How Can Acupuncture Help People Battling Infertility?
Acupuncture has proven to be efficient in helping to treat many different diseases and conditions. Infertility is a very common condition that acupuncturists often treat patients for. According to the NIH, men and women equally account for one-third each of being the cause of infertility issues in couples.
Acupuncture is an efficient method of treating infertility because it is cost-effective with minimal side effects. As more research studies come out proving the efficacy of acupuncture, the more people are trying it to help their current conditions. Acupuncture treatments have been known to help increase blood flow to the reproductive organs, balance the hormones, and relieve stress.
If a patient is currently receiving IVF treatments, their doctor should reach out to an acupuncturist to help increase the chances of the patient getting pregnant. Because acupuncture treats our body as a whole, the body will function better after receiving these acupuncture treatments, which may help patients go from infertile to fertile. Acupuncturists and the doctor treating with the IVF treatments should both be in contact about what is the best treatment option available.
Which Acupoints are Used for Infertility Treatments?
SP6 (Sanyinjiao): This acupoint is known for alleviating pain caused by menstrual cramps, along with improving women’s health
CV6 (Qihai): This acupoint is important as it nourishes the body, which makes it a pretty powerful acupoint. It is also known to help strengthen the function of menstruation, digestion, and fertility.
CV4 (Guanyuan): Very helpful in tonifying the Prenatal Qi, helping with deficiencies of Yin, Yang, & Blood, and also helps with infertility.
CV3 (Zhongji): This is helpful in the treatment of infertility for women who are dealing with fibroids.
CV12 (Zhongwan): This acupoint helps with infertility treatments because it is used for insomnia, anxiety, stress—all things that could make it harder for a woman to get pregnant.
SP10 (Xuehai): This acupoint aids in treating gynecological issues, along with genital issues.
ST36 (Zusanli): This acupoint helps with PMS, depression, anxiety, nervousness, and insomnia.
What Chinese Medicine Herbs That Are Used to Help Treat Infertility?
Cinnamon: This herb is useful in aiding in the treatment of infertility because it helps to warm and nourish yang energy, which is essential for fertility. Cinnamon is also efficient in helping to balance out blood sugar levels, along with insulin resistance.
Garlic: Garlic is great at promoting blood circulation, which is important in keeping your organs adequately running, especially your ovaries and uterus. Not only can this help women, but men can use garlic as well because blow flow is necessary for men to achieve an erection.
Ginger: This herb is helpful because it is high in antioxidants, which helps to protect your eggs and ovaries from oxidative damage and stress. Ginger, just like garlic, also promotes blood flow.
Chasteberry: This herb is known to help raise progesterone levels, along with lengthening cycles.
Maca: Maca is known to boost testosterone levels, support healthy ovulation, increase sperm production, and erectile dysfunction.
Tribulus: Tribulus is efficient in increasing sperm count, sperm motility, viability, along with decreasing sperm antibodies and stimulating ovulation.
What are the Causes of Female Infertility?
PCOS: PCOS is a hormonal imbalance that causes problems with women’s normal ovulation. This causes problems with the eggs being released, which prevents pregnancy.
Age: The older we get, the less likely we are to get pregnant. The body is prepared in our 20’s to become pregnant, but once we hit 30 it becomes harder. As we get older, our eggs are also more likely to carry abnormalities such as down syndrome. The risk of miscarriage is also higher at this stage in life.
Endometriosis: In endometriosis, the tissue lining begins to grow everywhere that it isn’t supposed to such as in the fallopian tubes, in the pelvis, in the ovaries, etc. This causes scar tissue which can block women’s fallopian tubes, cause inflammation, and also impact the quality of the egg.
Weight: Being underweight or overweight are both unhealthy body weights that can put you at an increased risk of infertility problems, along with miscarriage. Most women who make healthier choices and properly fix their weight issues, usually go on to conceive afterwards.
Tubal Issues: If a woman’s fallopian tubes are blocked or have any damage, this will prevent the sperm from reaching the egg and being able to fertilize the egg. It is possible for women to have surgery which will open up the tubes.
Fibroids: Fibroids are masses of muscular tissue that are found within the wall of the uterus. These make it hard for the embryo to become implanted, along with causing infertility and miscarriage.
What are the Causes of Male Infertility?
Abnormal Sperm Morphology: This is when the sperm has a large or misshapen head or a crooked or double tail, which causes problems with the sperm reaching and penetrating the egg.
Problems with Delivery of Sperm: Cystic fibrosis, blockage in a man’s testicle, damage to their reproductive parts, and premature ejaculation are all issues related to the delivery of the sperm that could cause a male to have infertility issues.
Overexposure to Environmental Factors: Smoking, alcohol, medications, exposure to excess heat, and pesticides all affect fertility.
Cancer Related Damage: Cancer treatments, such as radiation and chemotherapy, can affect sperm production.
In a 2009 research study, researchers sought to determine if acupuncture was efficient in helping men with severe oligoasthenozoospermia. Researchers took fifty-seven men and split them into two groups. Twenty-eight men were treated with acupuncture and twenty-nine men were treated with placebo acupuncture. The acupuncture points SP6, BL23, Ren 4, ST29, SP10, LIV3, and ST 36 were used in the acupuncture group. Sperm motility, sperm concentration, and semen volume was measured before and after treatments. The results of the research study showed that the acupuncture treatment group had better results in increased motility and semen volume compared to the placebo acupuncture group. There was not much of a difference between the sperm concentration between the two groups. These results prove that acupuncture can be a great treatment option for men dealing with oligoasthenozoospermia.
Has Acupuncture Been Proven to Be Efficient in Treating Acupuncture?
In this 2009 research study, researchers sought to determine if auricular acupuncture would be efficient in treating female infertility. They took forty-five women who were either suffering from oligoamenorrhea or luteal insufficiency. They were separated into two groups: one group received auricular acupuncture and the other received hormone treatments. Researchers took information, such as age, the duration of their infertility, BMI, previous pregnancies, menstrual cycle, and tubal patency, in both groups. In the auricular acupuncture group, 22 of the women went on to become pregnant. From the hormone group, 20 women went on to become pregnant. While there was not much of a difference between the two groups, this does show that auricular acupuncture may be a helpful treatment for achieving pregnancy.
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