Is Acupuncture Effective for Improving Fertility?
Infertility is much wider-spread problem then the amount of attention it receives would suggest. According to the CDC, 1 in 8 couples have trouble getting or sustaining pregnancy. And it is a problem that affects both genders equally, with roughly one third of those couples struggling with infertility attributable to the man, one third attributable to the woman, and one third caused by a combination of problems. Fortunately, though, it is a treatable issue in the large majority of cases.
That said, many of the people who struggle with infertility yet remain concerned about the side-effects of modern medicine’s approach to treatment—or are simply not seeing the results they had hoped for when they began. Some have combined Western medicine with acupuncture and seen much better results than those depending on medical treatments alone. In other cases, acupuncture alone has been successful. In this article, we will discuss how acupuncture can be used to treat problems with infertility, as well as how acupuncture works, what you can expect, and how to find a qualified acupuncturist. We will approach this topic from a woman’s perspective, though many of the points discussed apply equally to men as well.
Acupuncture and Infertility
So how does acupuncture help with infertility? One of the key ways is by reducing stress levels naturally. When stress levels are elevated, a chemical called cortisol is released. Cortisol can upset the natural hormonal balances in the body, including that of the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland is instrumental in reproductive health, and an imbalance can result in a failure to ovulate. Acupuncture can restore the balance and enable the pituitary gland to begin functioning normally and allow ovulation to begin again. It also balances the overall endocrine system. For example, acupuncture has successfully helped countless women to begin ovulating again, even after extended periods of time on birth control.
Acupuncture also helps by increasing the flow of blood to key reproductive organs, such as the uterus and the ovaries. Increased blood flow can increase the chances for an egg to be properly nourished and successfully carried to term. In fact, medical doctors widely acknowledge the power of acupuncture to help egg production in women facing infertility problems.
Women with problems such as high follicle stimulation hormone (FSH) or premature ovarian failure (POF) may not be able to receive help from Western medicine when they wish to conceive. However, acupuncture can treat these problems naturally. Again, they key lies in balancing the hormones, encouraging healthy blood flow to the reproductive organs, and supporting overall health.
As discussed in our post “How Acupuncture Can Help Your Hormone Imbalance,” acupuncture works extremely well in bringing hormonal levels back into balance. This includes the key hormonal balances in a woman’s body—interactions between the hypothalamus, pituitary glands, and reproductive organs—to help women become fertile and improve the chances of successfully giving birth. Even after pregnancy has begun, acupuncture can keep the key hormones in balance and even aid in the timely delivery of the baby. When performed by a qualified professional, acupuncture is safe before and during pregnancy.
Acupuncture, Infertility, and Western Medicine
Many doctors and researchers are in favor of using acupuncture alongside of a Western approach to treating infertility. For example, Dr. S. Cochrane et.al. have developed a protocol for treating infertility with acupuncture. It has been demonstrated that acupuncture is effective in the treatment of women’s health problems including infertility and hormonal imbalances.
Acupuncture is commonly used alongside treatments such as IVF, ART, and artificial insemination. Researchers such as W.E. Paulus et.al. showed that women receiving ART and acupuncture treatment had a higher pregnancy rate. L.E. Hullender Rubin et.al. found that women undergoing IVF and acupuncture tended to have more live births than those undergoing IVF alone, as did the work of Dr. Lars Westergaard et.al. In short, if a woman is already receiving treatment from her medical doctor for fertility problems, acupuncture may very well increase its benefits.
Benefits of Acupuncture
Unlike many Western chemical therapies, acupuncture poses no serious risks to your health or well-being when performed by a trained, licensed professional. For example, many fertility drugs produce unpleasant, even dangerous side effects such as water retention, weight gain, nausea, and tenderness in the abdominal area. Some research studies have indicated that fertility drugs might be tied to certain types of cancer. Acupuncture has no such side effects and is considered safe regardless of an individual’s medical history.
Acupuncture can also help once the pregnancy has been achieved by addressing the imbalances behind symptoms such as morning sickness, depression, and back pain. Acupuncture is safe during pregnancy as long as it performed by a trained professional who knows what points to avoid.
Finding the Right Acupuncturist
Statistics show that people with fertility problems who use acupuncture in addition to standard medical approaches become pregnant at a significantly higher rate. If you are facing infertility, then it’s time to consider acupuncture, whether in addition to other treatments you are receiving or on its own. Acupuncture enables your body to regulate and balance itself over time without forcing it and causing dangerous side effects.
It is important to speak with your doctor before trying acupuncture. If infertility is related to issues such as endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease, then acupuncture may not be as successful in helping with fertility problems.
Awaken Integrative Wellness
Awaken Integrative Wellness provides a therapeutic alternative to men, women, and families who are seeking fertility and prenatal care. Before your first acupuncture treatment, our trusted professionals will complete an extensive health intake, evaluate your symptoms, and prescribe a customized course of treatment. You will be pleased to know that Awaken Integrative Wellness accepts most health insurance providers for acupuncture treatment. We look forward to becoming your trusted healthcare provider now and into the future.