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How Eczema Can Impact Fertility and What to Do About It

Whether we’re feeling unwell or have an underlying condition, it often appears on our skin. We look pale, red, or develop a rash. Our health and our skin are connected. New evidence indicates that eczema and infertility are in fact related.

Eczema is a common skin condition in which the skin becomes itchy, dry, red and irritated. It’s thought to be due to an overactive immune system. Indeed, the condition tends to flare up when exposed to external irritants. Eczema affects 1 in 10 adults.

However, it’s now believed to play a role in fertility. People with eczema already have fewer children than those without eczema. Keep reading to learn more about eczema and infertility and what you can do about it.

Is There a Relationship Between Eczema and Infertility?

Yes. People with eczema have fewer children, on average, than others, according to a 2021 cohort study. Published in Dermatology, the study looked retrospectively at two groups of people: one with eczema and one without. Moving forward, they looked to see the prevalence of infertility (per 1,000 patients-years).

The results? People with eczema had a higher prevalence of infertility in both males and females. Infertility was defined as not getting pregnant despite unprotected intercourse after 12 months of trying.

How Does Chinese Medicine View Eczema and Infertility?

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) view eczema as a manifestation of internal imbalances within the body. Specifically, the condition results from disruptions in energy flow (Qi) and organ function. Heat, dampness, and blood stagnation work collectively to fuel eczema and infertility, disrupting the body’s normal, harmonious function.

Let’s go through the main imbalances and patterns observed with Eczema and fertility according to Chinese Medicine:

Liver Imbalance

According to TCM, the Liver is fundamental to eczema and fertility. It regulates the smooth flow of Qi and blood throughout the body. Imbalances such as Liver Qi stagnation or Liver Blood deficiency are often linked with the onset of eczema.

However, the same imbalances can also dysregulate normal reproductive health. Women may notice changes to their menstrual cycle, including irregular periods and exacerbations of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms. Together, these disruptions reduce the risk of a successful conception and implantation.

Blood Stagnation

This condition refers to a blockage or sluggish movement of blood. Blood transports oxygen and nutrients around the body – including to the skin and uterus.

As the blood stagnates, it can lead to inflammation, pain, and skin eruptions characteristic of eczema. On the other hand, blood stagnation may alter the uterine environment, impairing implantation or causing menstrual irregularities.

That means the nutrients needed to heal the skin or nourish a baby aren’t sufficient. Only by correcting the stagnation will the two conditions resolve themselves.

Heat and Dampness

Heat and dampness also disrupt the body’s equilibrium. This can create a pro-inflammatory environment that not only affects skin conditions like eczema but also alters hormonal balance and reproductive health.

Related conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) or irregular ovulation may also involve excessive heat and dampness in the body. These conditions are associated with low fertility levels.

Emotional Factors

Stress is a major connecting factor between eczema and fertility. When we become chronically stressed, the body releases cortisol, histamine, and IgE. Together, these compounds harm your skin, reducing its ability to be a strong, protective barrier.

Moreover, stress also impacts the body’s hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which is a critical system in stress response and hormonal regulation. When it experiences prolonged disruption, it leads to imbalances in hormone production, leading to problems for reproductive health.

For example, irregular hormone levels can exacerbate inflammatory conditions like eczema by weakening the skin’s natural barriers and immune responses.

Other reproductive changes include irregular menstrual cycles, decreased ovarian function, and reduced sperm production and motility.

Symptoms of Fertility Problems

Do you have eczema and are concerned about fertility? You speak to a TCM practitioner to look for the signs of a problem. Common symptoms and signs include:

  • Irregular Menstrual Cycles: Periods that deviate significantly from a regular cycle pattern.
  • Painful Periods: Severe menstrual cramps that are more intense than common menstrual discomfort.
  • Difficulty Getting Pregnant: Challenges in conceiving affecting both men and women.
  • Low Libido: A decreased interest in sexual activity, which can affect fertility.
eczema and infertility

Chinese Medicine Treatment for Eczema and Fertility

Acupuncture

Acupuncture involves inserting fine needles into specific parts of the body to regulate the flow of Qi. It’s a helpful tool for correcting eczema and infertility. Acupuncture works to address infertility related to eczema by restoring balance in the body’s vital energy (Qi) flow, regulating the immune system to reduce inflammation associated with eczema and promote a healthier immune function crucial for fertility.

Several studies show it can help infertility. A 2022 study observed that acupuncture treatment regulated hormone secretion, relieved inflammation, and boosted semen parameters in men with infertility. Meanwhile, a systematic review revealed that it balances and regulates sex hormones in infertile women – a potential treatment for egg development and maturation.

Part of the success is due to increased uterine blood flow. A 2007 study confirmed these findings, suggesting that greater blood flow results in a thicker endometrium for an embryo to implant into. A similar mechanism may explain its effect on eczema. In a review of eight trials, acupuncture was noted to reduce the severity and area of eczema compared to conventional medicine.

Recommended For Eczema

Liver Detoxing Remedy

Liver Detoxing Remedy

It’s a natural supplements designed to cleanse Liver for improved skin health. Inspired by the principles of Chinese Medicine, works by getting to the root cause.

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Recommended For Fertility

Woman's Life Power by GinSen

Woman’s Life Power

It’s a unique herbal blend supplement to support women trying to conceive, helps improve egg quality and balance hormones. 

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Our Favorite Kit

De-Eczema Kit

De-Eczema kit

It’s a natural herbal blend supplements for eczema caused by stress. It helps natural detoxing heat, anti-inflammation, unblocked energy channel, increasing Yin nutrition.

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Prescription Herbal Tea

Herbs by GinSen are prescribed either singly or made into a formula which takes into account the individual therapeutic action of each herb and well as the effects when combined together. The Chinese herbal formula is adjusted and modified until the desired health outcome is achieved. Book consultation today to speak to an expert for your own prescription herbal tea.

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Dietary Adjustments

Part of managing both eczema and fertility issues is diet. According to TCM principles, what we consume influences the balance of Qi, blood, and the overall harmony of the body. Follow these tips:

  • Avoid inflammatory foods: In Chinese medicine, eczema is often associated with heat and inflammation in the body. Avoiding foods that promote inflammation, such as processed foods, fried foods, spicy foods.
  • Add Nourishing Foods: To counteract blood stagnation and nourish the liver, TCM suggests incorporating foods rich in blood-building nutrients like iron and vitamin B12. Foods such as leafy greens, beets, and lean meats can support blood flow and skin health while also enhancing the uterine environment.
  • Moderate sugar and sweets: In Chinese medicine, excessive consumption of sweets and sugar can contribute to dampness and heat in the body. Limit your intake of sugary foods and opt for natural sweeteners like honey or stevia when needed.
eczema and infertility

For more information about how Chinese Medicine can help you with eczema and infertility, book your free consultation with our Chinese Medicine experts today

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We can’t guarantee the treatment result, as the symptoms of conditions are unpredictable and vary greatly from person to person. The treatment length and recovery time also varies for individual. Please visit our clinics website: GinSen where a specialists will discuss your care and provide a consultation, and the treatment will be designed to meet your individual needs.

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