Infertility affects millions of couples around the world. It is a condition that is not gender-specific; both males and females are a third likely to be the cause of a couple's failure to conceive. The remaining third of cases are caused by both genders or because of unknown causes. Allopathic treatment for infertility can be expensive. For many, treatment is difficult or impossible to receive due to cost, access, or provider-bias issues.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) approaches infertility as an imbalance in his or her energies. The goal of TCM treatments is to unblock and rebalance the individual's energy flow. Acupuncture, herbal medicines, qigong exercises, and massages used alone or in combination with conventional treatments, have demonstrated effectiveness in improving both male and female reproductive functions.
Acupuncture can be very effective at regulating a women’s endocrine system and subsequently, her reproductive system. However, it is always important to get a thorough Western medical examination in order to determine any possible structural issues causing infertility. Acupuncture treatments for infertility are most effective in cases where functional disorders are the cause of infertility.
Acupuncture has been shown in several studies to have significant advantages for In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) treatments. A 2002 German infertility study showed that acupuncture treatments combined with IVF treatment lead to twice as many successful pregnancies. An even more surprising fact was that the acupuncture infertility treatments increased the successful rates of IVF treatments, regardless of the age of the woman.
Acupuncture in infertility treatments can also improve the function of the ovaries, leading to better quality eggs and embryos. Acupuncture’s ability to affect our endocrine system can help infertility by the regulation of estrogen and progesterone levels preparing the uterus for implantation. Increased blood flow to the uterus from acupuncture infertility treatment also promoted follicular development and implantation.
Acupuncture infertility treatments may be preferred over common infertility drugs such as Clomid (Clomiphene Citrate) or Glucophage (Metformin). Not only does it have fewer side effects than fertility drugs, acupuncture infertility treatments can help prevent miscarriage once you do become pregnant. Studies have also shown that women who receive acupuncture infertility treatments also have lower rates of ectopic pregnancies. Other common medications can contribute to infertility and lowered sexual drive, such as Celexa, Zoloft, and Paxil. Acupuncture treatments can also be effective in managing health issues such as depression and anxiety. This benefit may allow you to reduce the use of these drugs under your doctor’s supervision.
Approximately 50% of cases of difficult conception are due to male infertility. Recent studies have shown that men who undergo acupuncture treatments for male infertility have improved semen quality and quantity. While the acupuncture treatments cannot correct structure dysfunctions causing male infertility, it is the only successful treatment available to increase the number of health sperm a man can produce.
Tips for Infertility
Several lifestyle changes can make infertility conditions easier to treat:
Consider avoiding cold drinks and raw food; warm foods can activate and move stagnation in our bodies helping fertility.
Try exercises that promote circulation of Qi and Blood, such as Tai Chi, Qi Gong, Yoga, and Meditation. Not only can they relieve stress, but they can help infertility by harmonizing the body.
Combining acupuncture treatments with Chinese Herbal Medicine can significantly increase the success of infertility treatments.
When the cause of infertility is unknown, acupuncture can be the best treatment. There are many subtle reasons which may cause infertility, and acupuncture is able to treat both the mind and body at subconscious levels to improve fertility.
Younger couples who are not having structural problems should consider trying acupuncture first, before trying other more expensive fertility treatments.
When you do successfully become pregnant, consider continuing your acupuncture infertility treatments to maintain and promote a healthier pregnancy.