Women’s Health Studies
Chinese herbal formulas have been tested against common Western medical treatments for endometriosis with some exciting results. One such study, conducted at Osaka City University Medical School in Japan, measured immune factors in the blood of a group of women diagnosed with endometriosis. The women were found to have elevated serum levels of anti-endometrial Immunoglobulin-M (IgM) antibody titers, indicating an immune response to the endometrial tissue. One group of these women received treatment with leuproride acetate (Lupron) to suppress hormonal production. A second group received the herbal formula Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan, which historically has been used in China to treat bleeding during pregnancy due to Blood stasis in the womb and to prevent miscarriage. In more recent times, it has been used in the treatment of immunologic and inflammatory conditions of the uterus, including dysmenorrhea, uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, chronic pelvic inflammatory disease, inflammation of the fallopian tubes and endometriosis.
At the conclusion of the study, the Lupron-treated group had lowered levels of estradiol but no change in the IgM antibody titer. The group treated with herbs had no changes in estradiol levels, but the levels of IgM antibody titer were decreased and the patients remained symptom-free for months. It would appear that the herbal formula was able to reduce the body’s immune response to the endometriosis—a hopeful sign when it comes to restoring a woman’s fertility.
Studies done in China treated women with severe menstrual pain. The authors stated that the primary disease mechanism related to dysmenorrhea is blood stasis—the same pattern that often creates endometriosis. A group of 125 women were diagnosed using the principles of traditional Chinese medicine and categorized into four groups depending on the patterns they were exhibiting, as follows:
Group 1: Qi stagnation with Blood stasis
Group 2: Qi stagnation, Blood stasis and cold
Group 3: Qi stagnation, Blood stasis and heat
Group 4: Qi stagnation, Blood stasis and vacuity
The study began by comparing serum levels of various prostaglandins’, a contributing factor in menstrual cramps, in the bloodstreams of all three groups. Then, the women were given either Eastern or Western medical treatment. The women treated with Eastern methods received the herbal formula Jia Wei Mo Jie Tang, whose intended purpose is to invigorate the blood, transform stasis, and move the qi. From a Western medical point of view, the formula achieves its effect by regulating serum prostaglandins. The herbs were taken as a decoction and administered twice a day beginning two weeks before the anticipated start of the period. The other group was given the Western medicine indomethacin, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory analgesic. In both groups, treatment was administered for three months. In the Jia Wei Mo Jie Tang group, 80.4 percent of women experienced relief from their menstrual pain, compared to 73.3 percent for the indomethacin group. Further, Jia Wei Mo Jie Tang seemed to help balance the reproductive cycle, as indicated by markedly lower levels of a negative type of estrogen. The herbal decoction also increased the content of late phase progesterone secreted by the corpus luteum, which is essential to creating a proper climate for implantation. Indomethacin, on the other hand, had no marked effect on either estrogen or progesterone.
It is clear that Chinese herbal medicines can play an important role in balancing the complex interrelated factors contributing both to the treatment of endometriosis and the promotion of a normal reproductive cycle. But what is most important is to uncover the pattern of imbalance that is the root cause of an individual patient’s problem.
From 1988 – 1994 the authors of this study treated 38 cases of endometriosis with a modified version of the formula Di Dang Tang in a study reported in Yunnan Journal of Chinese Medicine (1994). The patients ranged in age between 28-46 years old. The symptoms were severe lower abdominal pain with menstruation, dry lips, sweating and damp exterior, and blood clots in menstrual blood and subsiding of pain after clots appeared in menstrual blood. An ultrasound examination diagnosed that there was endometriosis in all cases.
Over the course of treatment (which lasted 12-72 days), 26 of the 38 women were cured, meaning the symptoms had disappeared and the follow-up ultrasound was normal. Five of the women had some improvement and the remaining 7 had no result.
In one study reported in the Sichuan Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine (1993) 40 cases of endometriosis were treated with a modified version of ‘Boost the Qi and Transform Stasis Formula’. The patients included in this study were between the ages of 24 and 48 years old and had endometriosis between 1 and 18 years. The endometriosis was diagnosed by a gynecological examination and laproscopic exploration.
Of this group 25 were infertile and 31 had had previous gynecological surgical procedures. In regards to symptoms, 37 patients experienced intense menstrual pain, 12 had pain with intercourse, 28 had pelvic pain and 18 experienced a heavy distended feeling in the anus.
After a course of treatment, 33 of the 40 women had obvious reduction in endometrial nodules and disappearance of any symptoms and 7 of these women became pregnant afterwards. Four women had a reduction of symptoms and nodules and 3 women had no change.
Between 1992 and 1994 one study treated 89 cases of endometriosis treated with a modified Tao He Cheng Qi Tang formula. Patients were between 23 and 46 years old and had endometriosis from 3 months to 11 years. All 89 women were diagnosed using the standards set at the 3rd Chinese National Integrated Chinese-Western Medicine Gynecology Conference. These criteria included lower abdominal pain and pathological lumps and nodulations in the pelvic cavity in addition to one of the following five symptoms: purple tongue; choppy or bound regularly irregular pulse; fixed pain worse with pressure; blood vessel abnormalities and/or subdermal static macules.
Of the 89 patients, 77 had dysmenorrhea, 24 had pain with intercourse, 39 had pelvic pain, 42 had a heavy distended feeling in the anus, 44 had chocolate ovarian cysts and 30 cases had pelvic nodulations.
After 2 to 6 menstrual cycles of treatment, 31 women experienced complete disappearance of symptoms, 37 had marked reduction of symptoms, 16 had some effect and 5 cases experienced no change. The blood of 36 women was examined before and after treatment, and all 36 showed improvements in red blood cell agglutination, blood sedimentation, and blood serum viscosity. In 41 women prostaglandin levels were measured and were notably higher then normal value before treatment and all were reduced after treatment.
Unexplained Infertility Research
The aim of this study was to determine the relationship between female fertility indicators and the administration of Chinese herbal medicine (CHM). This research project was a prospective cohort clinical study to measure accepted bio-medical factors that affect female fertility and to determine if CHM can improve these factors as well as pregnancy outcome.
The study took place between November 2003 and December 2004 at a private clinic specializing in the treatment of infertility with TCM. Included in the study were fifty women with the Western medical diagnosis of unexplained infertility.
Each patient’s menstrual cycle was monitored for one menstrual cycle to measure pre-treatment fertility factors. This monitoring was then followed by treatment with Chinese herbal medicine and subsequent measurement of the changes in the same fertility factors.
The results observed showed significant differences between the two time points for the majority of factors measured. Pregnancies in the sample group recorded 6 months after commencement of the last treatment were 28, with 11 live births and 7 miscarriages. The study outcome demonstrates that using Chinese herbal medicine results in higher success rates of pregnancy, with no patient side effects and a reduction in the category of patients conventionally classified as having unexplained infertility.
PCOS - Polysystic Ovarian Syndrome Research
Acupuncture in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: Current Experimental and Clinical Evidence.
This review describes the etiology and pathogenesis of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and evaluates the use of acupuncture to prevent and reduce symptoms related with PCOS. PCOS is strongly associated with hyperandrogenism, ovulatory dysfunction and obesity. PCOS increases the risk for metabolic disturbances such as hyperinsulinaemia and insulin resistance, which can lead to type 2 diabetes, hypertension and an increased likelihood of developing cardiovascular risk factors and impaired mental health later in life. Despite extensive research, little is known about the etiology of PCOS. The syndrome is associated with peripheral and central factors that influence sympathetic nerve activity. Thus, the sympathetic nervous system may be an important factor in the development and maintenance of PCOS. Many women with PCOS require prolonged treatment. Current pharmacological approaches are effective but have adverse effects. Therefore, nonpharmacological treatment strategies need to be evaluated. Clearly, acupuncture can affect PCOS via modulation of endogenous regulatory systems, including the sympathetic nervous system, the endocrine and the neuroendocrine system. Experimental observations and clinical data from studies in women with PCOS suggest that acupuncture exert long-lasting beneficial effects on metabolic and endocrine systems and ovulation.
Journal of Neuroendocrinology. 20(3):290-298, March 2008.Stener-Victorin, E. *; Jedel, E. +; Manneras, L. *
Prevent Recurrent Miscarriage Research
Clinical trails for women with unexplained miscarriage have shown that regular monitoring and anxiety reducing techniques reduce miscarriage rates.
In New Zealand research 86% of women receiving supportive care(monitoring and stress reduction techniques) went on to have a successful pregnancy compared with 33% of those who received standard care .
Acupuncture has been proven to reduce cortisol levels.
The mechanism currently being investigated for the effect of stress on early pregnancy is twofold – raised levels of the stress hormone cortisol may suppress progesterone (necessary for pregnancy) and may also make the immune system hostile to the developing embryo.
Acupuncture is also presently being used by practitioners at the Sydney (Australia) IVF clinic in early pregnancy to enhance microcirculation in the uterine lining and the newly developing placenta .
Acupuncture can be used as a proactive supportive treatment once a week until twelve weeks gestation.
Liddell H. Pattison N. Zanderigo A. Recurrent Miscarriage – Out come
After Supportive Care in Early pregnancy. Aust NZ J Obstet Gynaecol
Clifford K. Rai R. Regan L.1997. Future pregnancy outcome in
unexplained recurrent first trimester miscarriage. Human reproduction.
Vol 12 (2) 387- 389
Amenorrhea/ No Periods Research
In Chinese Medicine, fertility is a bi-product of a healthy menstrual cycle. Once healthy menstruation is restored fertility flows naturally from this. To that end the study “The Treatment of 25 Cases of Post Artificial Abortion Blocked Menstruation by Quickening the Blood & Transforming Stasis” by Sang Hai-li found in Blue Poppy Recent Research Report looked specifically at how effective Chinese Medicine is at starting a woman’s period after experiencing secondary amenorrhea. This small study looked at 25 woman from the ages of 22 – 38 who had had an abortion at 50 days gestation. They had not had a period from 2 – 4 months since the abortion. This study showed that Chinese Medicine is extremely effective at getting the menses started after experiencing amenorrhea. After different variations of the formula Sheng Hua Tang where taken 92% had normal menstruation return and the other 8% had menses return with light menstrual flow.
Another study “Hypothalamic-Central Nervous System Amenorrhea
(From “Experiences in the Treatment of 98 Cases of Hypothalamic-Central Nervous [System] Amenorrhea with Li Chong Wan ” by Gao Ting-she & Wu Xing-cai found translated in Blue Poppy Research Reports shows not just how well Chinese medicine starts the periods of woman experiencing amenorrhea but also how it helps them achieve pregnancy as well. This larger study looked at 98 women between the ages of 22 – 36 who had experienced amenorrhea from 3 months to 2 years. Of these women 86 had done hormone controlled cycles for 3 months. The women were all treated with variation of the Chinese herbal formula Li Chong Wan. For this study cure was defined as the start of normal menstrual within 1-3 months of treatment and the cycle remaining normal after the woman stopped taking the herbal formula. Using these criteria 62 % of the women were cured and of these women 68% conceived on their own after 6 months.
Anovulation/ No Ovulation Research
The small study “The Acupuncture Treatment of 11 Cases of Noneruption of Matured Eggs” found in the Blue Poppy Press Research Reports looked at 11 women between the ages of 25 – 35 who had not been able to conceive for 4 – 13 years. They were all diagnosed with anovulatory infertility.
In this study acupuncture was performed on Day 10 of the cycle. An ultrasound was performed 24 hours later to confirm ovulation. If ovulation did not occur then acupuncture was repeated the next day. The same process was repeated up to 3 times.
Using the above protocol, five cases ovulated after a single treatment, two cases ovulated after two treatments, and two cases ovulated after three treatments. Two cases failed to ovulate after three treatments. Of the 9 women who ovulated 4 conceived. Therefore 36% conceived and 82% ovulated after only 1 – 3 acupuncture treatments.
The great part about this study is that it shows the effectiveness of acupuncture for helping anovulatory woman ovulate and more important successfully conceive. Clinical experience in my practise also shows that we are able to help the vast majority of woman ovulate again thereby moving them a big step forward on their way to a successful pregnancy.
Thin Uterine/Endometrial Linings Research
Check out this link for a Pilot study on Acupuncture and Sildenafil and Uterine linings.
Blocked Fallopian Tubes Research
In this study by J. Huang of the Shenzhen Municipal Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine looked at the external application of Chinese herbs on an acupuncture point on the abdomen combined with tubal surgery and just the tubal surgery on its own in clearing blocked fallopian tubes. The study group consisted of 75 women who were divided into the two groups. In the just surgery group 46% were cured, 23% improved and 30% failed for a combined effectiveness rate of 70%. The herb and surgery group had 58% cured, 24% improved and 18% failed for a combined effectiveness rate of 82%. So as you can see the use of Chinese herbs can increase the effectiveness of surgery to correct fallopian tube blockages.
In one case study by Peter Deadman published in the Journal of Chinese Medicine he successfully treated a woman that had both of her tubes blocked. A HSP was performed at it showed both of her tubes were complete blocked. This woman was not offered surgery as an option to clear her tubes. After 6 months of acupuncture and Chinese herbs one of her tubes had become unblocked thus restoring the possibility of pregnancy to a woman who was told that because surgery was not an option she would not get pregnant on her own
Men’s Health Studies
Acupuncture can improve sperm quality and fertilization rates in ICSI
J Huangzhong Iniv Sci Technol med Sci 2002;22(3):228-30
Acupuncture can increase sperm motility and the intactness of the azonema
Siterman S, Eltes F, Wolfson V, Zabludovsky N, Bartoov B, The effect of acupuncture on sperm parameters of males suffering from subfertility related to low sperm motility. Arch Androl 1997, Sep-Oct; 39 (2): 155-61
Effects of acupuncture and moxa treatment in patients with semen abnormalities.
In this study men receiving acupuncture had significant increases in the percentage of normal-form sperm compared to the control group that did not receive acupuncture.
Gurfinkel et.al. Asian J Androl. 2003 Dec;5(4):345-8
A study in treating subfertility by acupuncture was carried out in Germany on 28 men. Each patient received a total of 10 treatments for a period of three weeks. The spermiograms and hormone levels were checked before and after acupuncture. Total count, concentration and motility were evaluated and in all cases the researchers observed a statistically significant improvement of sperm quality. The authors conclude that acupuncture therapy at the time of ovulation might increase the chances of a pregnancy.
Ischl F, Riegler R, Bieglmayer C, Nasr F, Neumark J (Modification of semen quality by acupuncture in subfertile males) Geburtshilfe Frauenheilkd. 1984 Aug; 44 (8): 510-2
Acupuncture has been found to be useful in treating males with very low sperm count, especially those with a history of genital tract infection
Research was carried out in Tel Aviv to observe the effects of acupuncture on males with very low sperm count. 17 of the males were azoospermic, and 3 had severe oligotertoasthenozoospermia (OTA). After a course of acupuncture treatment, the OTA only had a slight increase in sperm count, whilst 67% of the azoospermic patients showed a definite increase in sperm count, seven of them significantly. Males with genital tract inflammation had the most marked improvement in sperm density. The study concludes that acupuncture might be a useful treatment for males with a very low sperm count, especially those with a history of genital tract infection.
Siterman S, Eltes F, Wolfson V, Lederman H, Bartoov B. Does acupuncture treatment affect sperm density in males with very low sperm count? A pilot study. Andrologia 2000 Jan; 32 (1): 31-9.
A Chinese study was carried out on 54 males with impaired fertility. 1-3 months of acupuncture therapy was given, and sperm analysis carried out before and after treatment. 55.5% of patients impregnated their partners in that period of time, and 24% showed a significant improvement in sperm parameters. 20% of patients, previously diagnosed with azoospermia and immune disturbance, did not improve. The best improvement was seen in patients with abnormal sperm.
Qian, Z [Clinical observation of 54 cases of male infertility treated by acupuncture and moxibustion] Journal of Chinese Medicine, 1996 Sep; 52.
Acupuncture Helps Lower Scrotum Temperature, Increase Sperm Count infertility
Conclusion: men that manifest higher scrotal temperatures due to genital tract inflammation or poor lifestyle habits can benefit from the scrotal temperature lowering effects of acupuncture.
Poor spermatogenesis in patients with inflammation of the genital tract is associated with scrotal hyperthermia. These patients can benefit from acupuncture treatment. We conducted a study to verify whether the influence of acupuncture treatment on sperm output in patients with low sperm density is associated with a decrease in scrotal temperature. The experimental group included 39 men who were referred for acupuncture owing to low sperm output. The control group, which comprised 18 normal fertile men, was used to define a threshold (30.5 degrees C) above which scrotal skin temperature was considered to be high. Accordingly, 34 of the 39 participants in the experimental group initially had high scrotal skin temperature; the other five had normal values. Scrotal skin temperature and sperm concentration were measured before and after acupuncture treatment. The five patients with initially normal scrotal temperatures were not affected by the acupuncture treatment. Following treatment, 17 of the 34 patients with hyperthermia, all of whom had genital tract inflammation, had normal scrotal skin temperature; in 15 of these 17 patients, sperm count was increased. In the remaining 17 men with scrotal hyperthermia, neither scrotal skin temperature nor sperm concentration was affected by the treatment. About 90% of the latter patients suffered from high gonadotropins or mixed etiological factors. Low sperm count in patients with inflammation of the genital tract seems to be associated with scrotal hyperthermia, and, consequently, acupuncture treatment is recommended for these men.
Asian Journal of Andrology (2009) 11: 200-208. doi: 10.1038/aja.2008.4; published online 5 January 2009.
Asian J Androl. 2009 Mar;11(2):200-8. Epub 2009 Jan 5. Siterman S, Eltes F, Schechter L, Maimon Y, Lederman H, Bartoov B. 1Maccabi Fund Complementary Medicine, Kaufman Street, Tel Aviv 68012, Israel  2Refuot-Integrative Medical Centre, Ramat Aviv Gimel, Tel Aviv 69123, Israel.
Produce More Sperm - Increasing Ejaculate Volume
By Ben Anderson
New research by Israeli fertility experts has challenged current medical opinion, which holds that refraining from sex for up to a week is beneficial for men prior to undergoing some types of fertility treatment.
Doctors from Soroka University and Ben-Gurion University tested over 7,200 semen samples for semen volume, sperm concentration and shape, and the percentage and total count of motile (active and moving) sperm. The samples were from around 6,000 men being investigated or treated for infertility who had abstained from sex for periods of up to two weeks.
More than 4,500 of the samples had normal sperm counts while the remainder had varying degrees of oligozoospermic (reduced) counts ranging from mild, through moderate, to severe.
The researchers found that while the volume of semen increased up to 11 to 14 days of abstinence, whatever the sperm count was, the morphology (shape and form) of the sperm gradually deteriorated.
In the samples from men with reduced sperm counts the proportion of motile sperm actually fell significantly from day two onwards, reaching a low at day six and remaining low.
Dr. Eliahu Levitas will tell the annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Madrid: “Semen volume was directly and significantly correlated with duration of abstinence, while sperm motility was inversely and significantly related to abstinence in oligozoospermic samples only. The percentage of normal forms of sperm was inversely and significantly related to abstinence in both moderately oligozoospermic and normal samples.”
Dr. Levitas, a senior physician at the fertility and IVF unit of Soroka University Medical Center, said that most fertility clinics followed the World Health Organisation guidelines of recommending sexual abstinence for two to seven days prior to treatment.
“Our data challenge the role of abstinence in male infertility treatments. What we have found is not so relevant to ICSI, where only a single sperm is injected into the egg, but for those treatments where we are trying to get the best possible sperm quality for intra-uterine insemination. “For these patients we recommend minimal abstinence – ideally no more than two days.”
Dr. Levitas said there was no real consensus among researchers as to why sperm gets damaged and becomes less viable. “It’s possible that there is oxidative DNA damage by, for example, cigarette smoking or other damaging agents. Or perhaps the sperm from oligozoospermic men is more susceptible to detrimental agents and therefore might benefit from spending only a short time in the reproductive tract.”
Ben Anderson – Administrator – GF Lifestyles Article
A Chinese study was carried out on 248 males who suffered from sperm abnormities, absence of ejaculation and impotence. Treatment of acupuncture was given every other day. 20 treatments comprised one course. 2 courses were given (approx 2 months). About half of the patients with abnormal sperm achieved good sperm count and motility. (20-60mill/ml with 20-60% motility and less than 20% deformity). 52 % of patients with abnormal sperm failed to respond, a large percentage of those (40%) who were diagnosed with azoospermia, failed to respond at all.
Zhang J [The Acupuncture treatment of 248 cases of male infertility], Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion, Vol 7, 1987.