Ancient Medicine Produces Modern Miracles: Acupuncture for Infertility

acupunctureFor the 4.5 million couples experiencing infertility every year, treatment could also be could be what the doctor ordered (or didn’t order). treatment will reducing stress, increasing blood flow to the reproductive organs and balancing the endocrine system which can all increase fertility.

But what exactly is acupunture? Though it’s extremely popular and mainstream in Maryland where I grew up,  many people in Louisiana still aren’t familiar with it. 

Acupuncture is a key component of traditional Chinese Medicine.  It involves the insertion of very fine needles at strategic points of the body.  The needles aren’t hollow like needles used for injections and they are thinner than a human hair.  Most people don’t feel the needles being inserted but they mail feel a slight twinge in the area. 

There are more than 2000 of theses points that connect with pathways that we call meridians. The meridians conduct energy, or qi (sounds like “chee”) between the surface of the body and the internal organs. 

Many people associate acupuncture with relief from stress or pain but don’t realize that Chinese medicine practitioners are also about to treat infertility.  In fact,  It’s one of our specialties at Nouriche! 

How does it work for infertility?  By keeping the normal flow of energy, acupuncture increases the probability of conception. Through acupuncture treatments, we can improve almost every obstacle that causes infertility.

While fertility drugs produce a 20 to 60 percent success rate, they come with a host of unpleasant side effects. Acupuncture produces comparable success rates with no side effects. 

One of the key ways that acupuncture increases fertility is by reducing stress. Stress causes the body to release the hormone cortisol which alters the brain’s neurochemical balance, changing hormone levels and disrupting pituitary balance. These imbalances can cause a woman to stop ovulating or create spasms in the fallopian tubes and uterus which interfere with implantation.  Acupuncture these effects by releasing endorphins in the brain. 

Acupuncture can also increase fertility by increasing blood flow throughout the body. Providing the reproductive organs with more nourishment can increase the density of the uterine wall. For women who cannot become pregnant because of endometriosis,  acupuncture can increase blood flow to relax and quiet the endometrium.

Studies also show acupuncture combined with in vitro fertilization (IVF) is even more successful. Researchers in one study discovered that after six weeks of IVF alone, 26% of women became pregnant but 42% of those who used acupuncture with their IVF treatments were pregnant in the same amount of time.

Recently, I began treating a patient who was considering an IVF, and after multiple treatments, she became pregnant before she could even undergo a surgical procedure. Another patient had tried IVF with no success, but after three months of acupuncture infertility treatment, she conceived. With patients who try to conceive naturally, I estimate an 80 percent success rate, Keep in mind that each patient is different and the number of acupuncture treatments needed and the length of time it takes each couple to conceive varies. 

Once patients are successful in conceiving, we continue to treat them throughout the pregnancy. These continued treatments keep stress levels down to avoid miscarriages, as well as help with the nausea and back pain common during pregnancy.

Alyson Giuffreda, M.Ac., L.Ac practices at Nouriche. . She holds a Master of Acupuncture from the Maryland University of Integrative Health. She has successfully treated patients with a variety of physical and emotional imbalances, including: infertility, menstrual disorders, digestive issues, allergies, insomnia depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, migraine headaches, arthritis, and various musculoskeletal issues. For more information or  to schedule an appointment call 456-7300 

Learn more about acupuncture here.  Or read Alyson’s full bio.