Acupuncture For Fertility
Infertility is a crisis of the deepest kind. It threatens many aspects of a couple’s life- not only the partners relationship to each other, but it also effects them individually and their relationship with friends and family.
Acupuncture has been used to treat infertility extensively, including ovulatory dysfunction, in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer (IVF-ET), and male infertility. Recent studies investigated the role of acupuncture in infertility. In conclusion, most of the existing studies suggest a positive effect of acupuncture in infertility treatment. Firstly, acupuncture may improve ovulation by modulating the central and peripheral nervous systems, the neuroendocrine and endocrine systems, the ovarian blood flow, and metabolism. Secondly, acupuncture can improve the outcome of IVF-ET, and the mechanisms may be related to the increased uterine blood flow, inhibited uterine motility, and the reduction of depression, anxiety and stress. Its effect on modulating immune function also suggests helpfulness in improving the outcome of IVF-ET. Finally, the studies suggest that acupuncture plays a positive role in male infertility
If I am undergoing IVF, when should I start acupuncture?
If this is your first IVF cycle, it’s recommended you start acupuncture treatments at least a month prior to your embryo transfer. One or two sessions per week can help prepare the body for pregnancy. If however previous IVF cycles have failed, it’s recommended you come in as early as possible before starting a new cycle since there may be a major disorder in the body that needs to be addressed before a woman can expect to successfully conceive.
What do I do if I am taking a Clomid (or any other medication)?
Your doctor prescribed medication for a purpose. Infertility drugs are issued to alter hormone levels to bring on a productive ovulation. It is believed that the right combination of medication and acupuncture can achieve results that either alone can’t match. Acupuncture treatments can be adjusted to complement injections/drugs that you’re taking. It is believed that these treatments can vastly improve the effectiveness of the drugs and help to decrease their side-effects.
I have seen a lot of scientific literature that shows acupuncture can help women who are undergoing IVF, but can it also help those who are trying to conceive naturally?
Yes, acupuncture is equally effective for women who want to conceive naturally. IVF clinical trials are easier to run and control therefore there’s relatively small amount of literature relating to natural conception and acupuncture.
Can acupuncture help if my infertility is due to a thin uterine lining?
Yes. It is extremely effective because it prepares the uterus by increasing nutrients, blood flow and balances hormone levels. These acupuncture treatments benefit not only those who suffer from a thin uterine lining but also every woman who is trying to become pregnant.
Can acupuncture help if my infertility is due to a Blocked Fallopian Tube?
This depends on the type of blockage. If it’s due to scarring from an infection or chronic inflammation, then it can take several months or years to be effective. If there is no physical blockage but rather a decreased tube diameter from cramping or stress, the acupuncture will have a faster and better effect.
Can acupuncture help me if my infertility is due to poor egg quality?
Yes because many cases of infertility are caused by poor egg quality due to decreased circulation to the ovaries and uterus. These patients may have other signs of poor circulation such as low energy and cold extremeties. Western studies have shown that acupuncture can significantly alter blood flow to the uterus by focusing nutrients to this area and increasing blood flow.
Can acupuncture help if my infertility is due to high FSH?
Yes. Often attributing it as a natural decline of ovarian function and old age, there are other causes as well. Many women who suffer from high FSH may also have one or more of the following symptoms: 1) Endocrine disorders-treatments will be directed towards improving the function of the endocrine. 2) poor circulation-treatments will be aimed at improving blood flow and nutrients to the ovaries and uterus as well as regulate hormones. 3) neurological disorders-treatments will be aimed at improving neurological function.
Do you prescribe herbs for infertility?
Herbs can be prescribed free of charge if it is believed to help. (the majority of cases are treated with herbs) The prescription can be taken to a Chinese pharmacy similar to bringing a prescription to a traditional pharmacy.
Can acupuncture help me after I become pregnant?
Absolutely. Acupuncture treatments can help decrease the risk of miscarriage, help to improve your overall health and help to prevent postpartum depression.
I am over 40 years old and suffering from infertility. Can acupuncture still help me?
Many patients over the age of 40 can successfully become pregnant and conceive. Acupuncture treatments can help with many of the effects that aging can have on a woman’s reproductive system. However, if a woman has already reached menopause, acupuncture cannot help.
What else can I do to increase my chances?
Depending on your specific condition, recommendations can be made for you to increase your chances of conception
How often should I have treatments for my infertility?
This is a common question asked very often, but there’s no umbrella answer because every case is different. Depending on the patient’s specific issue, overall health and lifestyle, the frequency, length, and effectiveness of treatment will vary. That being said, we understand that patients lead busy lives so we try our best to accommodate a treatment schedule around your menstrual cycle that will optimize the effectiveness.
Stats and facts:
•Infertility affects about 10 percent of the reproductive age population.
•Twenty-five percent of infertile couples have more than one factor that contributes to their infertility.
•In approximately 40 percent of infertile couples, the male partner is either the sole cause or a contributing cause of infertility.
•Irregular or abnormal ovulation accounts for approximately 25 percent of all female infertility problems. Most infertile cases 85% to 90% can be treated with conventional medical therapies such as medication or surgery.
•While vital for some patients, in vitro fertilization and similar treatments accounts for less than 5 percent of infertility services.
•Twelve percent of all infertility cases are a result of woman either weighing to little or too much.
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