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FAQ's: Fertility Acupuncture

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How does acupuncture support fertility?
Can acupuncture improve In-vitro fertilization (IVF)?
Can acupuncture help if infertility is due to thin uterine lining?
Can acupuncture help If Infertility is Due to Blocked Fallopian Tube?
Can acupuncture help if infertility is due to poor egg quality?
Can acupuncture help if infertility is due to high FSH?
Can acupuncture help if infertility is due to endometriosis?
Can acupuncture help if infertility is due to ovarian cysts or PCOS?
If I am undergoing IVF, when should I start acupuncture?
What do I do if I am taking Clomid or other medication?
How often should I have treatments for my infertility?
Can acupuncture help those who are trying to conceive naturally?
Can acupuncture help after I become pregnant?
Can acupuncture help for women over 40-year old with infertility?
What else can increase my chances of conception?
When do I start treatment?

Q. How does Acupuncture Support Fertility?

A: Acupuncture support fertility to effect hormones including those that effect fertility; promotes circulation of blood including reproductive organs (ovaries, uterus, testicles) which is important for successful conception; reduce physiological stress by stimulation of endorphins; and enhance energy throughout the body.

Q. Can Acupuncture Improve In-vitro Fertilization (IVF)?

A: Yes. A 2002 German study published in Fertility and Sterility on 160 women undergoing IVF found that 42% percent of those who had acupuncture before and after embryo transfer became pregnant versus 26% in a control group, a nearly 8O% improvement.

Q. Can Acupuncture Help If Infertility is Due to Thin Uterine Lining?

A: Yes. Acupuncture is extremely effective in preparing the uterus for pregnancy. The success in treating infertility arises from the techniques for increasing blood flow and nutrients to the uterus and balancing hormone levels. These treatments benefit not only those who suffer from a thin uterine lining, but every woman who is trying to become pregnant.

Q. Can Acupuncture Help If Infertility is Due to Blocked Fallopian Tube?

A: The answer depends on the cause of the blockage. If the blockage is due to chronic inflammation or scarring from infection, then acupuncture treatment may take several months or even years to be effective. On the other hand, if there is no physical blockage of the tube, but rather a decreased tube diameter due to stress or cramping, then acupuncture will have a much better and faster effect.

Q. Can Acupuncture Help If Infertility is Due to Poor Egg Quality?

A: Yes. There are many cases of infertility that were caused primarily by poor egg quality. These patients often have other signs of poor circulation, such as cold extremities and low energy. In these cases, the root cause of the poor egg quality is most often due to decreased circulation to the uterus and the ovaries. If that is the case, treatment will be focused on increasing blood flow and nutrients to this area. Western studies have shown that acupuncture can significantly alter blood flow to the uterus.

Q. Can Acupuncture Help If Infertility is Due to High FSH?

A: Yes. There are many causes of high FSH, but it is often falsely attributed to old age and written off as a natural decline of ovarian function. Many women suffering from high FSH may also have one or more of the following symptoms: 1) poor circulation (cold hands and feet), 2) neurological disorders, and 3) endocrine disorders. If poor circulation is the cause, treatments will be aimed at improving blood flow and nutrients to the uterus and ovaries, as Western studies have shown that acupuncture can significantly alter blood flow to the uterus and regulate hormone levels; If a neurological disorder is the cause, treatments will be aimed at improving neurological function. And lastly, if an endocrine problem is the root cause of the infertility, treatments will be directed towards improving endocrine function.

Q. Can Acupuncture Help If Infertility is Due to Endometriosis?

A: Yes. Endometriosis causes infertility because of endometrium-like tissue growth on the ovaries and its connecting ligaments and blood vessels. Not only does this restrict blood flow to the reproductive organs, but it can also cause immense pain and discomfort. The treatments will thus be directed at 1) reversing the root cause of the endometriosis 2) improving blood flow to the ovaries and 3) reducing any associated pain and discomfort.

Q. Can Acupuncture Help if Infertility is Due to Ovarian Cysts or PCOS?

A: Ovarian cysts can arise when there is a hormonal imbalance that disrupts the normal female menstrual cycle, leaving an un-ruptured egg inside the ovary, which can then grow to become a cyst. The majority of ovarian cysts are benign and do not cause any symptoms. However, when they do become enlarged and multiply, a condition called PCOS, they can interrupt the normal functioning of the ovaries.

For women who have benign cysts, we recommend receiving acupuncture treatment to reduce the chances of developing further complications. For women who are already diagnosed with PCOS and PCOS-related infertility, we can help by treating the root cause of the PCOS. Treatments will be focused on balancing and regulating important hormones related to PCOS. We have also noticed that many of our patients who suffer from PCOS also have back/spine related problems, and hence, our treatment will focus on improving spine and back function. Once these problems are addressed, we will focus on re-establishing and increasing blood flow and nutrients to the uterus and ovaries. Patients will observe more regular menstruation, less pain, and increased fertility.

Acupuncture is also extremely useful for reducing the pains and discomforts associated with PCOS and the side effects from drugs used to treat it.

Q. If I am Undergoing IVF, When Should I Start Acupuncture?

A: If this is your first IVF cycle, you should start at least a month before embryo transfer. With one or two sessions per week, we can help you prepare your body for pregnancy. However, if your previous IVF cycles have failed, you must come in as early as possible before undergoing another cycle. In most of our patients who have experienced failed cycles, there is a major disorder in the body that needs to be treated before they can successfully conceive.

Q. What Do I Do If I am Taking Clomid or Other Medication?

A: Your doctor prescribed you medication for a reason. Many infertility drugs are given to alter hormone levels to induce productive ovulation. We do not hold negative opinions on Western medicines. In fact, we believe the right combination of acupuncture and medication can achieve results that either alone cannot match. To that end, we will always adjust our treatment to complement the drugs / injections that you are currently taking. It’s believed that this can greatly increase the effectiveness of the drugs while decreasing their side-effects.

Q. How Often Should I Have Treatments for My Infertility?

A: This is a frequently asked question, but there is no umbrella answer. The length, frequency, and effectiveness of acupuncture treatment for infertility depend heavily on the patient's specific disorder, lifestyle, and overall health. We do understand most of our patients live busy lives and will help you create a schedule based around your menstrual cycle that will optimize the effectiveness of your treatments.

Q. Can Acupuncture Help Those Who are Trying to Conceive Naturally?

A: Yes, Acupuncture is just as effective for women who are trying to conceive naturally. The reason why there is a relatively small amount of literature for natural conception is because IVF clinical trials are easier control and run.

Q. Can Acupuncture Help After I Become Pregnant?

A: Yes. Acupuncture can help decrease the chances of miscarriage, help you better your overall health, and prevent postpartum depression.

Q. Can Acupuncture Help for Women Over 40-Year Old with Infertility?

A: Many patients who successfully had babies were over 40. Acupuncture can help with many of the effects aging can have on a woman's reproductive system. However, acupuncture cannot help if a woman has already reached menopause.

Q. What Else Can Increase My Chances of Conception?

A: Based on your specific condition, your doctor will make recommendations for how you can proactively increase your chances of conception.

Q. When Do I Start Treatment?

A: Every woman is different. If using acupuncture and herbs alone, it can take 3 to 6 months to normalize the menstrual cycle. If you are undergoing assisted reproductive treatments it is ideal to begin acupuncture once that decision has been made.

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