Application of traditional Chinese medicine in the treatment of infertility.

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The Jones Institute for Reproductive Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Norfolk, VA 23507, USA.
The philosophy and practice of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) have been evolving for thousands of years in China, Japan and other Asian countries. TCM is now generating popular interest worldwide for reproductive health care and disease prevention, including applications for treating infertility and improving sexual function. This review focuses on the application of TCM for infertility patients, and provides a critical reflection on the efficacy and safety of selected Chinese herbal formulas. It has been claimed that some formulas produce high clinical pregnancy rates with few or no side effects, as well as improving the general well-being of patients. The need for randomized control trials and research into possible mechanisms of action, effective doses, contra-indications and toxicity is self-evident. However, the task is enormous in view of the number of herbal products currently available on the market; yet among these products are undoubtedly some that will prove to be safe and beneficial.
PMID: 14614194 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

2. Curr Opin Obstet Gynecol. 2008 Jun;20(3):211-5.
Traditional Chinese medicine and infertility.
Department of Chinese Medicine, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital-Kaohsiung Medical Center, Chang Gung Institute of Technology, Taiwan, ROC.
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: The present review gives an overview of the potential use of traditional Chinese medicine in the treatment of infertility, including an evidence-based evaluation of its efficacy and tolerance.
RECENT FINDINGS: Recent studies demonstrated that traditional Chinese medicine could regulate the gonadotropin-releasing hormone to induce ovulation and improve the uterus blood flow and menstrual changes of endometrium. In addition, it also has impacts on patients with infertility resulting from polycystic ovarian syndrome, anxiety, stress and immunological disorders. Although study design with adequate sample size and appropriate control for the use of traditional Chinese medicine is not sufficient, the effective studies have already indicated the necessity to explore the possible mechanisms, that is, effective dose, side effect and toxicity of traditional Chinese medicine, in the treatment of infertility by means of prospective randomized control trial.
SUMMARY: The growing popularity of traditional Chinese medicine used alone or in combination with Western medicine highlights the need to examine the pros and cons of both Western and traditional Chinese medicine approaches. Integrating the principle and knowledge from well characterized approaches and quality control of both traditional Chinese medicine and Western medical approaches should become a trend in existing clinical practice and serve as a better methodology for treating infertility.
PMID: 18460933 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

3. Chin J Integr Med. 2006 Dec;12(4):312-6.
Progress of integrative Chinese and Western medicine in treating polycystic ovarian syndrome caused infertility.
Gynecological and Obstetric Department, First Hospital, Heilongjiang University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Harbin (150040).
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most popular diseases that cause menstrual dysfunction and infertility in women. The present paper is a brief retrospection on the progress in treatment of PCOS caused infertility with integrative Chinese and Western medicine (ICWM). It can be seen from these materials that using traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) recipes formulated by Shen-replenishing herbs or acupuncture to reinforce Gan-Shen, regulate Chong-Ren Channels in treating PCOS, stable clinical efficacy could be obtained, with less adverse reaction, though the effect initiated somewhat late. Whereas, when Shen-replenishing recipe and acupuncture are combined with hormone or ovulation promoting drugs of Western medicine, the above-mentioned shortcomings would be overcome. So, this combined therapy is frequently used in clinical practice.
PMID: 17361532 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

4. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2009 Jul 8;(3):CD006568.

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