Acupuncture for Infertility: Does It Really Work?
- What Is Acupuncture?
- How Does It Help With Fertility?
- Who Can Benefit?
- When to Start Acupuncture Treatment?
- When to Stop Acupuncture Treatment?
- How Does Acupuncture Fertility Treatment Work?
- Are the Acupuncture Points Different After an IVF and Insemination Than Before?
- Is It Recognised by the Medical Community?
- Are There Any Risks of Using Acupuncture for Infertility?
Infertility prevails as a common problem among couples these days who are trying to conceive. The term infertility refers to the inability of a couple to conceive even after regular unprotected intercourse. This can be due to some medical problem with the man or the woman or in some cases both of them. The reasons for infertility are diverse and range from lifestyle to reproductive disorders. Most of these infertility problems are treatable, and there are numerous options available for these couples. These include simple home remedies, drugs, surgery, in-vitro fertilization techniques (IVF) or even surrogacy. Using acupuncture is a new phenomenon which is gaining hype for its alleged power to treat infertility. Let’s understand if this is really true and what the side effects and health risks are.
What Is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is considered a form of medicine in which certain points on the body are stimulated by inserting very fine needles into the skin. It is believed to have originated from Chinese medicinal practices and has been around for over 3000 years. Acupuncture has proved helpful in managing pain in conditions like back pain, neck pain, headaches, knee problems and more. There are over 2000 acupuncture points in the human body. If pressure is applied to those points, it helps maintain the normal flow of energy throughout the body. How beneficial it is for other health conditions it is still unknown. It is a safe practice and involves very few risks when administered by a licensed practitioner. Acupuncture and infertility is a growing concept among young couples with even doctors recommending it as a procedure.
How Does It Help With Fertility?
Nowadays, there are numerous options available for infertile couples but not everyone can afford all these expensive techniques. They all tend to look for affordable solutions and home remedies. Acupuncture methods are one such resort for them. There are various ways in which the practice of acupuncture can address the causes of infertility. Acupuncture to boost fertility works in many ways such as helping to stimulate the endocrine hormones, decrease stress, and increase blood flow to the uterus for a thick lining formation. Acupuncture points for infertility locations range from the face to the lower abdomen.
The treatment required varies from one person it another. It is a personalised healthcare service which may not be the same for any two people. However, it cannot help with problems like tubal adhesion or reproductive organ cancers. Acupuncture for pregnancy is a growing culture in society these days since it is a solution that is minimally invasive.
Who Can Benefit?
Couples who are undergoing the following problems can benefit from acupuncture:
- Endocrine Rectification: The quantity of hormone released is an important parameter for fertility and affects egg and sperm production. Acupuncture combined with herbal therapy can help overcome such hormonal imbalances. Hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, elevated follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), etc., are some problems which can be solved with acupuncture. Women suffering from Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) are also given acupuncture therapy.
- Stress Buster: One of the most well-known problems that acupuncture combats is stress. Lifestyle stress is a common reason for low sperm count or even irregularity with the hormone cycles.
- Cost-Effective: Couples who cannot afford the high-end IVF and other surgeries to improve fertility can benefit from acupuncture sessions.
When to Start Acupuncture Treatment?
Acupuncture is usually given to the patient for a few months (three to four) before progressing into insemination or any other impregnation technique. The therapy is provided depending on the acupuncturist and doctor’s suggestion.
When to Stop Acupuncture Treatment?
The treatment is also carried out during pregnancy. However, once the underlying cause of infertility is corrected with acupuncture, it should be stopped. If the patient has taken the benefit of the acupuncture procedure and is now trying to conceive, it is not recommended during pregnancy.
How Does Acupuncture Fertility Treatment Work?
Acupuncture helps in improving the blood flow to the reproductive organs and helps the uterus form thicker linings. Acupuncture also helps to moderate the neurohormonal pathways to enhance energy flow to the reproductive systems in the body.
Are the Acupuncture Points Different After an IVF and Insemination Than Before?
When the patient is expecting to get pregnant after an insemination or IVF procedure, there are a few acupuncture points that your acupuncturist should avoid. These points are contraindicated and are around the stomach, gallbladder, large intestine and bladder. Hence, it is necessary to keep the acupuncture practitioner updated about your infertility treatment and what stage you are in.
Is It Recognised by the Medical Community?
Doctors understand that stress is an underlying cause of illness which can be cured by acupuncture. The importance of acupuncture is so well recognized that many certified doctors have trained themselves in Oriental medicine to master acupuncture.
Are There Any Risks of Using Acupuncture for Infertility?
As acupuncture is a minimally invasive procedure, the risks are limited. However, incorrect application of the needles could result in a miscarriage in some cases. This is why you must have a trained doctor experienced in Oriental medicine to administer the sessions.
Acupuncture has been practised through the ages. Studies have shown that increased libido and fertility are just some of the many benefits of acupuncture. Many couples have used this form of therapy to help them bear a child with remarkable success.
Also Read: Infertility Treatment – Assisted Reproductive Technology