced. For women showing any signs of kidney deficiency and menstruation problems the following treatments can be applied in my practice: dietary recommendations, acupuncture, herbal and yoga therapy and Bach flower essences.

References

Obstetrics and Gynecology in Chinese Medicine. 2nd Edition. by Giovanni Maciocia

Also see my other articles

What are low AMH levels or Anti-Mullerian hormone and how does it affect fertility?

How to Improve your Fertility Naturally

Female Sexuality & Chinese Medicine: Solving Sexual Problems Naturally

Hormone Yoga Therapy: Balance your Hormones for Optimal Health

How would it feel to free yourself from your symptoms?  Ready to change and invest time and energy to get to the root of your problem? Then book your session now. I am looking forward to meeting you!

What are low AMH levels or Anti-Mullerian hormone and how does it affect fertility?

What are low AMH levels or Anti-Mullerian hormone and how does it affect fertility?

Low AMH levels detection

Many women come to see me for a fertility consultation after being diagnosed with low AMH levels by their gynaecologist.

This can be devastating news as they then believe that they have little or no chance at all of falling pregnant naturally, and also have a reduced success rate of artificial insemination (AI) or in vivo fertilisation (IVF). Furthermore, they often believe that their only option to conceive may be through the use of a donor egg.

What is the AMH hormone and how can it be measured?

The Anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) is secreted by cells in developing egg sacs within the follicles of the ovaries. Each woman is born with an ovarian reserve which is the total number of eggs that she will ever produce in her life. With age, the ovarian reserve of a woman naturally decreases until she reaches menopause and consequently, the AMH levels diminish as well. Therefore, the AMH level reflects the number of eggs carried through the maturation process and will always be looked at on an age-based scale.

The AMH level test can be done on any day of the menstrual cycle. The higher the AMH level, the more eggs a woman has, and consequently her chances of falling pregnant are increased.

Some patients have decreased or very low AMH levels and therefore fewer eggs, this condition is called diminished ovarian reserve (DOR).

Can women with low AMH level or diminished ovarian reserve still conceive?

To better understand this, we need to look closely at the process of follicle maturation. Before follicles develop, they are microscopic in size and are named primordial follicles. Even though they do not produce detectable amounts of AMH, they are still in the tissue of the ovaries.

After a maturation process of approximately 10 months in the ovaries they develop large enough to appear in the ultrasound imaging and are called antral follicles. At this antral follicle size, they begin to produce quantifiable amounts of AMH.

If AMH levels are very low or undetectable, it does not necessarily mean there are no eggs left in the ovaries. However, it will tell us if there are fewer than normal, depending on the age of the woman concerned.

Therefore, women with very low or undetectable AMH levels still have a chance to conceive without an egg donor. The younger the woman, the better the chance of conception. 

pregnancy low ahm level chinese medicine

Which factors can contribute to reduced AMH levels?

  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Ovarian or cyst surgery
  • Endometriosis
  • Environmental toxins
  • Smoking and drinking alcohol regular
  • Overweight (BMI >25)
  • Accelerated aging due to lifestyle
  • Low blood circulation to the ovaries
  • Poor nutrition
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Chemotherapy medications
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Genetic factors

How can Acupuncture and Chinese medicine help with low AMH level

In my practice, we will embark on an investigation to work out any underlying causes for your low AMH level. As a result some nutrition and lifestyle changes may be necessary. And, although the egg quantity can’t be changed we can certainly improve egg health significantly and also create better health conditions.

Regular acupuncture sessions and herbal treatment are said to:

  • promote and increase blood flow to the ovaries
  • result in healthier eggs with higher fertilisation rates
  • create an optimal environment for the egg to mature properly
  • support you physically and emotionally in your process
  • improve correct hormone functions
  • maintain a healthy pregnancy and prevent miscarriage
  • helps optimal uterine lining
  • increase stress response
  • lower high levels of cortisol

Diet in Chinese medicine is another very important factor. The nutrition advice differs from person to person due to their given Chinese medicine diagnosis. However, some general advice exists for improving the chances to conceive.

Women with low AMH level should:

  • eat mostly whole foods and eliminate processed foods
  • eliminate sugar which can cause inflammation and other health issues
  • consume protein from vegetables, white meat and fish
  • reduce or avoid completely red meat
  • reduce coffee and black tea

Yoga – Can it improve fertility in women with low AMH levels?

Women affected with low AMH levels can increase their fertility with yoga. Through my diagnosis based on Chinese medicine, I know which meridians (energy pathways connected with the inner organs) are concerned and I can offer specific yoga poses which strengthen these meridians.

Hormon yoga for fertility will also help to:

  • reduce anxiety, worries and stress
  • improve the blood circulation to the ovaries and uterus
  • improve flexibility in the hip and pelvic area
  • can help to improve or heal underlying responsible conditions

A customised set of yoga postures is a real booster for conceiving more easily and can afterwards result in a healthy pregnancy and good delivery.

These articles could be interesting for you as well:

How to improve your fertility naturally

A Cold Uterus: How it influences menstruation, fertility and pregnancy

Chinese medicine: How the Kidneys influence your Fertility

Female Sexuality & Chinese Medicine: Solving Sexual Problems Naturally

Coffee – Is it Good or Bad for your Health?

 

How would it feel to free yourself from your symptoms? Ready to change and invest time and energy to get to the root of your problem? Then book your session now. I am looking forward to meeting you.

How to Improve your Fertility Naturally

How to Improve your Fertility Naturally

Many couples having fertility issues or trouble sustaining a pregnancy, decide to receive help from hormonal treatments in reproductive health care. Some also turn to holistic medicines known as alternative, natural, integrative and complementary medicines. Natural therapies have been used for centuries all over the world to improve fertility and they are gaining more and more attention today. The aim of natural therapies is to stimulate the healing power of the body and treat the underlying cause of disease to restore health.

How can natural medicines support the fertility process?

It is important to understand that conceiving is not only a physical process but implies a huge mind-body connection. Besides the absence or unbalance of spermatozoids or ovules, the most common reasons for infertility are related to stress, sleep deprivation, weight issues and cycle confusion, to name a few. Conception is a hugely complex hormonal process (and still to be fully understood) and therefore some imbalances in your body will have an important impact on the success rate.

Natural medicines help restore balance, to create a healthy properly functioning body. This in turn makes conceiving possible, leads you through a good pregnancy, and above all aids in the development of a healthy baby.

In the conception phase, the therapy would typically include advice on changes in lifestyle and diet, use of vitamins and minerals, acupuncture and if necessary herbal medicines and Bach flower essences. It is a gentle approach, non-invasive, and has no side adverse effects. It can be done solely or in addition to a hormonal therapy.

How can Traditional Chinese Medicine help with conceiving?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) sees a person as an energy system in which body and mind are unified, each influencing and balancing the other. Diagnosis and treatment in TCM are based on studying the purpose, flow, and impact of energy in the body. It includes acupuncture, Chinese herbs, moxibustion and cupping, to name a few. The basic foundation for it is that Qi, or life energy, flows through the body. This energy flows in channels also known as meridians that connect all of our organs. According to Chinese medicine theory, illnesses and imbalances arise when the flow of Qi in the meridians becomes unbalanced or is blocked.

In the treatment of fertility issues, acupuncture is said to

  • regulate the female cycle which is a precondition for conceiving.
  • balance hormones, so that ovulation happens or is increased.
  • improve the quality of sperm cells (quantity, motility, morphology) and ovules.
  • support the blood supply to the uterus.
  • increase the thickness of the endometrium.
  • lower stress and anxiety.
  • help with sleeping disorders and weight problems.
  • reduce the side effects of hormonal therapy.
  • improves the chances of successful implantation on the day of embryo transfer.
  • overcome sexual difficulties e.g. impotence, pain during intercourse, etc.

Why is optimising the nutrition important to boost the chances?

Dietary considerations based on Chinese medicine for men and women can significantly increase the chances for a pregnancy. A healthy digestive system allows nutrients to be absorbed and used well. Optimal nutrition provides a high quality of sperm and an optimal ovarian environment for the eggs during the maturation process. It also contributes to an ideal condition in the uterus for implantation of the embryo and development of the baby. Other factors that will be addressed include: being overweight or underweight, digestive issues such as reflux, bloating, bowel disorders, chronic constipations, cravings or low and high appetite. Chinese medicine offers dietary advice with regard to your individual constitution and situation. Sometimes vitamin and mineral supplements will be added.

How can Bach flower essences support the process?

Often while trying to conceive a myriad of emotions are experienced: depression, anxiety, worry, sadness, resentment, jealousy and fear. Dr Bach, a physician and homeopath, discovered and developed a system of 38 flower essences in which each flower relates to a particular characteristic or emotional state. You will receive a unique blend of a combination of flower essences that will address your personality, your emotional needs and goals.

Why do meditation and yoga increase your chances to conceive?

Meditation is the process of quieting the mind through different methods e.g. single-pointed concentration and breath techniques. Scientific studies proved that regular meditation lessens stress, worries, anxiety and supports balanced hormone levels in men and women. Through regular yoga practice cortisol levels will  decrease and consequently the monthly level of luteinizing hormones will increase, leading to healthy ovulation.

Yoga postures are selected based upon your personal condition, and can aid e.g. to balance hormone levels, to improve the blood circulation of the uterus and to support the healing of digestion and sleeping disorders. These postures are a great way to prepare your body for pregnancy as well as lead you through pregnancy in optimal shape. Practicing yoga can also reduce or avoid e.g. miscarriages, the retention of water, tensions and pain syndromes.

What can you expect from a first consultation?

During the first appointment we look at your personal situation, medical history and lifestyle habits. Following is a treatment and we will finish with a discussion about how to proceed and whether herbs are necessary and advice on nutrition and lifestyle.

How would it feel to free yourself from your symptoms?  Ready to change and invest time and energy to get to the root of your problem? Then book your session now. I am looking forward to meeting you.