Acupuncture for Fertility
Published on June 11, 2022
by Belle Kuhn

Acupuncture for Fertility

Published on June 11, 2022 by Belle Kuhn

There are many reasons why you’re not seeing that Positive month after month. Anything from hormone imbalances to a blocked tube can be inhibiting conception. Once we identify the underlying cause of the infertility, we can begin to rectify it.

Having Trouble Conceiving?

Things to consider when TTC with no luck:

Fallopian tube blockage

One of the first things we want to rule out is the blockage of one or both tubes. If your tubes are blocked, no amount of acupuncture, supplements or lifestyle adjustments is going to help. You can identify this with an HSG (Hysterosalpingogram). This is a procedure that uses an X-ray to look at your fallopian tubes and uterus. They use a liquid iodine substance to fill the tubes to see what’s going on. If there is a blockage, sometimes the procedure itself will open the tube! It usually takes less than 5 minutes and you can go home the same day.

Hormonal Imbalances

Healthy reproductive function is a delicate balance of hormones all working together. When they’re able to do their job properly, the stars align and conception can take place. You may have a hormone imbalance if you have irregular periods, painful periods, endometriosis, PCOS, or no period (amenorrhea). This is easy to determine by getting your bloodwork done with your gyno or performing an at-home hormone panel like the DUTCH test that we use at Amaluna. For more information on this or to get hormones checked, you can schedule a functional medicine consultation here

Sperm Count & Quality

It should never be assumed that there’s an issue with the woman. Up to 40% of the time it’s the men! There can be a low sperm count, low motility (movement), low morphology (shape), or a varicocele in the testes (an enlarged vein in the scrotum). A semen analysis can be ordered by a PCP or a gynecologist. A varicocele diagnosis can be performed with self-examination or at a routine urologist appointment. 

Age (Men too)

If you’re under 35 and have been TTC for 1 year, or are over 35 and have been trying for 6 months, it may be time to seek help. For men, sperm quality starts to decrease around 40-45 years of age. 

Uterine Lining

The uterus needs a thick plush lining for secure implantation to occur. This can be measured at your gyno with an ultrasound. The ideal thickness for a proper lining is at least 7-8mm. You may have a thin lining if you’re bleeding less than 3 full days and/or not needing a tampon/pad change every 3-4 hours.

Thyroid Testing

Low thyroid levels can interfere with ovulation. In addition, some of the underlying causes of hypothyroidism, such as certain autoimmune or pituitary disorders, may impair fertility.

Stress Level

We’ve all heard of women being told, “Just RELAX and it will happen.” As irritating as this sounds, it has some validity. Stress can interrupt all aspects of body function including hormones. The longer the TTC journey, the higher that stress and pressure get elevated. It’s important to have a positive mindset and a quality support system at this time.

There’s Hope Yet

Any of these can contribute to trouble conceiving or maintaining a pregnancy. The good news is, there’s hope! Acupuncture and Chinese medicine have been gaining notoriety for their ability to help enhance multiple aspects of fertility. 

Whether you’re trying naturally or getting assistance through IVF or IUI, acupuncture can increase success rates. If you’re on hormone therapy like Clomid or Letrozole, it can help alleviate negative side effects. 

Chinese herbal medicine can help regulate hormone function and resolve underlying issues of infertility.

Reproductive Health Benefits of Acupuncture

Acupuncture has been shown to help in these areas:

  • Enhanced ovarian function
  • Increased egg quality
  • Lining support
  • Hormone regulation
  • Improved PCOS symptoms
  • Increased sperm count and quality
  • Increased success of IUI’s and FET’s
  • Thyroid regulation
  • Stress relief

References

  1. Yun L, Liqun W, Shuqi Y, Chunxiao W, Liming L, Wei Y. Acupuncture for infertile women without undergoing assisted reproductive techniques (ART): A systematic review and meta-analysis. Medicine (Baltimore). 2019 Jul;98(29):e16463. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000016463. PMID: 31335705; PMCID: PMC6709164. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31335705/
  2. Xie ZY, Peng ZH, Yao B, Chen L, Mu YY, Cheng J, Li Q, Luo X, Yang PY, Xia YB. The effects of acupuncture on pregnancy outcomes of in vitro fertilization: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2019 Jun 14;19(1):131. doi: 10.1186/s12906-019-2523-7. PMID: 31200701; PMCID: PMC6570865. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31200701/
  3. Guven PG, Cayir Y, Borekci B. Effectiveness of acupuncture on pregnancy success rates for women undergoing in vitro fertilization: A randomized controlled trial. Taiwan J Obstet Gynecol. 2020 Mar;59(2):282-286. doi: 10.1016/j.tjog.2020.01.018. PMID: 32127151. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32127151/

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