Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine for Blocked Fallopian Tubes
The fallopian tubes play an essential role in fertility where they receive the egg as it is released by the ovary and hold it whilst it is fertilised. The embryo is then transported along the tube and released into the uterus for implantation.
The fallopian tubes can become physically damaged by certain disorders or can simply lose their functional integrity thus impairing natural fertility.
Physical defects of the fallopian tubes may be associated with a history of pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis, use of intrauterine device, ruptured appendix, with lower abdominal surgery, or an ectopic pregnancy. Scarring occurs along the inner walls of the tubes, disrupting the natural function of the cells lining the tubes, or obstructing the passage completely.
Functional defects of the tubes may be due to either muscle tension of the tubes or due to mucus accumulation. Progesterone should clear the secretions within the tube and should also relax its muscles to allow easy passage of the pre-embryo into the uterus.
Treatment of fallopian tube obstruction
If the tubes are not too damaged then microsurgery is a possible treatment option, especially if combined with Chinese herbal medicine. Studies in China (see below), examining the best treatments for damaged and obstructed tubes found that combining Chinese medicine to surgical procedures enhanced the clinical outcomes and thus the chances of pregnancy. If there is extensive damage to the tubes, IVF becomes the only option.
Where there are functional disorders of the tube i.e. from spasm or tension, or excess secretions blocking the tubes, then Chinese medicine alone works best. Treatment can include acupuncture as well as herbal medicine taken both orally and as an enema.
This study showed that Interventional Fallopian Tube Recanalization can increase the rate of patency of occluded Fallopian tube, while Traditional Chinese Medicine can decrease post-operational tubal re-adhesion formation rate and facilitate pregnancy. The two treatments can be combined to treat Tubal Obstructive Infertility (click here for the abstract).
This study reported that after treatment, the fallopian tube patency rate was 86.7% and the pregnant rate 85.0% in the TCM-WM group, while in the TCM group was 66.7% and 63.3% respectively, and in the WM group 53.3% and 50.0% respectively. Comparison among the three groups showed that the effect in the TCM-WM group was significantly superior to that in the other two groups (P < 0.01). The levels of CRP and IL-1 beta were all lowered after 3 courses of treatment, and the effect was more evident in the TCM-WM group (P < 0.01) (click here for full text article).
Infertility caused by blocked fallopian tubes is usually very effectively treated with IVF. However, clinics in China treat such blockages with acupuncture and herbs that are taken both orally and as an enema. Acupuncture combined with Chinese medicine has a good curative effect on fallopian tube obstructive infertility and can increase conception rate.
Pan et al. Clinical Research for the Treatment of Tubal Obstructive Infertility by Fallopian Tube Recanalization Combined with Traditional Chinese Medicine. J Med Diagn Meth. 2013;2:6.
Kang et al, Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. Clinical study on treatment of oviduct obstruction by integrative traditional Chinese and Western medicine. 2001;21(6):416-8.
Ding li et al. Clinical study on the treatment of fallopian tube obstructive infertility with acupuncture and Chinese medicine. Modern J Int Trad Chin Western Medicine, 2014;17:1828-1829.