Preconception

It’s so exciting when we have the opportunity to work with individuals and couples during the time before they wish to get pregnant.   According to Chinese Medicine 3-6 months before conception is a great period for optimizing fertility, strengthening your body’s health and simply focusing on YOU so that you and your partner can make the best, healthiest baby and still have enough energy in the “tank” to be amazing parents!

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For woman we will look at a woman’s menstrual cycle, lifestyle factors including diet and exercise, and work together to help your body prepare for pregnancy, labor and motherhood.  For men we will also look at lifestyle factors as well as their sexual health and work together to so that the sperm he ejaculates during time of conception is at its optimum and his body is ready for fatherhood.  We design treatment to focus on nourishing your body, improving egg and sperm quality, balancing hormones, achieving optimum weight and supporting emotional health.  It’s like having a running head start to help your body not only become pregnant, but also hold a pregnancy and have stamina for labor and enough nutritious milk to breastfeed.  Another aspect of our treatment plan focuses on making sure our mothers-to-be are supported emotionally so she has less probability of experiencing postpartum depression or depletion.

Gynecological Findings

Have you been diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, Endometriosis, Uterine Fibroids or other gynecological diagnoses that is causing you pain, missed periods, heavy bleeding or infertility? Chinese medicine is a holistic system of healthcare that will look at you completely and not just your symptoms. We use diagnostic tools that lead to a pattern diagnosis specific to your body and we use acupuncture, herbal prescriptions, diet and lifestyle counseling to help your body get back into balance and achieve true health.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS, has also been known by the name Stein-Leventhal Syndrome, and affects the endocrine and reproductive system and often shows signs on the skin, hair and body weight. It is said to affect up to ten percent of women of reproductive age, and up to ninety percent of women with irregular menstrual cycles.

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The symptoms of PCOS can vary greatly from woman to woman and symptoms can include any of the following:

• Infertility due to lack of ovulation or late ovulation
• Menstrual irregularities and ovulatory dysfunction; often presenting as irregular or absent menses
• Heavy menstruation (especially if periods are late)
• Painful menstruation or pain during ovulation, bleeding in the middle of a cycle
• Pelvic pain (distention, heaviness, stabbing pain)
• Physical changes can include increased hair growth on the face, chest, stomach, back, thumbs or toes, weight gain around the waist, an inability to lose weight despite physical exercise, acne, dandruff and thinning hair (looking like male baldness)
• Multiple cysts on the ovaries diagnosed by ultrasound

PCOS can be linked with infertility and other long-term health consequences such as diabetes and heart disease. Many women with PCOS are first diagnosed when they have problems getting pregnant.

The cause of PCOS is unknown, but most experts think that several factors, including genetics, could play a role. One main underlying problem with PCOS is hormonal imbalance. In women with PCOS, the ovaries make more androgens than normal. High levels of these hormones affect the development and release of eggs during ovulation. Researchers also think that insulin may be linked to PCOS. Insulin is a hormone that controls the conversion of sugar, starches, and other food into energy for the body to use or store.

PCOS is generally diagnosed by a medical doctor after a thorough investigation of patient history, a physical and/or pelvic examination, pelvic ultrasound and endometrial lining thickness and blood tests to check hormonal levels. PCOS cysts need to be differentiated from functional cysts, which resolve on their own and require no treatment.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, PCOS is seen as a heterogenous disorder, consisting of quite a few possible pattern discriminations and all of these manifest in the way the body ovulates. Most women w/PCOS ovulate later in the cycle if they ovulate at all. Treatment must be based on your individual diagnostic pattern.

A treatment plan from a Chinese Medical practitioner will include acupuncture, herbal prescriptions, dietary and lifestyle recommendations. The best natural management of PCOS is to address insulin resistance and impaired glucose metabolism through diet. Eliminating any food that the body can utilize as simple sugar is especially important.

Cut out all forms of refined sugar
Cut out all forms of refined carbohydrates. The body immediately turns these into sugar. This includes white bread, pasta, potatoes, white rice, most breakfast cereals, rice cakes, popcorn, or any starchy, low fiber food.
Do not adhere to the fertility diets that advocate massive yam consumption. This can actually delay or prevent ovulation if you have PCOS.
Avoid soda, fruit juice, and any drink which rapidly raises the blood sugar level.
Consume adequate amounts of protein, either in vegetarian form or in the form of lean meat which has not been treated hormonally.
Eat as many fresh vegetables as you wish.
Eat only complex, whole grains.
Eat fruits like berries which are not too sweet.
Avoid milk and dairy products which tend to exacerbate the condition of internal dampness.
Eliminate alcohol and caffeine.
Increase your dietary fiber intake.
Exercise.

If you’re overweight losing weight will be really beneficial. PCOS is linked to Type 2 diabetes. Acupuncture and herbs can help you do that by curbing cravings and invigorating metabolism to make losing excess weight easier.

Read More About PCOS

Endometriosis

Endometriosis can be a debilitating condition that is caused when endometrial cells that are normally found inside the uterus implant outside of the uterus. Your body views these misplaced cells as outsiders and has an inflammatory response that can create a lot of pain, bloating, and heavy bleeding. The pain can be severe and can occur in the pelvic region at any time but commonly during menses or ovulation, during intercourse, or during bowel movements. Chinese Medicine including acupuncture, herbal prescriptions, diet and lifestyle recommendations that are focused on helping blood flow harmoniously and reducing inflammation can help reduce or alleviate pain associated with endometriosis as well as decrease the associated inflammation.

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Fibroids

Fibroids are common non-cancerous masses in or around the uterus. They are becoming increasingly more common and 1 in 5 women suffer from uterine fibroids during their childbearing years. They generally arise from an overgrowth of smooth muscle and connective tissue in the uterus.

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Common symptoms:

Bleeding between periods
Heavy bleeding during your period, sometimes with blood clots
Periods that may last longer than normal
Needing to urinate more often
Pelvic cramping or painful periods
Feeling fullness or pressure in your lower belly
Pressure on adjacent organs such as the bladder causing urinary frequency and incontinence or the colon causing constipation
Pain during intercourse
Infertility

It is also common for women to have no symptoms at all.

Western diagnostics such as ultrasound, sohohysterography, hysterosalpingography, computerized tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, and diagnostic hysteroscopy, are the best way to determine the size and location of fibroids. And the standard of care for treatment of fibroids is a myomectomy, hysterectomy and medications such as Lupron.

Many women prefer to treat uterine fibroids in a more natural way without surgery or side effects from drugs. Many times their western doctor will suggest waiting and monitoring because they don’t believe the fibroids are causing the patient any harm. Chinese Medicine is a good alternative to traditional treatment and can be very effective if applied well. The specific Chinese medical diagnosis will depend on many factors and we will listen to what your body is saying while also considering hormonal imbalances that are likely at play. A treatment plan will likely include Chinese herbal prescriptions, supplements, lifestyle and dietary suggestions as well as acupuncture.

Unexplained Infertility

Infertility is defined as an inability to conceive after 1 year of regular unprotected intercourse or for women 35 and older, it is defined as inability to conceive after 6 months of unprotected intercourse. If you were told that you had unexplained infertility, what does that mean?

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The fertility specialist evaluated your fertility by running diagnostic tests including a semen analysis, assessment of ovulation, and a hysterosalpingogram (to detect uterine and fallopian tube pathology); hormone and ovarian reserve tests and sometimes a laparoscopy are included in this evaluation. When these results are normal, the fertility specialist diagnoses you with Unexplained Infertility, which means they couldn’t determine an underlying reason for infertility. It’s a somewhat common diagnosis as 1 in 6 couples are seeking help from a fertility specialist with about 30% of these couples infertility is unexplained. Patients that receive this diagnosis are usually pretty frustrated because they have no idea where to turn or what to do to help increase their chances of having a baby. This is where Chinese medicine really shows it’s value. Chinese Medicine views your body differently. We listen to the subtle and not so subtle clues your body is giving and distinguish a pattern diagnosis that is specific to you not your symptoms or in this case western diagnosis. The treatment plan will address your pattern diagnosis and we will carefully watch your body’s clues as we optimize your health. We believe once your health is optimized your fertility is enhanced.

Acupuncture is playing an important role in fertility treatment. Research has shown that acupuncture stimulates the brain to improve hormone balance as well as producing endorphins, the “feel good” neuropeptides in the brain that help relieve pain and also affect the levels of pituitary and ovarian hormones which regulate ovulation. Acupuncture stimulates nerve endings, and as a result it improves blood flow to the reproductive system. Subsequently egg quality and ovulation are improved, spasms of the fallopian tube(s) can be relaxed, and the intrauterine environment is more suitable for embryo implantation and growth. Acupuncture and herbs regulate immune function and this improves the fertilized egg’s chance of survival. Chinese Medicine also increases sperm count and improves sperm quality in men suffering from infertility. Acupuncture can also help reduce stress both in women and men. With these benefits and a specific pattern diagnosis we can help your body gain complete health.

Read More About Unexplained Fertility

Miscarriages

You have gone from feeling on top of this world to experiencing extreme sadness, despair and confusion and on top of it you have physical symptoms that remind you you’re no longer carrying the baby that you once were. We are committed to being a support for you during this time and helping you (when you’re ready) to prepare your body so you can try to conceive again and carry a baby to full term.

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There are many possible causes of miscarriage, the most common of them are genetic problems with the developing fetus, and there is nothing that can be done for this type of miscarriage. It’s nature’s way of creating healthy human beings. Many women experience this type of miscarriage and go on to have a healthy, uneventful pregnancy. Chinese Medicine does an amazing job at preparing your body for making and carrying a baby. We know miscarriages are really hard and we’re here to support you with the tools Chinese medicine provides to help you through this time.

Bleeding

Bleeding is typically the first sign of a miscarriage, but it may be misleading. About 30 percent of women will have bleeding during their pregnancies and they go on to have a healthy baby. However, contact your doctor at the first sign of bleeding so he/she can check your health and your baby’s.

Pain

Pain, especially associated with other symptoms like bleeding, is the other leading symptom of a miscarriage. The pain may be located in the abdomen, pelvic area, or lower back, and can range from dull and aching to period-like cramping. It may be difficult to determine if the pain is normal, since round ligament pain and even cramps can be common during early pregnancy as your body expands for the growing uterus.

Decreased Activity

The majority of miscarriages occur during the first trimester, but signs of a loss later on in the pregnancy may be different. One of the primary ways to determine your baby’s health is staying attentive to his/her activity. If you notice a sudden or drastic decrease in activity, drink a little orange juice or have a piece of fruit and lay down for 10 minutes. Be sure to also let your doctor know so he can determine if further testing is necessary.

If you are noticing any miscarriage signs call your health care provider immediately, and take care to avoid any strenuous activity or activities that involve vaginal penetration, as those activities could make your symptoms worse.

Read More About Miscarriages

Male Fertility

Most of our patients are female. However, the male side of fertility shouldn’t be ignored. 40-60% of all fertility problems are attributed to male factor problems. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine offer effective tools for couples seeking to enhance male fertility. The general theory of acupuncture is based on the premise that there is a vital energy behind all life forms and life processes.

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This energy, called “qi” (pronounced “chee”), circulates throughout the body along well-defined pathways. Proper circulation of qi is essential for health. Disruptions of this flow are the cause for disease. Acupuncture corrects qi flow returning the body to a state of balance. According to Chinese medical theory, by increasing the male partner’s whole-body health the sperm will be of better quality and quantity. In addition to a series of acupuncture treatments, a treatment plan will usually include Chinese herbal formulas, proper exercise programs, specific dietary recommendations, stress reduction and suggested vitamins, minerals and antioxidant supplementation.

Read More About Male Infertility