Infertility is a stressful experience. If you want a child and have trouble conceiving, you’re looking at a variety of solutions. You may have exhausted all avenues of traditional Western medicine and are looking at alternatives.
Acupuncture is traditional Chinese medicine. Although it once was considered alternative medicine in the US, it’s now accepted here and in many other countries as a standard treatment for various conditions. Americans are embracing acupuncture as a treatment that may help improve fertility for people who haven’t been able to have a biological child.
Research results thus far are mixed regarding the effectiveness of acupuncture in increasing fertility. Some studies indicate there is some benefit, while others remain uncertain.
How does acupuncture increase fertility?
The theory is that acupuncture can help your body’s reproductive system work more effectively. The needles redistribute your Qi, or body energy, where it’s needed within your body. For fertility purposes, acupuncture needles are placed on key energy meridians, or energy paths, connected to your reproductive system.
Researchers believe that acupuncture may aid fertility in several ways.
Couples or individuals going through fertility treatment are under stress. They haven’t been able to achieve a goal and can’t control the fertility outcome.
Stress has negative effects on fertility. Acupuncture increases endorphins, hormones produced by your brain and nervous system that can lift you out of a depressed mood, help calm you, and lessen your stress.
Stimulates egg production
Some studies find that acupuncture can help stimulate production of eggs in those who don’t want to use hormone treatment. To assist reproduction, acupuncture increases blood flow to the ovaries and uterus, which may help egg production.
Also, because your brain regulates reproductive hormones such as estrogen, acupuncture can ensure your hormones are in balance with each other. Acupuncturists claim that the treatment helps stimulate ovulation in women who have failed to ovulate because it brings hormones back into the necessary balance.
Aids the success of IVF treatments
A 2002 study in Germany found that when acupuncture was added to in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments, the number of pregnancies increased by a statistically significant amount. Acupuncture might increase the number of egg follicles needed for fertilization during IVF.
Helps sustain pregnancies
When acupuncture increases blood flow to the uterus, it may strengthen the uterus, helping it to absorb the hormones needed for the pregnancy, thereby helping to avoid a miscarriage.
Acupuncture won’t aid infertility if it comes from a structural problem such as an ovarian cyst or blocked fallopian tube, or if advanced age has impacted the quality of the eggs.
You should coordinate your acupuncture treatment with your other fertility treatment. Share all medical tests and diagnoses with your acupuncturist, and ask your fertility physician to coordinate care with your acupuncture treatment.
If you’re trying to become pregnant but having no success, call or book an appointment online with Integrated Oriental Medicine. Answers may be a phone call away.