Both acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are well known for improving fertility for both men and women. In fact, more and more scientific studies are being conducted, proving its effectiveness. Chinese medicine creates the ability to customized a plan to enhance fertility, while being mindful of where Western medicine would be useful as well.
Acupuncture and Chinese herbal formulas address many types of amenorrhea or a lack of a menstrual period. These include exercise-induced amenorrhea, PCOS, hormonal insufficiencies, as well as and some types of imbalances with the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis. Chinese medicine provide customized acupuncture treatments and herbal formulas based on each specific case to help the ovaries begin to ovulate and the cycles to become regular. With suggestions on dietary and lifestyle changes to help support your treatments.
DECREASED OVARIAN RESERVE
As women age, the ovarian reserves or capacity of the ovary to produce viable eggs naturally decreases. In some women, this happens prematurely, and in other women, the right time to attempt to conceive has come later in life and so a decrease in reserve can pose a problem with fertility. In both cases, recent studies are showing that acupuncture and Chinese herbs can help these women achieve a pregnancy.
As women approach menopause, the hormones regulating the menstrual cycle begin to change. Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) is a hormone released from the pituitary that tells the ovaries to start preparing an egg to ovulate each cycle. It can become elevated as we age and higher levels are associated with decreased fertility. FSH levels fluctuate each cycle and can respond very well to treatments with acupuncture and Chinese medicine. Most fertility clinics require FSH to be within a certain range in order to proceed with an IVF, so regulating this hormone can be very important for fertility and the success of treatments like IVF.
Chinese medicine has been shown in studies to help regulate the immune system. In cases of autoimmune disorders and immunological fertility factors, acupuncture and specific Chinese herbs, often in combination with dietary and lifestyle changes, can help calm an overactive immune system, promoting a term pregnancy.
Many women experience periods that come irregularly each month, which can make trying to conceive difficult. Irregular menses can be due to an imbalance in hormone fluctuations throughout the month. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs are useful in assisting the body balancing the hormones and encouraging a more predictable ovulation, which helps regulate the menstrual cycle.
Good clinical research has demonstrated the effectiveness of acupuncture used in conjunction with IVF demonstrating up to a 50 percent increase in success rate with acupuncture vs. without. Acupuncture works to improve success rates of these interventions by increasing blood flow to the ovaries during the stimulation phase of IVF, It also relaxes the uterus and addresses uterine spasm after embryo transfer. Acupuncture also reduces stress, calms anxiety , and help to offsets side effects of the fertility drugs.
During an IUI cycle, acupuncture can help increase conception rates by improving blood flow to the uterus and ovaries, assisting in the development of follicles and the uterine lining. Acupuncture also helps to address uterine spasm around the time of potential implantation and can help treat side effects that arise from the fertility drugs.
LUTEAL PHASE DEFECT
When the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle (the phase after ovulation until the menses or a pregnancy is achieved) is shorter than ten days, it is diagnosed as luteal phase defect. Women with this condition often experience difficulty conceiving and may have low levels of the hormone progesterone. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can help support the ovarian function, improve progesterone levels and lengthen the luteal phase.
MALE FACTOR INFERTILITY
Male factor infertility accounts for 40% of couples struggling to conceive. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs have been shown in recent studies to help improve sperm count, motility, and morphology, as well as correcting some immune factors such as anti-sperm antibodies that can interfere with conception. Treatments that affect sperm quality in both Chinese medicine and Western medicine can take a minimum of 3-4 months, so it’s best to start as soon as possible.
Acupuncture is also beneficial for balancing hormones, which eases this transition.
About 50% of women who are menstruating experience cramping and pain during their periods, while about 10% of them have debilitating pain., even when that is not the focus of treatment. One often see changes in the severity of menstrual cramping within one to three months of regular acupuncture, Chinese herbs, and appropriate dietary changes.
Premenstrual symptoms are very responsive to treatment with acupuncture and Chinese herbs. Headaches, cramping, breast tenderness, bloating, moodiness, acne, insomnia, and changes in bowel movements can all be resolved with regular treatments. In combination with specific dietary changes, most women see an improvement in their PMS symptoms within one to three cycles.
pregnant ladies to continue acupuncture treatments into their pregnancies.
STRESS RELATED HORMONE IMBALANCE
The modern diet and stress-filled lifestyles we often lead can wreck havoc on our hormones in multiple ways. Stress hormones communicate can lead to a cascade of signaling in our bodies, causing blood to divert away from organs like the digestive and reproductive systems. Since many hormones are dependent upon one another to remain balanced, over time, excess levels of stress can lead to imbalances in the reproductive hormones, potentially affecting fertility. Acupuncture has been shown to increase blood flow to the reproductive organs and in conjunction with Chinese herbs can work to regain hormonal balance of the entire body.
A diagnosis of unexplained infertility can be one of the most difficult to receive. One of the many strengths of Chinese medicine is the emphasis on the menstrual cycle health and its ability to make subtle changes to the cycle that can improve fertility, even when no issues can be found with medical testing. Chinese medicine is renowned for it’s treatment of infertility. working with the full spectrum of fertility patients from those just planning to start trying to conceive to patients coming in for help after several failed IVFs or miscarriages.