** Guest blog ** by Denise Wiesner, L. Ac, ABORM
If you are struggling with fertility, why not take a whole body approach and incorporate some suggestions from Chinese Medicine? It’s worked for thousands of women throughout time and looks at the whole person: mind, body and spirit.
Knowledge is power. Many young women I work with don’t get taught enough about their menstrual cycles. I spend a lot of time educating them about cervical mucus and how it changes through the month and if they are trying to conceive, what they can do to enhance their ovulation and optimize their cycle. Chinese Medicine has a detailed understanding of the menstrual cycle. We look at the color of blood, the consistency, if there are clots, and/or mucus. What should a menstrual cycle look like: red blood with little clots and no pain. All this with other signs and symptoms in areas such as digestion, sleep, stress, and pain, tell us about how to treat the patient. Many times the patient will tell me something they think is unrelated to their fertility but it will be beneficial to their case.
For example, a patient (let's call her Betty to keep anonymity), decided to work with me because she had been trying to get pregnant for 2 years without success. Her menstrual periods were dark purple and clotty and she had bad menstrual pain that radiates to her back. Betty also had painful sex with her husband and bladder problems. She went to her Ob-gyn but didn’t tell her the sex was painful. She was put on many rounds of antibiotics to clear a bladder infection. Even with all the symptoms of bladder infection, there was no bacteria. When she spoke with me she was hopeless and defeated. I concluded there was a ton of inflammation that needed to be cleared. Betty had what we call blood stagnation and damp heat. I thought she might also have endometriosis that wasn’t diagnosed. I put her on systemic enzymes to deal with the inflammation, wrote her a Chinese herbal drink, and gave her acupuncture to relax her system. Slowly her symptoms cleared up! The painful periods improved, the bladder problems got better and she was able to have sex again with her husband without pain. After 6 months of trying to conceive, Betty got pregnant.
Women will do anything to conceive and they usually give it 110% effort. Sometimes, in the department of lovemaking, what once was a beautiful connection with their partner becomes a job. When I speak to couples they usually complain how “ baby making sex” is not what it used to be. How do you get back the passion?
Eastern medicine has ancient texts where the emperor was advised by three women on the secrets of women and how to arouse them. Who teaches couples these techniques today? I have found in many conversations with women trying to conceive that they are relieved to finally talk about sexuality and I love to educate on this topic. Some couples turn to western medicine to help with conception because they are afraid of telling anyone the problems they are having in the bedroom. Conditions like failure to get erections at the ovulation window, painful intercourse, not enough lubrication, not enough foreplay, lack of sex drive, and others can hamper a couples attempts.
There can be many reasons for these problems. First is to make sure each partner is medically checked out. Medications and health issues need to be evaluated by a doctor. There are solutions. Many times, when it comes to baby making, sexual issues can be psychogenic in nature with pressure to perform, trauma, and unresolved issues, not to mention stress getting in the way. Here are some tips:
1. Slow down - make sure to spend quality time together in the bedroom. It doesn't need to be a rush to the finish line. Spending at least 20-45 minutes on foreplay (it can take that long for a woman to become aroused can make a big difference in the long run. Also, it gives couples a chance to connect and arrive in their bodies
2. Have sexual relations more often and not just at the ovulation window
3. Explore - The advisors to the emperor told him, “ When a woman breathes heavily and swallows her saliva the lung qi has arrived. When she makes sounds and kisses the man her heart qi has arrived. When her yin gate becomes slippery and wet her kidney qi has arrived.” Try adding role play, sex toys,and music. Make love in different areas of your house.
4. Have fun -Sometimes we just have to lighten things up and laugh. LOL.
5. Herbs can enhance a diminished sex drive - thats right. There is a lot of research on certain herbs like horny goat weed, tribulus, tongkat ali and others. Make sure to work with a qualified herbalist. I have found that herbs that will relax a person sometimes are the best aphrodisiacs.There are so many factors that can improve fertility. We only touched a couple in this article. It is also important to balance the whole body. For more information on how to be optimally healthy and create a loving bond with your partner while trying to conceive refer to my book, Conceiving with love , A Whole-Body Approach to Creating Intimacy, Reigniting Passion and Increasing Fertility.