Struggling to Conceive After a Depo Shot? How Chinese Medicine Can Help
Looking to conceive after a Depo-Provera shot? You may have read numerous stories online about fertility issues and worry you’ll have problems getting pregnant after Depo.
Depo-Provera is a hormonal birth control method containing a synthetic progesterone hormone (progestin). Once injected, Depo-Provera lasts several months – most people are able to get pregnant again around 8 to 10 months after their last shot. However, 20% of women struggle to get pregnant a year after stopping Depo.
Little wonder that many women have several concerns and questions after conceiving after Depo. Can Depo cause infertility? What are the chances of getting pregnant after depo? And can Chinese medicine help improve fertility? Learn more below
Why Is It Hard to Get Pregnant After Depo?
Unlike other forms of contraception, Depo-Provera isn’t a short-term medication. The progestin injection works by suppressing ovulation and thickening cervical mucus. As a result, it prevents fertilization by making it more difficult for the sperm to reach the egg.
According to the guidance, Depo Provera is reliable for 3 months, after which time a further injection is required. After the initial injection, progesterone levels rise, peaking after three weeks before gradually declining.
However, amenorrhea, or a lack of menstrual periods, is a common side effect after a Depo injection and can persist for around a year after stopping Depo Provera. Moreover, many women experience irregular menstrual cycles due to persistent hormonal imbalances.
So, can Depo cause infertility? No, Depo-Provera does not cause infertility. However, the irregular periods and ovulation are distressing for some women, which can contribute towards infertility.
In a normal menstrual cycle, progesterone levels gradually rise, thickening the endometrium (uterine lining) in preparation to support a fertilized egg. If no fertilization occurs, progesterone levels drop, leading to a period as the uterus sheds the thickened endometrium. This complex interplay of hormones is a delicate balance with numerous feedback loops. After being disrupted, it can take up to 18 months for normal periods and fertility to reoccur. However, if you struggle to conceive after the 18 months, Chinese medicine can provide a natural solution.
Chinese Medicine’s Perspective on Conceiving After DPO Shot
There’s no doubt getting pregnant after Depo is a challenge for numerous women. The chances of getting pregnant after Depo increase over time. According to a study of 796 Thai women, the median delay before conception was 5.5 months after stopping Depo injections. Meanwhile, another study found 1-year pregnancy rates after stopping Depo injections were 83%.
Because Depo-Provera shots contain medroxyprogesterone acetate – a synthetic progesterone – it disrupts the body’s natural hormonal balance. As the delicate feedback cycles fall into disarray, it can take time for the normal rhythm to resume.
Here’s how Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) views the struggle to conceive after Depo-Provera:
1. Hormonal Imbalance. TCM views the body as a harmonious system that exists in careful balance. The regulation of our hormones is linked to Yin and Yang. These opposing forces must be present in equal measure for fertility to proceed. Hormones like estrogen and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) represent the body’s Yin, whereas progesterone represents Yang. Only by balancing these hormonal levels can the feedback cycles resume, and the body’s life energy (Qi) allow for fertility.
2. Blood Stasis. In TCM, stagnant or blocked energy, referred to as “blood stasis,” can obstruct the normal functioning of the reproductive organs. The synthetic hormones in the Depo shot can potentially contribute to blood stasis and disrupt the flow of Qi and blood in the pelvic area.
3. Kidney and Liver Health. Kidneys have a special connection to Yin and Yang, containing a foundational substance called Jing. In the kidneys, Yin moistens and nourishes, while Yang provides warmth and dryness. When correctly aligned, the correct hormonal balance occurs. Part of this is due to the kidneys’ close association with the endocrine system, including the adrenal glands.
The liver, meanwhile, is intrinsically linked to hormonal regulation, allowing the free circulation of Qi around the body to nourish the organs, including the uterus. The use of hormonal contraceptives like Depo-Provera can impact the liver’s ability to process hormones and the kidney’s role in reproductive health.
How To Address Fertility Struggles After Depo Shot in TCM
Through this understanding, TCM has numerous tips on getting pregnant after Depo-Provera. These work via:
- Balancing Hormones. Only by resuming the natural monthly cycle of hormones can fertility return. Conceiving after depo means ensuring the progesterone levels, once disrupted, cycle normally – rising at the beginning of the month and falling at the end.
- Promoting Free Flow of QI and Blood Flow. Removing any obstructions to the free flow of blood can help the liver’s Qi also flow freely. Because blood pools in the uterus, it prevents a normal health cycle from occurring.
- Stress Reduction. Stress or bodily tension is a major factor behind altered liver function, which, in turn, causes blood to pool. Stress also prevents normal Qi function and causes imbalances in Yin and Yang.
- Supporting Kidney and Liver. Liver and kidney functions are critical to healthy fertility. By supporting these organs, TCM restores their ability to balance and regulate the endocrine system.
Use the Wait Time to Prepare for Pregnancy
Some practical tips on getting pregnant after Depo-Provera include:
Acupuncture is a highly effective fertility treatment. Several studies have noted the efficacy of inserting thin needles into strategic points in the body.
In one study, women undergoing assisted reproduction therapy (ART) saw a substantial increase in their pregnancy rate (42.5%) compared to a control group (26.3%). Meanwhile, a case study from 2018 found that after 7 acupuncture treatments, a previously infertile woman saw a reduction in ovarian cysts.
An older analysis noted acupuncture’s effects are mediated “through endogenous opioid peptides in the central nervous system.” The paper’s authors theorize that these neuropeptides may impact the menstrual cycle. They further suspect that acupuncture may alter uterine blood flow and, hence, endometrial thickness – a key factor in successful fertilization and implantation.
2. Recommended Supplements To Boost Fertility
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3. Diet and Lifestyle Changes
Certain dietary foods can have a substantial effect on fertility, such as:
- Dang Gui (Angelicae sinensis radix), for example, is used to promote blood circulation and modulate the immune system. That’s led to its use in ‘menstrual regulation,’ as some studies indicate improved microcirculation. Buy Dong Quai Here.
Related: Dong Quai for Fertility
- Dark, leafy green vegetables and red meats are rich in iron and restore your body’s iron reserves. Considering the body undergoes substantial blood loss, replenishing iron helps maintain Qi levels and rebuild the blood.
- Foods high in vitamin B12 and folic acid (like nuts, beans, peas, fish, and dairy) promote blood creation. According to some evidence, progesterone levels cause fluctuations in body temperature – the lower temperature occurs in the follicular period and is associated with Yin and weak blood. Eating nutrient-dense foods, particularly those with vitamin B12, helps promote Yang, balancing the body.
Light exercise, like walking, yoga, or swimming, can restore good blood flow. If you’re experiencing painful periods, avoid heavy lifting or heavy exercise, as this can cause heavier bleeding and depletion. Moreover, extremely demanding training can cause the secretion of anti-reproductive hormones. Stick to gentle, non-intensive exercise in moderate conditions until the body’s normal hormonal cycle resumes.
Traditional Chinese Medicine provides an effective remedy for fertility issues after a previous depo injection. Remember, the best treatment is to plan ahead and stop your Depo shots well in advance. Allow yourself at least a year, although, for most women, fertility will return much sooner.
Otherwise, try a course of acupuncture, alter your diet to support blood creation and flow, and perform some light exercise to help you get pregnant after stopping your Depo-Provera injections.
For more information about how Chinese Medicine can help you with getting pregnant after depo, 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.