What is “Cold in the Uterus” and why does it contribute to infertility?
In Chinese Medicine, one of the most common problems leading to infertility is what we call a “cold uterus”. Chinese medicine aims to balance yin and yang (ie cold and warm). Yang energy is warmth and is most prominent in the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle (the second half of the cycle).
During the luteal phase, the yang energy warms the body, helps move the blood & energy and facilitates ovulation and implantation. The luteal phase of the menstrual cycle is considered the yang phase. If conception has occurred, progesterone (which is a yang hormone) raises the body temperature to support implantation of the embryo and helps it to thrive.
In a cold uterus, the uterine lining has not responded appropriately to the warming hormone (progesterone). The vessels which supply blood to the uterus are constricted as a result of this “cold” response.
Proper hormonal response to facilitate reproduction is supported by the yang energy of the body.
If your uterus has weak yang energy (is too cold because not enough warmth), the blood circulation may be inhibited to your reproductive organs causing old stagnant dead blood cells to accumulate which can block healthy flow. Also, without enough warmth in the uterus, your follicles may not ripen to their fullest.
Even if the follicle is able to reach maturation, it may not be able to ovulate properly without this yang warming energy. The hormonal events that must follow this to result in pregnancy are also then restricted.
How do you know if your yang energy is weak?
Being a cold person (always wearing layers, difficulty warming up)
Cold Hands and Feet
Low BBT temperatures
Frequent dilute urination, especially at night
Spotting before your period and/or clots in the menstrual blood
Short luteal phase
Low back achiness & pain (generally speaking or at ovulation and/or during the menstrual period)
Menstrual cramps that feel better with heat
Anovulation (no ovulation occurs)
How to warm up your yang energy:
1.) Keep the soles of your feet and your lower back & abdomen warm – Wear warm socks around the house & wear layers to keep from getting chilly. Also, try not to show off that midriff! Make sure to not go barefoot on cold tile or hardwood floors. There is a channel that runs from the sole of the foot to the uterus so it is important to not transport cold energy from the feet to the uterus.
2.) Eat soups and stews & avoid cold & raw foods
This is especially important for those with a weak digestion. Eating too many cold foods, especially in the morning, can further weaken the digestion. Yang energy is needed to properly break down food. If the digestion is weak, your reproduction will be weak.
3.) Drink tea with ginger or cinnamon
Ginger and cinnamon for example are great to aid in digestion as they have warming properties. Healthy digestive yang energy allows for healthy reproductive yang energy.
4.) Acupuncture Treatments
Acupuncture is so useful in treating a cold uterus. Specific acupuncture points on the body are stimulated which increase yang energy and improve blood flow to the uterus and get rid of old stagnant blood.
5.) Moxibustion (moxa)
Using moxa is one of the most powerful ways to warm up and the yang energy of the body and dispel cold from the uterus. Moxa is applied to specific acupuncture points on the body – typically on the lower abdomen, lower back and/or lower legs. Ask your acupuncturist/Chinese Medicine Doctor about adding it into your acupuncture treatments. In my practice, I show my patients how to do moxa to themselves and send them home with some moxa sticks.
6.) Chinese herbal formulas
Chinese herbal medicine is an extremely powerful way to increase your yang energy. Chinese herbs, acupuncture and moxa can all work together so beautifully to warm up that stagnant, cold uterus and dramatically improve your fertility!
7.) Hot foot bath and heating pads daily
Use a hot foot bath for 10 minutes and place a heat pad on your lower abdomen every evening for 15 minutes or so.