January 25- Traditional Chinese Medicine

Once the initial shock wore off I plunged into research head first. The more articles I read on Premature Ovarian Failure, the more depressing it got. With every page I'd find phrases like, "No treatment" and "donor egg" staring back at me as if to say give up. No way. I look at it this way... They say that 1% of women get POF, and women with POF have a 6-8% chance of getting pregnant... Well if I'm one of the 1% who got this horrid disorder, aren't my odds even higher to get pregnant?? I don't know, I've never been a Math whiz, but it sounds to me like I stand a chance, however small it may be.

Meanwhile a friend of mine recommended a Traditional Chinese Medicine Dr. who helped her conceive when fertility clinics told her it couldn't happen. (Different diagnosis, but lack of hope just the same). So I immediately made an appointment and got in the same day. Hey, I'm willing to try anything! I immediately shifted my research to TCM for POF and for the first time since my diagnosis felt a glimmer of hope. I found actual success stories of women with my condition who after TCM (some in months, some in a year or two) who went on to get pregnant naturally. It was then I knew I made the right decision to make the appointment. Besides, what did I have to lose?

My appointment with Dr. Fu was interesting. She was extremely thorough with the intake, asking me TONS of questions. She asked me what my hormone levels were and I looked in my phone for the saved email from the fertility Dr. who sent me my numbers upon request. They read as this:
FSH: 133    Estrodiol: <20    AMH: 01.6
When I read them off to Dr. Fu she looked puzzled. She said for AMH 1.6 isn't THAT bad. But if it was 0.16- that is a different story. It made me wonder why the Dr. wrote in that zero the way he did, and before I got too excited I knew I'd have to contact him and double check on that.

Dr. Fu spent about 45 minutes talking to me during the initial intake. After listening to my situation and thoroughly looking over my intake form, she gave me a diagnosis from an Eastern Medicine perspective. Kidney Yin Deficiency and Stagnant Blood Qi (pronounced "Chi"). She then went on to explain the difference between Eastern and Western medicine philosophies. While Western looks at each body part individually, Eastern uses a much more holistic approach. Therefore she considered my Premature Ovarian Failure as a symptom, not the cause. She also explained that "Kidney" in Chinese Medicine does not mean the single organ as it does in Western terms. It refers to an entire system, one of which the reproductive system is a part of.
What really blew my mind was how all these other random issues I've had over the years were apparently connected! (Frequent urination, especially at night- which I actually had checked years ago and they came up with nothing; body running hot all the time; tinnitus- ringing in ears; insomnia; excessive thirst at night; quick pulse; trouble concentrating-I've always had severe ADHD; occasional night sweats... all of these issues I've always dealt with on and off thinking they were separate things, but combined they are symptoms of Kidney Yin Deficiency! Throw in irritability; anxiety; poor circulation-cold hands & feet; and amenorrhea-lack of menstruation... and there lies the Stagnant Blood Qi, which is stated in TCM can be brought on by long-term use of oral contraceptives. Ummm 17 years much?

At this point I was floored. This brought my diagnosis into a whole new light. All the things Dr. Fu was saying made sense, as if she was holding a missing piece to my puzzle. The next step was the acupuncture. As I laid down on the table, she went into detail how acupuncture works and what role it will play in my treatment. First things first, the goal shall be to get my period back. Because before I can even think about getting pregnant, I have to ovulate in order for that to be possible. Acupuncture works in the way that the tiny prick of each little needle stimulates just below the surface of the skin, triggering blood cells to swarm to that area. It gets the blood circulating. So with one needle at the top of my head and forehead, one in each hand and foot, and several over my reproductive area, the blood with be stimulated to flow throughout my body with a focus on the part that is stuck. She also added a heat lamp shining over that area to promote even more circulation and let me know she'd be back in about a half hour. She shut the light, left the room, and I almost instantly fell asleep. It's rare for me to fall asleep that easily, but I think I felt some sort of peace and comfort being there.
After 30 minutes Dr. Fu came back and took the needles out (which the needles don't hurt at ALL, btw). She had mixed a special concoction of lots of herbs- specifically for my condition with the aim of getting my body to begin producing its own hormones again- to be taken mixed with water three times daily. Right-o! I'm all about natural stuff over pharmaceutical crap any day!

I left feeling good. In positive spirits. The first thing I did though was email the fertility Dr. to double check on the AMH number that was written weird. Sure enough I got an email back the next day saying my AMH was 0.16 ...so it wasn't actually 01.6, it had been a typo. A misplaced decimal point. For a little dot it sure makes a big difference, certainly enough to knock the wind out of my
sails a bit. I called Dr. Fu to let her know the error. Unlike other Dr.'s offices, I was able to talk to her immediately. She said, "oh, that's very low." My heart sank. But she ended by saying we will still try and let's focus on getting my period back. That there are no guarantees, but it is still possible.

And with that I felt a little renewed, determined to make it happen.


Some links to info on TCM for POF:

http://www.acuforconception.com/Conditions/Medical_Research/Medical_Research_POF.htm

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/12956293/

http://ezinearticles.com/?Overcome-Infertility---Premature-Ovarian-Failure-In-Traditional-Chinese-Medicine-Perspective&id=3186728

8 comments:

  1. My RE never told me specifics about what my levels were but did diagnose me with POF. My acupuncturist said they same to me about Kidney yin deficiency and blood stagnation. Reading your story gives me even more hope! How long did you receive acupuncture treatments... maybe I will get to that point I just started reading your blog!

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  2. :) Hello there again... so I was just curious (as I am re reading your entire blog) How long were you on all of the natural supplements, acupuncture etc etc? The reason I ask is that I have my first appointment with an RE next Tuesday and I expect he'll want to re test my blood work and I've been on my herbs & castor oil packs for the past month, lost 20 pounds since Feb and acupuncture since November. I guess I'm hoping that my numbers will have improved lol and I was looking to your blog to see what your time frame was :)

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    1. Hi Bethany,

      Good to hear from you again. Believe it or not I was only on all the acupuncture, herbs and supplements for three months -which was between the initial diagnosis and when I got retested on April 20th. That was where my numbers drastically dropped and 9 days later I ovulated with two eggs and got pregnant. I had wanted to get my numbers tested again sooner, but I had heard it's best to be on all the alternative stuff at least three months for it to be enough time for it to really make a difference.

      Please keep me posted as to how your numbers are as soon as you find out!!!

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    2. Hello there! I am currently doing acupuncture and just purchased many of the supplements you suggested today. During those 3 months, how often we're your acupuncture treatments? Thanks!

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  3. My name is sara jo Alright I have a question well I'm 26 and was diagnosed with pot I have not had my own cycle since I was 17 and just had my first acupuncture last week and started three herbs we have tried hormone therapy and even a round of injections and still no luck how long were you with out a cycle?

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  4. First of all thanks for share your personal experience. Meditation and Ayurvedic pregnancy medicine are the best always without side effect. Its Good to Know now a days women are feel secure after getting so much support from Govt. and Family.Even in organizations are gave them Seek leave for long days during Pregnant period.

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  5. Hi I love following your story! I was diagnosed at 15 and now creeping on 27 I have serious baby fever as well as this emotional roller coaster. What herbs did the tcm doc start you on?

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  6. Hii..what about u..have u conceived with tcm treatment or not...I have also POF.. so I want to start tcm if it is effective..,

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