(Please visit http://vailfertility.com for more fertility information.)
At one time, infertility was considered a “female problem”. We now know that males contribute up to 47% of the cases of infertility within a couple. It is also much more common than previously thought, occurring in approximately 11% of all couples at some time during their reproductive lives.
Infertility – in women under age 35 – is defined as an inability to conceive after one year of unprotected sex or the inability to carry a pregnancy to term. For women over age 35, the time frame is shortened to 6 months. Many factors may contribute to this often vexing problem; stress, poor diet, environmental pollution, age, family history, hormonal or endocrine imbalances are a few.
This has become a common complaint as fertility rates appear to be declining in the industrialized nations of the world.
How Acupuncture & Chinese herbal medicine enhance fertility:
• Regulates the menstrual cycle
• Regulates hormones by reducing stress
• Improves blood flow to the ovaries & uterus
• Improves ovarian function – encourages production of follicles & enhances their quality
• Improves the thickness of the uterine wall lining
• Reduces uterine contractions after embryo transfer
• Reduces the chance of miscarriage
• Lessens the side effects of pharmaceuticals
• Enhances the immune system
• Improves sperm parameters (at least 3 months of treatment)
• Improves quality of oocytes (at least 3 months of treatment)
Treating infertility in both women and men – with acupuncture and herbal medicines – has been effectively used for thousands of years. Historically, Chinese Medicine was used to keep the emperor healthy so that he could live to the age of 100 and father many children. This ancient knowledge has given us many effective treatments with both acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine for women and men trying to conceive. Chinese medicine can be used alone to achieve conception and a full term pregnancy and it can also be used in conjunction with conventional fertility treatments.
People who are trying to get pregnant for the first time, have had previous miscarriage(s), as well as those having trouble getting pregnant benefit from acupuncture and Chinese herbal treatment.
Acupuncture treats fertility issues by creating a balanced flow of Qi and blood throughout the whole body, primarily along the Kidney meridian (which governs reproductive health). Western methods and traditional Chinese medicine are not mutually exclusive. Some people may choose to use only acupuncture and herbs to help with pregnancy, while others use it as supplementary care to Western methods of fertility treatment.
I am happy to work with your MD/OB-Gyn/RE in your best interests.
Western Diagnoses successfully treated with Acupuncture & Chinese medicine:
– Advanced Maternal Age
– Amenorrhea Anovulation
– Elevated FSH Levels
– Hormonal Imbalances
– Immunologic Infertility
– Luteal Phase Defect / Luteal Phase Deficiency
– Male Factor Infertility: low sperm: count, motility, morphology
– Ovarian cysts
– Polycystic Ovaries (PCOS)
– Recurrent Miscarriage
– Tubal Blockage
– Unexplained Infertility
– Uterine Fibroids
All acupuncture treatment plans are tailored to the specific needs of each patient. However, gathering what is known from research and past experience, there are some general guidelines to be aware of and follow. Ideally, it is best to consult with an acupuncturist at least 3-4 months before beginning any fertility treatment. This allows the time to make the necessary diet, lifestyle, and exercise changes necessary to get the body into a more balanced, supportive state for increased fertility. It also allows the time for the optimal number of acupuncture & herbal medical treatments.
Acupuncture & Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART)
It is ideal to consult with your acupuncturist 3-4 months before beginning a fertility treatment involving Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) to develop a treatment plan. Generally, when combining acupuncture with ART (such as IVF, IUI, etc.), it is optimal to begin at least 1 acupuncture treatment per week for at least 3 months prior to the ART procedure. During the follicular stimulation phase (by pharmaceuticals), the acupuncture treatment frequency is commonly increased to twice per week. Also, it is best to receive an acupuncture treatment 12-48 hours both before and after the ART procedure.
This office does not provide this service, but referrals in the Denver and Colorado Springs areas are available.
Natural Fertility Treatment
If you are hoping to achieve a pregnancy through natural means only, the average course of treatment is from 3-9 months. Treatment frequency will depend on many factors including: age, general health, previous pregnancy history, menstrual irregularities, and the etiology of infertility (both Western & Eastern diagnoses). In addition to acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine plays a large role in the natural fertility treatment plan. Lifestyle, dietary, and exercise changes will also be a very important part of the treatment plan.
These following factors may result in a longer treatment plan and/or more frequent acupuncture treatments:
• near or over the age of 40
• previous history of taking fertility drugs
• undergone previous ART procedures
• polycystic ovaries (PCOS)
• experiences PMS
• elevated FSH level (7 or higher)
• history of endometriosis
• produces antibodies to sperm
• history of sexually transmitted disease
• history of urinary tract infections
• history of prostatitis or other urological issues
• chronic low back pain
I strongly recommend couples see this as the joint effort that it is. Healthy women make healthy eggs and healthy men make healthy sperm. Healthy babies come when healthy sperm and eggs meet. This means treating both partners, if needed, after both have had appropriate examinations and testing.
If you are having problems trying to conceive, I recommend watching these videos from Randine Lewis, L.Ac., for concise & enlightening information: