Acupuncture - a Compliment to Fertility Treatment
The causes of infertility are many and affected by conditions within the body's physical condition and by elements to which we subject our bodies (e.g. diet and exercise). Therefore, it is important to understand the causes of the infertile condition and take steps to ensure the best possible outcome.
When undergoing Western methods of treatment for the causes of infertility in women and men, some patients may consider alternative options to compliment traditional treatment.
Although the available Western literature and research is inconclusive as to the benefit acupuncture treatment has on the outcome of traditional fertility treatments, many people believe that the use of acupuncture can improve the body's state to make it more conditioned to achieving pregnancy. Acupuncture is believed to improve the endometrial lining by increasing the blood flow to the uterus and lessening the chances of uterine contractions. Reducing the contractions along with the increase in blood flow may provide the elements to an improved uterine environment. It is also believed that acupuncture can improve circulation to other vital organs throughout the body improving function of all organs including the ovaries. It is also believed that acupuncture therapy can contribute to a reduction in stress levels and help return hormones to normal levels.
In men, acupuncture is used to improve hormonal balances and improve blood flow throughout the body and specifically the pelvic region. It is believed that these two improvements may have a positive effect on the sperm count produced by the testicles. Even though the literature and research are mixed on the effect of acupuncture on pregnancy rates in women undergoing fertility treatment, one thing is sure…that acupuncture is safe for women undergoing fertility treatment.
When seeking the services of an acupuncturist to assist in your journey to achieve pregnancy through fertility treatments, you should ensure that you do your research. Just like Western physicians are trained in specialties in medicine, so are acupuncturists. We encourage you to seek services from an acupuncturist who is certified and specialty trained in the treatment of infertility. Since it is important for you to choose an acupuncturist who will complement traditional treatment and work with your physician, you should also consider asking your acupuncturist for a reference from a reproductive endocrinologist. Likewise, you should ask your reproductive endocrinologist or nurse for a referral to an acupuncturist in your area.
Finally, when considering using acupuncture, or any other alternative modality, as a complement to your fertility treatment, be sure to discuss it with your reproductive endocrinologist first. Although acupuncture may have positive effects on blood flow and hormonal imbalances, acupuncture cannot fix structural defects such as uterine abnormalities or azoospermia, so it is important you discuss alternative treatments with your physician to ensure you are not wasting valuable time and money. Similarly, if you are undergoing acupuncture for your infertility and have not yet been evaluated or had your partner evaluated by a reproductive endocrinologist, we encourage you to schedule an appointment as soon as possible to ensure that the cause of your infertility isn't something that cannot be treated through acupuncture.