Can acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine be used to treat infertility?
Acupuncture has been used for centuries to treat some causes of infertility. Sometimes we combine it with herbal therapy. Traditional Chinese medicine ventures to stimulate the body’s natural healing potential by treating root causes rather than just symptoms. An individual could benefit from acupuncture and herbs because of the potential effect of improved ovarian and follicular function. Acupuncture can increase blood flow to the endometrium, helping to facilitate a thick, rich lining.
When should I start fertility acupuncture treatment?
Patients are commonly treated for three to four months before an insemination, in vitro fertilization (IVF), or donor-egg transfer. This period of treatment seems to have a therapeutic effect. Timing and consistency is also important for women as there are specific hormonal adjustments that can be made at each week of the cycle. Missing a week of treatment may lose an important opportunity to heal a particular segment of the four phase menstrual cycle. It takes a minimum of three consecutive cycles (12 treatments) to do the foundation work of regulation regardless of biological age. Most women can benefit from this type of concentrated foundational treatment every two years, even if they aren't trying to conceive. This should be started before a woman reaches 28 years old or earlier if birth control pills have been taken.
Studies suggest that the most effective fertility treatments involve a combination of acupuncture, herbal medicine, and traditional medical interventions. However, conception does sometimes occur when acupuncture and herbal medicines are used without traditional medical interventions.
When should I stop getting acupuncture?
If the patient is concerned with miscarrying, most miscarriages occur within the first three months of pregnancy. Therefore, treatment of patients may often last through week twelve to help prevent miscarriage. Many patients continue with treatment not only to treat some of the undesirable symptoms associated with pregnancy but to offer the baby and the mother the best start to life.
What are the risks of using acupuncture?
There are minimal risks when using acupuncture for fertility treatment. Women wishing to include acupuncture in their treatment regimen should only be treated by an acupuncturist who specializes in treating fertility disorders.