Autoimmunity is a hot topic in reproductive medicine these days. Autoimmunity is an abnormal immunologic reaction to a part of our bodies. Allergic reactions fall to one side of this spectrum, with life-threatening diseases like lupus and multiple sclerosis at the other end of the scale. What happens in all of these disorders is that the immune system loses its ability to discriminate between “safe” and “harmful.” Consider respiratory allergies. Airborne substances which are inert to most of the general population can cause severe reactions and even death to those whose immune systems are over-reactive. Systemic Lupus Erythematosis, at the other end of the spectrum, presents with an immunologic reaction that attacks major organ systems.
Currently infertility clinics are discovering the importance of immunological factors in failed conception. Some clinics are actively testing new clients for these issues. Immunological factors may not cause any outward physical symptoms and many women are unaware their immune systems are over active. A hyperactive/improper immune response can have physical symptoms, such as:
- Frequent miscarriage (Currently the most common symptom, which is a trigger for reproductive specialists to test for immunological factors.)
- Body aches, fever, feeling ill during the luteal phase
- Depression, irritability panic attacks or PMS
- Night sweats with sweating over the breast bone
- Early morning insomnia
- Hormone levels which decrease mid-cycle
- Long history of hives or itchy skin, including rosacea, eczema and psoriasis
- Any type of “anti” bodies, such as thyroid antibodies or RA
The best treatment protocol for immunological problems is the combination of acupuncture/Chinese herbs and immunosuppressant drugs. Modern drugs can re-modulate the immune system by suppressing and neutralizing certain immune cells. The treatment is fast-acting but lasts only for a short period of time after the drugs have been removed.
While acupuncture and Chinese herbs can enhance the normal functioning of the immunological response of the body, the treatment can take several weeks to change the immune system. Chinese medicine is long-lasting and constant, and thus provides a great synergistic effect when combined with modern drugs — producing positive outcomes.
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