Acupuncture and Fertility

Acupuncture is a safe, effective, and non-invasive alternative to fertility treatments. Can acupuncture help you overcome your infertility issues?

Fertility issues keep women across the country from having the family of their dreams, and many women are starting a family later in life. Because of these factors, there are now more fertility treatments than ever before. Acupuncture is a safe, non-invasive, and affordable alternative to many traditional fertility treatment procedures.

What is Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a medical treatment involving the use of very thin needles to balance the body’s flow of energy. The needles are inserted at specific points designed to alleviate blockages in the flow of energy or qi. In ancient Chinese medicine, it was believed qi flowed through channels in the body known as meridians. Each Meridian corresponded to specific organs or organ systems.

The Western Interpretation

Most Western acupuncture practitioners believe inserting needles into acupuncture points helps to provide stimulation to nerves, muscles, and connective tissue.

Fertility Problems in the USA

Infertility is generally defined as the inability to conceive a child after one year of trying. Generally speaking, conceiving a child can become increasingly difficult as a woman ages beyond 35 years of age.

Infertility Statistics

Research has shown about 6% of married women between the ages of 15 and 44 years of age struggle to conceive after one year of attempts. Unfortunately, for many of these women, conception is simply the first hurdle. About 12% of women in this age group will have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a baby to term.

Causes of Infertility

For a baby to be conceived multiple processes inside of a woman’s body must occur. If any of the organs involved in these processes struggle to do the job required of them, conception may not occur.

Age

Aging is one of the biggest contributing factors to infertility. Although, it is becoming increasingly common for women to wait until they reach their 30s or 40s to have a child, about 33% of women age 35 and older will experience fertility problems.

Why Age Matters

Each woman has a certain number of eggs in her body. As she ages, her number of eggs begins to diminish. As time marches on, the remaining eggs may not be as healthy. Smoking, excessive drinking, as well as rapid and extreme changes in weight may also reduce the likelihood of conception.

Current Solutions to Fertility

There are a wide variety of treatment options currently available for women living with infertility. Many people have at least heard of in vitro fertilization. This is one of the more extreme measures when it comes to dealing with infertility issues. However, there are medications, a variety of other surgical procedures, and assisted pregnancy options such as surrogates or donors to be considered. Many women will start with medication, as it is the least invasive option.

Available Medications

There are a host of medications available to help women overcome fertility issues. The type of medication your healthcare provider prescribes will depend upon the specific infertility issue you are facing and possibly a few other criteria.

Popular infertility medications include:

Tamoxifen

Metformin

Clomifene

Gonadotrophin

The very nature of medication means it’s a less invasive option than surgery. However, there are still common side effects to be taken into consideration:

Vomiting

Nausea

Headaches

Hot flashes

Surgical Options

As we mentioned above, there are a variety of surgical procedures aimed at helping women overcome infertility. In vitro fertilization, the most widely known approach, involves implanting embryos into the uterus. The healthcare provider will recommend various procedures based on your particular needs and challenges.

Acupuncture As a Solution to Fertility Problems

Acupuncture has been shown to help with a variety of fertility problems such as endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome, fibroids, as well as issues with sperm and ovaries.

Easing Side Effects

Not only can acupuncture help to remedy infertility issues, it can be used to ease the side effects of other infertility treatments. It’s often recommended women start acupuncture three months before they begin additional infertility treatments. However, you may still see benefits if you start acupuncture at the same time as you begin your fertility treatments.

It’s natural to be nervous before your first meeting with your acupuncturist. This is especially true if you’ve never worked with an acupuncture practitioner before. Your first meeting will largely be similar to an initial meeting with a traditional healthcare provider. Your acupuncturist will do a general physical examination along with getting a health history and other basic information.

If you begin treatment on your initial visit, it will most likely be a shorter session anywhere between a half-hour to an hour. One concern most folks have before their first visit with an acupuncturist is the pain of needles being inserted into their body. This is a perfectly normal and rational fear. After all, you were about to have needle strategically inserted into your body. Most people are able to go through an acupuncture treatment with no problems at all. Some experience a dull ache or stinging sensation in the areas where the needles are inserted. Minor bruising of the area may also occur. Rest assured, acupuncture is safe, effective, and most patients experience little more than mild discomfort.

Unlike many traditional medical procedures, there is very little to worry about after an acupuncture session. Acupuncture is designed to bring about relaxation. So it might be a good idea to take a break from highly strenuous activities immediately after treatment.