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Acupuncture and Infertility

Posted Nov 17 2009 9:25pm

Acupuncture originated in the East and has been around for an extremely long time. It is the technique of inserting and manipulating fine needles into specific points on the body to relieve pain and to help a number of medical conditions. Acupuncture typically regulates the blood pressure by stimulating the central nervous system. It releases endorphins which inhibits pain and gives the body the feeling of wellness and also releases neurotransmitters and neurohormones, which help the body to heal itself. Acupuncture can be used in combination with infertility treatments in order to treat issues like hormonal imbalances. Since it helps regulate the body’s system, blood flow is increased to the vital organs and hormone levels are effectively regulated. It also improves ovarian and follicular function. It can increase blood flow to the endometrium, helping to facilitate a thick, rich lining. Plus, acupuncture may improve the success rate of in vitro fertilization (IVF). An increasing number of fertility specialists and centers offer it as a part of their IVF treatments. With acupuncture, the embryo transfer process in IVF was shown to have significant improvements resulting more often in a pregnancy. Acupuncture can also be used to treat fertility problems like spasmed tubes. Although blocked tubes will not respond to acupuncture, spasmed tubes are often de-spasmed with acupuncture. Acupuncture is often combined with herbs to treat elevated follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), repeated pregnancy loss, unexplained (idiopathic) infertility, luteal phase defect, hyperprolactinemia (when not caused by a prolactinoma), polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) with irregular cycles, and male factor including men affected with sperm-DNA-fragmentation. Like physical therapy, acupuncture is a process that helps the body to heal itself over time. It is better to do more than less. Women can be treated for three to four months before an insemination, in vitro fertilization (IVF), or donor-egg transfer. Women are also encouraged to receive acupuncture treatments pre and post embryo transfer. Continuing with acupuncture for this amount of time before a fertility treatment seems to also have a therapeutic effect. Going through fertility treatments can be extremely stressful for the couple and for the woman in particular. Acupuncture is a great way to reduce stress, anxiety and depression. With so many ways that acupuncture has a positive effect on infertility treatments, it makes sense for a couple who is struggling with infertility to try every option that is out there. There are very few risks when using acupuncture with infertility treatments. The biggest risk is that a miscarriage may develop if incorrect acupuncture points are used when a woman is pregnant. That is why using an acupuncturist who specializes in treating fertility disorders is extremely important for those who wish to include acupuncture in their treatment regimen. Also electro-acupuncture is a good alternative to conventional medical painkillers during labor. It can also result in shorter hospitalization times which mean lower costs. Plus, research suggests that the most effective fertility treatments involve a combination of acupuncture, herbal medicine, and traditional medical interventions. Although, acupuncture and herbal medicines have not been known to help with conception on their own when traditional medical interventions are not used.


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