A Different Perspective

It used to be that when a couple had problems conceiving, doctors and nosy others assumed the problem involved the female half of the couple. But today we know better. Male infertility has been found to be responsible for 40% of all cases of infertility.

If male infertility is keeping you from conceiving a child, you may want to explore alternative treatment options. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has a unique perspective on male infertility. In TCM, the kidneys take on many more responsibilities for the functioning of the body than is recognized in Western medicine. Kidney deficiency is believed to be the usual cause of both male and female infertility according to TCM. This may be a deficiency of the kidney yin or the kidney yang, or maybe both.

Kidney Yin

Yin and yang are the two different aspects of the body in this form of medical philosophy. A third factor to consider is kidney jing, which is a concept in TCM related to genetic makeup. A Chinese medicine practitioner may decide to strengthen the kidney ying during the course of infertility treatment.

When yin is deficient, heat is created in the body. The cells responsible for sperm production cannot function well when they exist within a warm environment. TCM charges this internal heat as the major reason for poor sperm count and poor quantity and quality of the seminal fluid.

Signs and symptoms of this yin deficiency include feeling hot (more so during the night), restlessness, premature ejaculation, thirst, scanty dark urine, ruddy complexion, red tongue with a small amount of coating, and a rapid, thin pulse. Men who are leading hectic lifestyles at a young age are those most likely to be yin deficient.

Yang Deficiency

When there is kidney yang deficiency, the symptoms will include slow pulse, pale color of the tongue, lack of libido, erectile dysfunction, fatigue, frequent urination, pale-colored urine, and a lack of tolerance for cold weather.

There are other signs that may be factors in male infertility according to TCM. The presence of damp heat in the genital region is one such sign. Damp heat is expressed by abnormal discharge emanating from the penis, pain on urination, yellow-coated tongue, and jock itch. If there has been trauma to the testicles such as surgery, Qi or blood stagnation can result. Varicoceles, a type of varicose vein located in the scrotum can also cause this condition. These conditions tend to arise as a result of kidney deficiency which should be addressed first.

Treatment will take at least 2-3 months and will include acupuncture, herbal treatment, and lifestyle changes.

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