Traditional Chinese Medicine in Stress-Associated Infertility


Various kinds of stress including physical and psychological factors that can affect fertility have been reported [1]. Fertility problems and the fertility treatment itself are really stressful. Therefore, infertility and stress are two key issues leading to vicious cycles. High levels of stress in women can change hormone levels and cause irregular ovulation through its impact on the HPOA.


In addition, stress may also cause fallopian tube spasm in women and decreased sperm production in men [2]. In fact, men and women react quite similarly in how they experience anxiety and sexual infertility stress [1]. The strong linkage between anxiety and sexual stress in men was surprising, as women tended to have more stress before pursuing treatment for infertility.


Therefore, how to alleviate the stress is significant for a successful pregnancy. Acupuncture has been demonstrated to reduce anxiety and depression through the regulation of the autonomic nervous system by inhibiting sympathetic tone [3] and stimulating vagal tone [4].


In addition, TCM can provide an alternative choice with fewer side effects by prescribing a herbal formula that exhibits anxiolytic and antidepressant characteristics to reduce stress in women during the treatment of infertility.

1 Peterson BD, Newton CR, Feingold T. Anxiety and sexual stress in men and women undergoing infertility treatment. Fertil Steril 2007; 88:911–914.

2 Eskiocak S, Gozen AS, Taskiran A, et al. Effect of psychological stress on the L-arginine-nitric oxide pathway and semen quality. Braz J Med Biol Res 2006; 39:581–588.


3 Abad-Alegria F, Pomaro´ n C, Aznar C, et al. Objective assessment of the sympatholytic action of the Nei-Kuan acupoint. Am J Chin Med 2001; 29:201–210.

4 Huang ST, Chen GY, Lo HM, et al. Increase in the vagal modulation by acupuncture at neiguan point in the healthy subjects. Am J Chin Med 2005; 33:157–164.

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