/ The RE's Muse: East meets West...on adding more needles (berries and bark) to the mix

The RE's Muse

After 4 years of infertility, 2 surgeries, 1 miscarriage, and 19 months of high risk pregnancies, hubby and I now have two little women in our lives--one a toddler, the other not far behind. Buckle your seatbelts, it's gonna be a wild ride.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

East meets West...on adding more needles (berries and bark) to the mix

Yesterday I had my very first acupuncture appointment. We went over my medical history, my infertility, my miscarriage, blah blah blad ad infinitum. The acupuncturist said she would like to work on my energy level by decreasing my stress level--much of which, she said, is due to stress from my infertile state (well, yeah, no duh--it is a vicious cycle!)--and then work on getting my ovulation healthy, my uterus healthy to support life.

After this consultation (which actually was much more thorough than I made it appear here), I had my first acupuncture session. Have to say it felt pretty nice, definitely very relaxing. I do know that I fell asleep on the table and only woke myself up when my arm slid off the table and startled me awake--namely because I was afraid I had dislodged the needles and/or the clippers attached to them that was conducting the electricity through the circuitry of that arm. But I digress.

The potential problem with this acupuncture treatment is that the good lady wants me to take Chinese herbs (in pill form) in conjunction with the sessions...she says this will cleanse my liver and my kidneys and help get my body back in sync. I don't know how I feel about this.

Given my polycystic status, and the fact that my RE is watching my liver function tests closely because of the metformin I'm taking, I don't know if adding herbs to the mix is such a good idea for me. Heck--with names like dung beetle and eye of newt (okay so that's not really what they consist of but they might as well be for all I can make of them), I don't know if I want to add something that is not FDA-approved to the mix. Hell, I can't even pronounce these herbs let alone wonder how my body might handle them. And the acupuncturist wants me to take 20 of them a day--10 at breakfast, 10 at dinner.

I feel like if I go in and tell her I don't want to take the herbs, she'll blacklist me, accuse me of not taking the treatment seriously, of not trying hard enough...of not wanting a baby enough (lord help her if she goes there). But I just don't feel comfortable taking them. And really, I wanted to do the acupuncture for its relaxative effects not for the herbal component. Several gals in my infertility support group swear by it for relaxation but one of them did tell me to be sure to take the herbs with it--that another IF patient who was polycystic got pg after taking the herbs in conjunction with acupuncture, this after several unsuccessful cycles with an RE. *Sigh.*

So what am I to do? Do I take the herbs and risk messing with my RE's plan and perhaps my body's functioning? Do I lie and pretend to the acupuncturist that I'm taking the herbs (which would thereby necessitate me continuing to buy said herbs from her on a regular basis--at $10 for bottle of 200 pills)? Do I simply tell her the truth--that I am a firm believer in better living through pharmaceuticals and not in an "ancient Chinese secret, huh"? Or do I scrap this acupuncture thing altogether and just sign up for a yoga class instead?


At 12:17 PM, Blogger amanda said...

Tough one. Being a western medicine type gal, I wouldn't take the herbs, but you need to do whatever you feel comfortable with. If you feel iffy or uneasy about it, I wouldn't do it. They may be great, I don't know, but if you would worry about them, I don't think it would be worth it. Isn't the goal to try to eliminate stress? Good luck with your decision.

At 2:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Herbs and medicine are strict no-no because you never know how one will effect the other. Especially since you have PCOS, which requires intense scrutiny, my personal opinion is to nix the herbs. A good acupuncturist will understand and still be able to help.

I will say, that for me, the herbs helped tremendously. I'm not taking pill form, but actually boiling the raw eye of newt. I took pill form herbs and they did nothing for me, but as soon as I took them in raw form, my cycle changes were instantaneous. Of course, my issue is completely different than yours -- high FSH, so how I respond will be completely different.


At 8:00 PM, Blogger Toni said...

Could you have the acupuncturist talk to your RE? My RE's office has advertisements for acupuncturists...so I know that there is scientific benefit to them....

And if he says No, you could use him as the excuse!!

At 8:22 PM, Blogger Jen P said...

My RE poo poos anything that could 'contradindicate' (what a word!) the current treatment. If I was on no treatment, go for the herbs, do whatever I want. But if I'm on a drug he's issued, no go and I have to check my vitamins with him. So I'd say that if you're on Met, you're going to cycle again soon, just don't do it, especially with your liver function being monitored.

I hope it works out with the accupuncturist and that she would understand that you're working with someone else as well. Best wishes!

At 10:05 PM, Blogger Julianna said...

I would not take the herbs.

I have seen many acupuncturists (8 or so) and each one has different recipes for herbs and what is right for me. One even gave me herbs that are for men with erectile dysfunction! I bought the expensive medicines and took them as described.

I never got much good from the herbs.

Definitely got benefits from the acupuncture itself but never the herbs.

Good luck.

At 8:26 AM, Blogger Miss W said...

I am always sketchy on the herbal front. Remember, natural does NOT mean safe! Maybe I put too much faith in western medicine, but I have good reason for that (which maybe I'll post about in my blog sometime soon). I would stick with whatever your doctor says. After all, he's the one you will have to rush to if there is a problem as a result of any other "treatment."

At 5:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd skip the herbs...I'm all for big pharmaceutical company produced things. Toni's suggestion is excellent, it completely lets you off the hook. Or you could just SAY that your RE said no way.

At 12:36 PM, Blogger Sanorah said...

I would opt for the truth. Tell her that with the test your RE is currently doing there is no way you can add the herbs, but that you think the Acupuncture is great and wish to continue it. *shrug* I bet she will be cool with that.

The TwatLightZone


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