Acupuncture for Infertility

Many couples struggling to conceive know the heartache of infertility and many people are open to trying anything to help them conceive. The good news is that Acupuncture can help! Acupuncture when used in conjunction with Western treatments will increase conception by 26%. Acupuncture has been practiced for thousands of years and still around today because IT WORKS! Infertility plagues approximately 7.3 million woman of childbearing age each year.

Acupuncture involves the insertion of painless, very thin, sterile needles into specific points on the body. These points, when needled, can regulate the way in which the body functions. Acupuncture is similar to physical therapy in that is a process oriented method of medical intervention. Patients are commonly treated three to four months before progressing to insemination, in vitro fertilization (IVF) or donor egg.  Most miscarriages occur within the first three months of pregnancy, consequently patients should continue with treatments up to week twelve.

According to John Norian, MD, a reproductive endocrinologist at HRC Fertility in Southern California, "Acupuncture improves fertility by helping blood flow to the uterus and ovaries and the better the blood flow the more likely an embryo is to implant."

Acupuncture can treat many different causes of infertility, including but not limited to thyroid problems (overactive or underactive), PCOS and idiopathic reasons (unknown cause). Patients use Acupuncture as their main treatment for their infertility problems while others use it in conjunction. Acupuncture increases the feel-good hormones called beta endorphins which improves the levels of follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone, which are both very important for fertility and decreases the body's stress response. Acupuncture treatment reduces stress, increases flow to the reproductive organs and balances the endocrine system, according to several researches. Acupuncture increases flow to the ovaries and uterus, creating a stronger chance for an egg to be nourished and carried to term.

Research has also shown that Acupuncture can increase male fertility, which is 30% of the time the cause of couples not being able to conceive. A study published in 2005 in Fertility and Sterility showed Acupuncture can help treat male infertility by increasing the number of normal sperm and decreasing the number of defective sperm.

The goal of an infertility treatment from the Chinese medicine perspective is not just getting pregnant, but to stay pregnant and conceive a healthy baby. Reducing stress in also a key factor in infertility treatments because when men or women are under stress, the hormone cortisol is released in their brain.  The change in the brain’s neurochemical balance changes the hormone levels and disrupts the pituitary balance, which is very important to the reproductive cycle.

It is very important to see a licensed, fully trained Acupuncture physician for the highest chances of success. Make sure not to use anyone that says they are “certified”, which means 300 hours or less of training and they did not take the National board exam or complete a graduate program.

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