Acupuncture has gained a lot of press over the past decade for its role in helping couples conceive. A well known study has shown that acupuncture before and after an IVF transfer dramatically increases the success rate. However acupuncture can be used for much more than just support for IVF. At Integrative Wellness we help a couple not only conceive which is the singular goal of ART, but we want women to have a healthy pregnancy and create healthy babies.
Often a couple cannot conceive because there is an underlying physiological imbalance. These imbalances may be adrenal issues, autoimmune related, hormonal feedback imbalances, uncontrolled stress among many others. By correcting the underlying imbalance with acupuncture, herbs, functional nutrition, and/or shiatsu we not only help a women get pregnant but also greatly increase the likelihood of a healthier pregnancy, postpartum and offspring.
What infertility conditions can you successfully treat?
- Thin Uterine Lining - Click here to read Acupuncture can help increase blood flow to the uterus and help with implantation.
- Poor Egg Quality - This is especially true if you have a regular cycle. Click here to read about improving poor egg quality.
- Recurring Miscarriages – Chinese Medicine has 2000 years of written history of miscarriage prevention. Miscarriages from chromosomal defects can be corrected with a 3-4 month course of treatment before TTC again. Miscarriages due to progesterone deficiency often show up as menstrual irregularities and are often corrected with acupuncture and herbs. Click here to read about recurring miscarriages and what can be done to prevent future occurrences.
- Elevated FSH – Sometimes this is identified as low ovarian reserve. Similarly to poor egg quality from a Chinese Medicine perspective we aren’t concerned about the diagnosis. FSH is not a problem, but more of a symptom of a problem. If there is a regular menstrual cycle this is an excellent prognosis.
- PCOS, Amenorrhea or Anovulatory cycles – First we need to bring the cycle into balance. As long as there has been non-medicated cycles with regularity Chinese medicine can often correct these hormonal imbalances. The Western approach for PCOS is to use Clomid or gonadatropins (Follistim, Gonadal-F) to stimulate follicle development, however for some women this can cause more imbalances. However Chinese medicine is a much better approach because women with untreated PCOS have a much higher risk of miscarriage. Chinese medicine can help correct the hormonal imbalance of high androgen production that goes along with PCOS which then allows Western ART methods to be used more safely. Click here to read about Chinese Medicine and PCOS.
- Unexplained Infertility - Most women often have regular cycles and the men have ‘normal’ sperm analysis with “Unexplained Infertility”. The word ‘idiopathy’ or ‘unexplained’ are not used in Chinese Medicine. There are Chinese medicine pathologies in these cases that are sub-clinical in Western diagnostic capabilities. Acupuncture, herbal medicine and nutrition can unequivocally enhance outcomes in these cases.
What conditions require Western Medical Intervention along with Complementary Medicine?
- Pelvic adhesions – Endometrial adhesion on the tubes sometimes require surgery to remove them. Polyps sometimes need to be removed surgically. Also hydrosalpinx which is a fluid filled tube is best treated with Western Medicine. However in any pelvic adhesion Western medicine will not address the underlying inflammatory metabolic imbalance. Therefore it is important to use acupuncture, herbs and/or nutrition to balance the body to prevent future adhesions from forming.
- Advanced Maternal Age - The idea of advanced maternal age is a conglomeration of myth and reality. This needs to be looked at on an individual basis rather than just a cut-off of 35 years. Just because a women is say 43 doesn’t mean they cannot conceive and need a donor egg. A donor egg is certainly the fastest way with a 65-70% success rate, however Chinese Medicine and nutrition along with ART can go a long way to help a women conceive with her own eggs.
- Late Menarche w/Lack of Natural Cycles & Amenorrhea – If a woman cannot have a cycle without birth control it is best to use Western ART technology. However Chinese Medicine and nutritional intervention should be used to support IVF.
- Other less common conditions: Severe fibroids impinging the uterus or ovaries; Congenital abnormalities such as a bicornuate uterus; Antiphospholipid antibodies; Repeated chromosomal abnormalities not responding to complementary medicine require specialized IVF; Women with a history of thrombophilias should use both Western care for monitoring and complementary care for treatment;
Environmental factors can also play a role in infertility. But I also believe that environmental factors play a role in a large percentage of our modern diseases. Here is a great website regarding environmental issues and fertility: http://www.chem-tox.com/infertility/.
If you have any questions call the office 978-461-2001 and we will be happy to meet with you for a free consult about your specific fertility challenges.