How can acupuncture help with fertility?
Acupuncture can increase blood flow to the endometrium, helping to facilitate a thick, rich lining. Infertility symptoms which are related to hormonal imbalances are treatable with acupuncture. In cases of irregularity of menstruation, acupuncture can bring balance to the monthly cycle. In more serious cases when there is a failure to ovulate (anovulation) or PCOS, acupuncture has also proven effective. Problems with ovulation (or the actual failure to ovulate) connected with FSH imbalances that may suggest "low ovarian reserve" may be treatable, as well as symptoms related to imbalances in progesterone (luteal phase defect) and early-term miscarriage.
Thus, acupuncture can be used to help stimulate egg production and regular ovulation during the first half (ovulatory phase) of the menstrual cycle, as well as provide hormonal balance during the second half (luteal phase). It may also decrease PMS symptoms, regulate irregular cycles and periods, and decrease anxiety, stress, and frustrations.
When should acupuncture treatment begin?
Acupuncture is similar to physical therapy in that it is a process-oriented method of medical intervention. It is better to do more than less. Regulating the period to help track ovulation is one of the key elements to acupuncture and fertility this is usually done within the range of three cycles before progressing to insemination, in vitro fertilization (IVF), or donor-egg transfer. This pacing of treatment seems to have a therapeutic effect.
Infertility and Acupuncture: When should I stop?
Typically most miscarriages occur within the first three months of pregnancy. Consequently, treatment of patients may often last through week twelve to help prevent miscarriage.
Are the acupuncture points different after an insemination, IVF, or donor-egg transfer than before?
Yes they are different best suited to day before, and day after transfer.
What are the risks of using acupuncture with infertility?
There are minimal risks in using acupuncture for fertility treatment. The risk of miscarriage may increase if incorrect acupuncture points are used during pregnancy. This is one reason why those choosing to include acupuncture in their treatment regimen should only be treated by a registered acupuncturist governed by the CTCMABC in accordance with the health professions act of BC. Acupuncture is generally safe regardless of a person’s medical history.
Infertility and Acupuncture: Who makes up typical patients?
Acupuncture can be used to treat any type of fertility disorder including spasmed tubes. Spasmed tubes are often de-spasmed with acupuncture. Acupuncture is often combined with herbal remedies 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 annovulatory cycles, and male factor including men affected with sperm-DNA-fragmentation.
Acupuncture and Ovulation: In cases of female infertility, acupuncture works by helping to regulate reproductive hormones and assist in the maturation of ova (or eggs). While the flow and balance of key hormones like FSH and estrogen is regulated by the brain - by the hypothalamus and pituitary gland - the acupuncture needles themselves are inserted in associated pathways far from these organs.
Luteal phase defect
Progesterone performs a number of reproductive functions: Among, these, it warms the body. It builds the uterine lining for implantation of a fertilized egg. For women who exhibit symptoms of luteal phase defect, menstruation simply takes place sooner than it should (and the cycle phases will not be in balance).
This is why we balance every week throughout the 4 weeks of the cycle, we want to make sure all stages of menstration can support the next step.