Why Consider Acupuncture for Infertility?
Acupuncture treatment can help both with couples struggling with infertility and patients going through a fertility program like IVF.
There is a current rise in societal infertility, which correlates to an overall rise in chronic disease such as autoimmune disease, obesity, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and more. Research has continually connected these, and other diseases, with chronic inflammation. Our poor diets, environmental toxins, and stressful lifestyles have left us bombarded by oxidative stress, which in turn causes issues with fertility, among other dysfunction and disease.
The overall benefit of acupuncture is that of increasing blood flow. That simple stimulation results in lowered pain, reduced inflammation, and better circulation, therefore reducing, or eliminating, the problematic issues patients come to my office seeking treatment for. The same can be said of infertility.
Often, treatment for infertility includes medication which isn’t an ideal solution for women wishing to become pregnant. Medications can cause a wide range of unpleasant side effects, causing couples to search for a better way. Similarly, couples going through in vitro fertilization (IVF) are often looking for ways to increase their chances of conceiving while avoiding a miscarriage.
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Here’s How Acupuncture Can Help with Fertility
There are many factors that could affect fertility, from either or both partners. However, when infertility can be narrowed down specifically to the uterus, ovulation, or poor sperm quality, research has demonstrated that electro-acupuncture increases fertility and can be a successful treatment.
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Poor uterine blood flow is the most common theme for women facing infertility. It also affects menstrual cramping, and can create a poor endometrial lining, which can be an element involved with miscarriages. Research demonstrates that electro-acupuncture increases uterine blood flow. It not only helps to reduce menstrual cramping and pain, but also increases fertility.
Interestingly, research also demonstrates better pregnancy outcomes with electro-acupuncture stimulation. In short, women more frequently stayed pregnant and carried their child to term when they used electro-acupuncture stimulation. It is, therefore, a common recommendation of fertility specialists to help give their patients an edge at getting, and staying, pregnant.
There are three main circumstances that contribute to ovulatory dysfunction: a low ovarian reserve, menopause, and an excessive production of androgen. A low ovarian reserve can affect successful fertility rates because that means there are not enough healthy eggs in the ovaries to develop properly. Menopause correlates strongly with ovarian reserve. Because the number of eggs in a woman’s ovaries is fixed, as women age, their ovarian reserve (egg supply) decreases. After the ovaries complete their usable egg supply, menopause begins and the fertile stage of life ends. Women born with a lower ovarian reserve will enter into menopause at an earlier age, thus shortening their time in years to be able to conceive.
Finally, women can also have an excessive production of androgens during their fertile period, which halts the normal ovulatory process. Some of the known causes of elevated androgen levels include, but are not limited to: exposure to environmental hormones, chronic inflammation, insulin resistance, and hormone dysregulation. PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS, is a relatively new syndrome and can develop as a result of these elevated androgen levels. Any, or all of these, may prevent an egg from fully maturing in the ovary. Research continues to discover new links between PCOS and elevated androgen levels. Electro-acupuncture research has demonstrated that androgen production can be reduced, while strengthening insulin sensitivity and blood flow.
Women suffering from PCOS can often further complicate their fertility by engaging in excessive exercise, stressful lifestyle, poor sleep quality, and poor dietary habits. The pro-ovulatory effects of electro-acupuncture can be enhanced with moderate exercise. Both exercise and acupuncture treatment stimulate the release of endorphins – “the feel good hormones” – which cancel out the negative effects from the stress caused by excessive exercise and poor lifestyle habits.
Poor Sperm Quality
When couples struggle to get pregnant, women are generally the first to get tested for the infertility. However, men can be just as much of a factor. It is therefore wise to have male semen quality assessed when investigating the infertility puzzle.
There can be insidious environmental factors that have nothing to do with male virility. For example, excessively long, hot showers, or prolonged chlorine gas exposure from an indoor pool, have both been shown to reduce sperm quality. This can also be affected from poor testicle circulation, hormonal dysfunction, and chronic inflammation. Research on male infertility and acupuncture treatment revealed an increase in sperm concentrations and testicular blood flow, as well as reduced chronic inflammation.
Acupuncture Is A Drug Free Infertility Treatment
A wide range of couples have come to my clinic in search of a “better answer” for their infertility. They often have a combination of factors between uterine, ovulatory, and poor sperm quality. Research strongly validates ways that acupuncture can support people wanting to become parents. Chronic inflammation, along with poor blood flow, are often the focal points as the underlying factors in most cases.
We focus on the chronic inflammation along with poor blood flow that is the underlying factor in most cases. However, it is not wise to treat with acupuncture therapy alone. My expertise allows me to integrate a traditional approach with known research along with modern functional medicine. The goal, and key to success, is to identify the core pathology involved with infertility. By doing this, I am able to generate a larger amount of “tools” in order to make the most significant impact. This can look like anything from adding nutritional supplements and/or herbal formulas, to recommending diet and lifestyle modifications. Any and all of this can help to further manage and reduce inflammation and increase the chances of pregnancy in a drug free way.
Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine treatments under the care of a skilled practitioner can be the secret weapon you’ve been looking for to combat the modern epidemic of infertility that continues to plague us in the modern world. I tailor to my patient’s specific needs in order to balance hormones, reduce stress and get their body back into optimal health.
I Offer A Free Consultation
In America, one in every eight to ten couples will experience infertility. This can understandably be frustrating, exhausting, and an emotional rollercoaster. Many couples try multiple methods to overcome this challenge, and scientific evidence supports the use of electro-acupuncture for certain types of infertility, specifically in the cases of male fertility, uterine, and ovulatory factors.
If you have found your way to this page, I’m sorry for the struggle you are going through. I know you have likely already done a ton of research, and I want to encourage you to trust both what you learn, as well as what you already know. The information contained in this page was written to help you understand how acupuncture helps with fertility, however, I offer a free consultation for potential patients to learn more about all the therapies that we use in our office for infertility.
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