Infertility in Malaysia: Possible Causes and Treatments to Increase Fertility

Infertility in Malaysia is an issue for many couples trying to expand their families. Here are some traditional remedies you can try.

Young Asian couple sitting on a sofa with a pregnancy test in hand

Did you know that the rate of infertility in Malaysia is 10-15%? That can ring alarm bells for young couples trying to grow their family. Fortunately, it’s not the end of the road. Here is more about the causes of infertility and what you can do about it. 

Causes of Infertility in Malaysia 

Infertility is usually defined based on when the issue arises. Primary infertility is when a couple has never had a child. Secondary infertility is when a couple cannot conceive after a previous pregnancy. A study in Malaysia found that two third of couples have primary infertility. 

Different factors may cause infertility in either of the partners. At times, the issues may be present since birth or may develop later in life. Causes of infertility in men include abnormal production of sperms or abnormally functioning sperm, problems with delivering sperm, damage due to chemotherapy or radiotherapy, and overexposure to environmental factors or chemicals. Cigarette smoking, alcohol, marijuana, and certain antibiotics can affect fertility. 

In women, the most common causes of infertility are ovulation disorders, uterine or cervical abnormalities, damage or blockage of the fallopian tubes, endometriosis, early menopause, adhesions in the pelvis or injury due to cancer treatments. 

The study evaluating the causes of infertility in Malaysia found that more than half of cases were due to issues in ovulation followed by defects in sperm. 

Traditional Chinese Medicine’s View on Infertility

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), factors such as work stress, poor work-life/rest balance, insufficient and poor-quality rest and sleep, emotional imbalance, unhealthy diet and lifestyle contribute to infertility.

Real Medical Senior Physician Brandon Yew shares, “These factors disrupt the qi and blood circulation, resulting in the formation and accumulation of pathogens like Cold, Heat, Dampness, phlegm, Stagnated Qi and blood clots within the Penetrating Vessel (Chong Extraordinary Meridian) and Conception Vessel (Ren Extraordinary Meridien).

“This interferes with the reproductive functions, causing infertility. Over time, these factors can also cause the deficiency of vital substances like qi, blood, yin (cooling energy and body fluids) and yang (warming energy), and weakening of the Penetrating and Conception vessels and vital organs like the Liver, Spleen and Kidneys, further worsening the reproductive function”, he explains. 

Treatment of Infertility in Malaysia

Doctor filling a form in front of a couple
Try to conceive naturally with regular, timed, unprotected sex for at least a year before getting professional help.

If you’ve been unsuccessful in conceiving, a lot of help is available. You don’t need to see a doctor unless you’ve been trying regularly to get pregnant for at least a year.

Women may consult a doctor earlier if they are over the age of 35, have irregular periods, have been diagnosed with endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease, or have had multiple miscarriages. Men should see a doctor if they have been diagnosed with a low sperm count or other abnormalities of the sperms, testicular or prostate problems, or have small testicles or swelling in the scrotum.

However, before you go in for infertility treatments, here are some ways to improve fertility you can try. 

Live a healthy lifestyle 

Physician Yew recommends following a healthy lifestyle as the first step toward improving fertility. He recommends developing healthy eating habits and adopting a balanced and nutritious diet. He also advises to cut down or avoid cold, raw, salty, oily, fried, fatty, spicy, sugared and processed foods,” is his advice to all young couples.

Also, “cut down or totally avoid alcohol and smoking, exercise regularly and stay well hydrated”, he adds. Managing your emotions, maintaining a good work-life balance and ensuring you get adequate sleep and quality rest is also key to maintaining fertility.

Herbal remedies 

Physician Yew also recommends herbal remedies to maintain fertility. However, as with other traditional treatments, he advises consulting a registered TCM practitioner to ascertain which therapy would be the most beneficial for your body composition. Some of the formulations he uses are: 

  • Yu Lin Zhu (毓麟珠) – regenerates the Kidneys’ essence, qi and yang energies to warm, nourishes and strengthens Penetrating and Conception vessels.  
  • Wen Bao Yin (温胞饮) – regenerates the Kidneys’ yang energy and essence to dispel Cold, nourishes and strengthens Penetrating and Conception vessels.  
  • You Gui Yin (右归饮)- regenerates the Kidneys’ yang energy and essence to warm, nourishes and strengthens Penetrating and Conception vessels.  
  • Yang Jing Zhong Yu Tang (养精种玉汤) – regenerates Liver’s blood and Kidneys’ yin energy to nourish and strengthen Penetrating and Conception vessels.  
  • Kai Yu Zhong Yu Tang (开郁种玉汤) – regenerates Spleen’s qi and Liver’s blood, dispels Dampness and Stagnated Liver Qi and blood clots to nourish, strengthens and unblocks Penetrating and Conception vessels.  
  • Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang (少腹逐瘀汤) – dispels Stagnated Liver Qi and blood clots to unblock Penetrating and Conception vessels for better reproductive function.  
  • Cang Zhu Dao Tan Wan (苍附导痰丸) – dispels Dampness, phlegm and Stagnated Qi to unblock Penetrating and Conception vessels for improved reproductive function.  
  • Da Huang Mu Dan Tang (大黄牡丹汤) – purges Heat, Dampness and blood clots to unblock Penetrating and Conception vessels for improved reproductive function.  
  • Si Miao Wan (四妙丸) – dispels Dampness and Heat to unblock Penetrating and Conception vessels for improved reproductive function.  

Acupressure 

Acupressure is an easy self-help remedy that can be performed at home by massaging certain acupoints. “Massage each acupoint in clockwise and anticlockwise directions, 20 times each. Repeat for at least three minutes per acupoint,” recommends Physician Yew.

He generally advises the following acupoints for his patients: 

  • He gu (LI4, 合谷)
  • Lie que (LU7, 列缺)
  • Zu san li (ST36, 足三里)
  • Yin ling quan (SP9, 阴陵泉)
  • Feng long (ST40, 丰隆) 
  • San yin jiao (SP6, 三阴交) 
  • Tai xi (KI3, 太溪) 
  • Tai chong (LR3, 太冲)
  • Gong sun (SP4, 公孙)
  • Guan yuan (RN4, 关元)
  • Qi hai (RN6, 气海)

Physician Yew cautions that the effect of acupressure is mild, and is merely a supplement for acupuncture. “Acupuncture is more effective in tackling the root pathology; hence it is strongly recommended to seek help from a qualified TCM practitioner,” he states.

Infertility in Malaysia is an issue causing considerable stress among young couples. However, there are many treatments and remedies available. To start, try these self-help and traditional therapies to invigorate your fertility!

References

  1. Study on public awareness and knowledge regarding infertility.  [Accessed on 19 July 2022].  
  2. IOSR Journal of Dental and Medical Sciences. Male and female infertility: Causes and Management. 2019 [Accessed on 19 July 2022] 
  3. International Medical Journal. Aetiological factors and psychosocial impact of femal partner in couples with infertility. 2006. [Accessed on 19 July 2022] 

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