Acupuncture and Female Infertility

Originating in the Far East, acupuncture has come a long way since its beginnings thousands of years ago. For those who might be a bit unclear about this ancient practice, acupuncture is a therapeutic technique which utilizes fine needles inserted and then manipulated in specific points on the body. The technique is typically used to alleviate several medical conditions or provide pain or stress relief.

In addition to releasing endorphins which inhibit pain and provide a feeling of well-being, acupuncture can regulate blood pressure by stimulating the central nervous system. It releases certain neurohormones and neurotransmitters which help the body heal, and it can be combined with more traditional infertility treatments to correct hormone imbalances.

Acupuncture can help infertility in women several ways. After receiving acupuncture, a woman’s hormone levels are better regulated and her vital organs and endometrium receive increased blood flow, facilitating the formation of a thick, rich uterine lining ideal for an embryo. The functioning of her ovaries and follicles are also improved.

The success rate of in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures may also improve following acupuncture, and more and more fertility specialists are including acupuncture as an integral part of the IVF treatments they administer. It is theorized that more IVF pregnancies result after acupuncture because the embryo implantation process is enhanced.

While blocked fallopian tubes will not be cleared by acupuncture, spasmed tubes sometimes respond. Infertility problems caused by elevated levels of prolactin or follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), unexplained infertility, repeated miscarriages, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and luteal phase defect are often treated by acupuncture in conjunction with herbs.

Because of their therapeutic effects, women trying to get pregnant should consider beginning acupuncture treatments three to four months before having an IVF procedure. These treatments can also continue after the embryo is implanted in the woman’s uterus.

Recent research suggests the most effective fertility treatments combine traditional medical procedures, herbal medicine and acupuncture. A nice additional benefit of acupuncture is the way it can reduce the anxiety, stress and depression caused by fertility treatments and infertility in general. Acupuncture has many benefits and few potential side effects, so women struggling to get pregnant should take advantage of this as well as every other treatment option available. The most significant risk of using acupuncture when treating infertility is the possibility of miscarriage if incorrect needles are used and the woman is already pregnant. This risk makes it essential for acupuncture treatments to be administered by a highly-trained acupuncturist who specializes in fertility disorders.