Holistic Treatment for Uterine Natural Killer Cells (NK cells)

After many years of supporting women with fertility, I have observed that some who have been trying for sometime without success of conception (either naturally or with recurrent failed IVF embryo transfers) have eventually been tested for Natural Killer Cells (NK cells), and once the appropriate diagnosis is made and treatment is coursed, a successful pregnancy results.

What are Natural Killer Cells?

Natural Killer Cells (NK cells) are a type of white blood cell (lymphocyte), that are naturally occur in your immune system. They are found all over the body, when concerning your fertility we refer to the NK cells in the uterus with marker CD56. They are important for the early detection and elimination of foreign cells that can cause cancer or infection. High levels of uterine NK cells can cause immunological infertility because they attack the embryo or growing foetus, thus what is auto-immunity.

Causes of Natural Killer Cells

  • Endometriosis & Adenomyosis
  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
  • Fibroids & Myomas
  • Vaginal Bacterial Infections & STIs
  • Stress, holding tension and too much busyness
  • Cancer, trauma & localised lesions


Natural Killer Cell Testing and Diagnosis

Is a medical examination conducted via a blood test with or without a uterine biopsy.

How do you know you need Natural Killer Cell testing?

  • 3 recurrent miscarriages at less than 35 years
  • 2 recurrent miscarriages at more than 35 years
  • repeated IVF implantation failure (2 or more unsuccessful fresh IVF cycles)
  • unexplained infertility, patient request and gynaecological illness can create an association

Medical philosophy of Natural Killer Cells in the Uterus

Medical theory regarding uterine NK cells tends to be varied and sways between doctors. Some doctors believe in this theory, especially considering more research and evidence is being presented to support their existence and effect on fertility. Often women will seek a second opinion if they have still have no result and their doctor has dismissed the possibility of NK cells as a cause of infertility.


Medical treatment of Natural Killer Cells

Will vary according to your specialist. It may include and range from progesterone, clexane, prednisone and intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) from embryo transfer or ovulation to 12 weeks as prescribed. Steroid treatment is effective although side effects and unwanted symptoms occur.

Causes of Natural Killer Cells in Chinese Medicine

When I treat NK cells in Chinese medicine, I always address the presenting pattern, underlying cause and your constitution. Patterns often seen associated with high NK Cells include kidney deficiency, damp-heat, blood stasis, liver qi stagnation, kidney yang and spleen yang deficiency to spleen qi deficiency. This may be associated with other health issues such as hypothyroidism or diabetes.


Chinese Medicine and Natural Killer Cells

A combined treatment of the medical protocol for NK cells with Chinese herbs and acupuncture can provide the mother with a holistic treatment and reduce the severity of side effects which range from reduced foetal growth, mood swings, bloating, digestive upsets and insomnia. Chinese herbs act to support the immunity to regulate it and prevent overdrive and support the kidney energy (adrenals) which is critical for good fertility and health during pregnancy. Ilana regularly works with IVF and fertility specialists to ensure that you get the best available holistic treatment. Numerous studies have analysed this.


Metaphysical Aspects of NK Cells: Lack of Self-Love

Louise Hay associates stress with autoimmunity such as they way NK cells behave. The growing epidemic of stress, lifestyle disease and autoimmune disease pertains to a very simple cause, that of not loving yourself for who you are.

A Chinese medicine consultation aims to support the patient and their underlying imbalance through diet, lifestyle, acupuncture, cupping, moxa, Chinese herbs and mindset which Ilana believes leads the body.


If you are in need of support on your fertility journey and especially believe that NK cells are affecting you, Ilana is the experienced, caring and holistic health expert to support  you. A tailored program can ensure your body is performing at its peak optimally for better conception and pregnancy.

At Ilana Sowter Acupuncture which is located on Murrays Bay, North Shore, Auckland, expect the best holistic health consultation, tailored treatment and advice with 8 years experience supporting natural fertility with acupuncture and Chinese herbs.

Call Ilana on 020 4159 8393 or send her an email to info@ilanasowter.com for more information.

Skype consultations available for international clients.

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