Research Update – Acupuncture and Fertility
A study published by the National Institutes of Health in 2018 indicates receiving acupuncture treatments can improve the possibility of conceiving a child for patients that have experienced fertility issues. This particular study was conducted on one couple, and focused on treating both partners to achieve conception. The male received acupuncture treatments to improve sperm quality, and the female received acupuncture treatments to remove ovarian cysts and improve blood flow to the uterus. After seven treatments, the ovarian cysts had disappeared, and the couple was able to conceive. The acupoints used in this study were chosen to improve blood flow and energy to the reproductive organs, while also decreasing excess phlegm and fluids in the lower body. Acupuncture has been shown to be very effective at treating infertility in the past and this study confirms those findings.
Infertility is defined as not being able to get pregnant after one year or more of unprotected sex. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 18 percent of women aged 15 to 44 have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying the pregnancy to full term. Infertility is not limited to women though. The CDC reports 35 percent of couples with infertility have a male component to their difficulties. This means that nearly 6.9 million people in the United States have received fertility treatments. Infertility is typically treated with injections, prescription medications and even artificial insemination, but there are still no guarantees that conception will occur even with all of these efforts.
Traditional Chinese Medicine has been proven to increase the chance of conception in couples that are currently receiving fertility treatments. In fact, the success rates of conception increase from 39.4 percent to 65.5 percent when acupuncture and TCM are added to the mix. Acupuncture helps increase fertility by reducing stress, increasing blood flow to the reproductive organs and balancing hormones. Acupuncture treatments can provide increased blood flow to the ovaries and uterus, which creates a stronger chance for an egg to be nourished and carried to full term. In the male, acupuncture treatments can improve sperm quality and motility.
The insertion of acupuncture needles has been proven to stimulate blood flow, so for men, regular acupuncture treatments can increase blood flow to the testicular arteries. The testicles need blood to provide nutrients, remove waste products and keep the area cool. Excess waste products can damage sperm while they mature in the testicles. Stagnation of blood in the scrotum can increase testicular temperatures, which can be very detrimental to the forming sperm. By increasing blood flow to and from this area, nutrients are brought in and waste is removed, which will contribute to healthier sperm.
The most common cause of female infertility is due to a problem with ovulation. This can be caused by imbalanced hormones, stress or even a buildup of excess phlegm in the lower body. All of these situations may prevent the release of a mature egg from the ovaries. When progesterone is lacking, the fetus may be unable to attach to the uterus. Regular acupuncture treatments have been shown to correct these imbalances, making conception more possible.
If infertility is something you are dealing with, ask me how I can help. The chances of getting pregnant and having a happy healthy baby are much better when combining both Western medicine and Eastern medicine. New York Sports Acupuncture
Dr. Bishara Wilson, DACM, L.Ac.
3 Reasons Acupuncture Supports Couples Facing Infertility
When you consider all the changes in our agricultural practices, the increased number of medications we take, as well as our dependence on plastic and technology that is constantly emitting low-grade radiation, it’s no surprise more couples are having trouble conceiving. Current statistics show one in six couples who are trying to conceive are facing fertility issues. And while many times infertility is thought of as a female issue, it is really a factor for both the man and woman and should therefore be addressed as such.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) we talk about qi a lot, the energy or life force in everyone. Qi regulates the mental and physical body. When qi is disrupted or blocked due to poor health or other circumstances, then disease may occur. Regular acupuncture treatments help to keep the normal flow of qi moving and unblocked. A healthy flow of qi increases a couple’s chances of conceiving.
One of the most important ways acupuncture treatments can support a couple facing fertility issues is through reducing stress. Stress is frequently a key component that contributes to infertility in both men and women. When people are stressed, the brain releases a hormone known as cortisol. Too much cortisol alters the brain and changes the hormone levels which are key to the reproductive cycle. Due to the delicate balance between the brain, pituitary gland and the reproductive glands, excess stress is capable of preventing ovulation completely. Stress can also cause spasms in the uterus and fallopian tubes, which may interfere with implantation of a fertilized egg. In men, stress can alter sperm count, sperm motility and cause impotence. Acupuncture has the ability to counter the effects of stress.
Regular acupuncture treatments are also very effective at decreasing and removing excess phlegm in the lower body. This buildup of excess phlegm can be caused by numerous factors. In the United States, there are two causes that are most common. The first is the standard American diet that is saturated with fast-food, greasy, sugary and fried foods and lacking in fresh, whole plant-based foods. The second cause is the sedentary lifestyle that many people now live. Studies confirm that these two situations lead to increased infertility issues. But specific acupoints, herbs and exercise can all be beneficial in creating a healthy environment for a baby to be conceived.
Acupuncture can also be a great option for those facing fertility issues, because it doesn’t cost nearly as much as other options. The average cost of in vitro fertilization (IVF) is $15,000 per session and the success rates are only about 33 percent. However, the use of TCM over a 6 month period can increase success rates by nearly 65 percent for a fraction of the cost of IVF. With acupuncture, people also get the added benefits of more restful sleep, less stress and anxiety, improved digestion and better health overall.
Studies show acupuncture can increase fertility and allow couples to conceive more frequently. If you are experiencing fertility problems, acupuncture may hold the answer. Ask me today if you would like more information.
New York Sports Acupuncture
Dr. Bishara Wilson, DACM, L.Ac.
Acupuncture and In Vitro Fertilization
According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly 1.6 percent of all infants born annually in the United States are conceived using assisted reproductive technology or in vitro fertilization. In vitro fertilization or IVF is big business. The average cost of an IVF cycle costs $12,000, and that doesn’t even include the medications that can run between $3,000 and $5,000.
This is where acupuncture may be able to assist. Many fertility doctors are now recommending acupuncture, as it can improve a woman’s chances of conceiving by up to 60 percent. There have been multiple studies conducted that show the rates of live births nearly double in cases where acupuncture was used.
Acupuncture treatments can improve blood flow to the uterus. This has been verified through the use of ultrasound. Increased blood flow to the uterus can create a more hospitable environment for implantation of an embryo.
Another factor that plays heavily in the world of conception is a woman’s stress levels. When a woman is undergoing in vitro fertilization, she is under a lot of stress, both physically and mentally. This can lead to increased amounts of stress hormones that are actually detrimental to the body and may inhibit fertility. Again, this is where acupuncture treatments can help. Regular acupuncture treatments have been shown to decrease overall stress levels, making the fertilization procedure a little easier for the body.
Lastly, acupuncture has been shown to improve the response of the body to in vitro fertilization medications. IVF medications cause multiple follicles to grow, and the higher the number of mature eggs retrieved, the greater the likelihood that one of those eggs will get fertilized, resulting in an embryo for implantation into the uterus.
It is usually recommended a woman begin acupuncture a couple of months prior to the IVF procedure. This will increase the chances of conception. Here, Eastern and Western medicine work very well together. If you’re considering in vitro fertilization, acupuncture might be a welcomed addition to the mix.
New York Sports Acupuncture
Dr. Bishara Wilson, DACM, L.Ac.