Female Infertility Infertility is defined as trying to get pregnant with frequent intercourse for at least a year with no success. Female infertility, male infertility or a combination of the two affects millions of couples in the United States. An estimated 15% of couples have trouble getting pregnant or getting to a successful delivery. Infertility is the result of female factors in approximately 1/3 of cases, and is also the result of the male in 1/3 of cases, the other 1/3 is either a combination or unknown.
Causes of Female Infertility There are many causes of infertility. Ovulation disorders are frequently the cause of infertility; an estimated 25% of infertile couples are caused by this. Ovulation disorders mean you may ovulate irregularly or not ovulate at all. These can be caused by flaws in the regulation of reproductive hormones by the hypothalamus or the pituitary gland, or by problems in the ovary itself. Some common conditions that fall under ovulation disorders are PCOS, hypothalamic dysfunction, premature ovarian insufficiency, excessive prolactin. Damage to fallopian tubes also known as tubal infertility, can be caused by pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), previous surgery on the pelvis or nearby areas, or pelvic tuberculosis.Endometriosis is when tissue that is supposed to only be in the uterus grows in other locations. This extra tissue growth can cause scarring, and so can the surgery to remove it. Uterine or cervical causes can impact fertility by interfering with implantation or increasing the likelihood of a miscarriage. These include fibroids, polyps, uterine abnormalities present from birth, cervical stenosis, and mucus problems in the cervix. Lastly, there are many cases of unexplained infertility, where the cause for infertility is never found. At Dr. Chen’s Acupuncture P.C., we use our knowledge of both traditional eastern medicine and western biomedicine to determine the best treatments for each individual.
Acupuncture for Infertility Acupuncture and herbal medicine have been used for centuries to treat infertility. There are many explanations on how and why acupuncture works to treat infertility. Acupuncture calms the nervous system, and may improve ovulation by modulating the central and peripheral nervous systems, the neuroendocrine and endocrine systems. It improves blood flow through the pelvic/ovarian region, and has been shown to improve pregnancy rates when used in conjunction with IVF. Acupuncture has been shown in clinical trials to increase blood flow to the endometrium to help create a thick and rich lining to support fertility. Acupuncture also reduces depression, anxiety and stress; all of these negative emotional states can lead to infertility problems. In men, stress can decrease sperm count, motility, and cause impotence, See our article on male infertility here.
The World Health Organization and the National Institute of Health recognize acupuncture as safe and effective in the treatment of numerous conditions when it is administered by a well-trained professional. Recent studies have shown that acupuncture is effective in increasing fertility rates, especially when used synergistically with IVF. In a 2002 study by German researchers, acupuncture was shown to significantly increase the odds of pregnancy among a group of 160 women who were undergoing IVF treatment: 42% of the women who received acupuncture got pregnant, compared to 26% of those who didn't receive the acupuncture treatment. The researchers speculated that acupuncture helped increase blood flow to the uterus and relax the muscle tissue, giving the embryos a better chance of implanting. A recent study from Tel Aviv University reports that 65% of women receiving both biomedical and oriental medicine treatments were able to conceive, compared to the group that only received biomedical treatments.
The effects of acupuncture work together cumulatively to help increase fertility, because of this it is better to receive acupuncture frequently. A cycle of acupuncture for pregnancy is typically twice a week for 3 months, this is the most common treatment frequency used in clinical trials, both when combined with or without IVF. It is common for women to do two 3-month cycles of acupuncture before expecting results, however our center has had some women react incredibly well to acupuncture and get pregnant within one month after years of unexplained infertility. If you are planning on using insemination, in vitro fertilization (IVF), or donor-egg transfer, patients are commonly treated for three to four months before these biomedical interventions. This time structure of treatment has the best therapeutic effect.
6 Important Steps to Take While the fertility drugs commonly prescribed for women can produce a 20-60% pregnancy rate, they usually come with side effects, such as abdominal tenderness, bloating, fluid retention, weight gain, nausea, and possibly increase the chance of breast cancer. Acupuncture for treatment of infertility produces very few or no side effects and has many of the same benefits of western fertility drugs.
Contact a fertility specialist who has studied reproductive endocrinology and infertility. It is important that your Medical Doctor has knowledge of the all the options available to help you with infertility, including acupuncture.
Look for an acupuncturist with experience in treating female infertility, and up-to-date knowledge on the latest biomedical treatments for infertility.
Stop smoking: Smoking damages your cervix and fallopian tubes and increases your risk of miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy. It may also age your ovaries and deplete your eggs prematurely.
Get healthy: being overweight or underweight can have a negative effect on ovulation. Calculate your BMI here: BMI
Reduce your alcohol intake: high alcohol consumption is associated with an increased risk of ovulation disorders and endometriosis.
Relax: stress has a negative effect on the body, and can impact your hormones to decrease fertility. Take a walk through nature or a few deep breaths and visualize a beautiful sunny day on the beach when you are feeling stressed out.
What Can We Do For You? New York Acupuncture and Chiropractic has 3 convenient locations in New York City and 1 location in Englewood, NJ. Our acupuncturists can help you increase your chances of a successful pregnancy. We focus a large part of Manhattan and New Jersey locations on treating infertility conditions, and have many testimonials to the effectiveness of our center’s treatments. The acupuncturists at all of our convenient NYC and NJ locations are dedicated to helping you fulfill you dreams of motherhood. Our compassionate team strives to prepare your body for a healthy and safe pregnancy. Give us a call and schedule an appointment to find out how we can help you: 212-293-1722.