Acupuncture for Fertility
- For IVF Support
- For Increasing Low AMH
- For Treating PCOS
- For Endometriosis
- For Improving Sperm Quality
- For enhancing Thin Endometrial Lining
Acupuncture for IVF Support
For individuals and couples whose infertility persists despite conventional first-line treatments, in vitro fertilization (IVF) offers a logical next step.
With pregnancy rates, up to five times that of intrauterine insemination, IVF is the most effective fertility treatment available today. It is the most common form of fertility treatment and is particularly helpful for women of advanced age, women with damaged fallopian tubes, male factor infertility and more.
We commonly recommend that you start Acupuncture treatment 2-3 months prior to starting your IVF cycle. We treat on 3 stages. First stage is about balancing your overall energies, removing stagnation and blockages in energy flow.
If your body is harmonised and nourished with qi and blood it works at its optimum thereby improving your chance of pregnancy. Second stage is when we start preparing the palace that is strengthening your uterus, improving blood circulation in uterus, balancing hormones, improving qi and blood circulation in ovaries, stress management.
Third stage is the time when we concentrate on your problem area that is if you have thin endometrium or low ovarian reserve, concentrating on hormone balancing, improving blood flow and stress management.
Once IVF has commenced we base your treatment schedule on your IVF plan. Often twice or thrice a week treatments are recommended until the day of embryo transfer when we schedule two treatments as close to the transfer time as possible- one before and one after. On the day of your embryo transfer, you will arrive one hour early just before your scheduled procedure.
A 20-minute acupuncture treatment will be performed. The pre-transfer treatment uses acupuncture points that help dilate the cervix, making the insertion of embryos easier. Other points are used to calm your nervous system, which in turn relaxes the uterus and causing a decrease in cramping and contractions.
Other acupuncture points are used to help improve circulation of blood to the uterus to create a thicker uterine lining. The treatment is calming and helps optimize uterine receptivity. Just after your doctor performs the embryo transfer, you will again visit Acushastra Centre, where a second acupuncture treatment will be administered.
The post-transfer treatment continues to focus on relaxing the nervous system and uses acupuncture points which help circulate additional blood to the uterus. This aids in preventing contractions, nourishes the newly-implanted embryo, and makes a successful implantation more likely.
For 24-48 hours after an IVF or IUI procedure, acupuncture continues to be effective in not only putting a patient’s mind at ease, but also decreasing the spasms and cramping sometimes associated with IVF and IUI procedures. Although we recommend women participate in a longer-term fertility acupuncture program, this one-time option is a stand-alone treatment that offers a higher success rate than no acupuncture.
Ideally, we call patient for 3 days post transfer to ensure enough blood supply to uterus and release stress as this is the window when implantation occurs.
Acupuncture helps to increase Low AMH
Many women of all ages are told they have diminished ovarian reserve. Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and Anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) are different ways of measuring ovarian reserve. High FSH and low AMH are linked to poor egg quality and conception rates, both stand-alone or in an intra-uterine insemination (IUI) or an in-vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle.
FSH is the hormone your pituitary gland produces to trigger your ovaries to develop follicles in preparation for ovulation. AMH is a substance secreted by your primordial follicles, or follicles in “deep sleep”. The more follicles you have, the higher your AMH level, and the better your chances of conception.
This altercation of hormones according to acupuncture can be due to Genetics (jing deficiency), Excessive conceptions (jing deficiency), Overwork (yin deficiency), Poor diet (qi and blood deficiency), Excessive exercising or physical work (yang deficiency). Also as we get older, the ovaries are less inclined to ovulate and the pituitary pumps out more FSH in an effort to get them to do so.
This tendency is due a decrease in blood flow to the ovaries and hormonal fluctuations between the brain and the reproductive organs. Acupuncture is the only known way to increase circulation to the reproductive organs. Once the ovaries are receiving better blood flow, they require less FSH to ovulate.
Eggs that are maturing in a well-oxygenated, nutrient-rich environment are going to be healthier than eggs developing in a state of stress due to poor blood supply and fluctuating hormone levels.
In conclusion, acupuncture can help women who have diminished ovarian reserve, who are attempting pregnancy either naturally, or with IUI or IVF, by increasing blood flow and regulating hormonal communication between the pituitary gland, ovaries, and brain.
This results in healthier eggs and often decreases FSH levels. Additionally, women undergoing hormonal stimulation may require fewer drugs because the ovaries will be more responsive to drugs.
Acupuncture and PCOS
Several recent studies have explored the use of acupuncture to treat Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) with encouraging results. We see quite a number of women who are suffering from PCOS at Acushastra centre and have found that acupuncture can be really helpful. PCOS is a complex endocrine and metabolic syndrome that affects 5%-10% of women of reproductive age.
Many women may just have polycystic ovaries and have no other symptoms of the disorder. Though a pelvic ultrasound may reveal 12 or more cysts on one or both ovaries, women with PCO can ovulate and don’t have the other symptoms that go with the syndrome, PCOS.
PCOS is a common hormonal condition. There are a number of symptoms that the syndrome is based on, which can include: Increased androgens, which may result in increased hair growth, acne or increased blood testosterone levels. Insulin resistance meaning your body struggles with regulating your blood glucose levels. This can lead to weight gain or women struggling to lose weight and keep it off.
Women who suffer from PCOS also have higher risk of developing hypertension and diabetes and are at an increased risk of heart disease. Having PCOS may also mean that you do not ovulate and your periods may be irregular or absent. Some women only have one period a year, and in some cases, it is not until women start to try to conceive that they begin questioning why things are not going to plan. It may simply be because they are not releasing an egg and ovulating regularly.
If you are trying to conceive it is important to understand that having PCOS doesn’t mean that you will not be able to conceive and have a healthy pregnancy. There are a number of ways you can help your body and manage your condition. This includes lifestyle and dietary changes.
One of the most common patterns of PCOS in acupuncture is phlegm and dampness. From a TCM perspective this describes the cysts and symptoms present which can include being tired, difficulty losing weight, heaviness, bloating, swelling and fluid retention in feet and ankles, slow metabolism, dizziness and poor appetite, infertility.
We will ask about your symptoms in detail. The TCM diagnosis always takes into consideration the symptoms that manifest in every individual, as we understand that not everyone is the same and this is why TCM can be a great way to tailor each treatment to every individual person. What works for one person may not work for another and no two people are the same.
Acupuncture helps in:
- Regulating your hormones.
- Can induce ovulation by selecting specific points along the body which have a direct effect on the uterus and ovaries.
- Assists in reducing your cravings, i.e. If your blood glucose levels drop throughout the day it can result in sweet cravings.
- Supports metabolism and regulating your appetite. If you have a lack of an appetite this can affect your weight management as your metabolism maybe sluggish. When you have an appetite, this is a great way to know your body is on track.
- The main role of Acupuncture is to encourage blood flow through the uterus and ovaries.
When you visit Acushastra, a thorough assessment and TCM diagnosis will be prepared for you. In accordance with research based treatment guidelines, twice a week acupuncture sessions may be needed as part of your treatment plan.
You should allow yourself a period of up to three months or more to help regulate your body. Remember that this condition has probably been years in the making and hormonal conditions cannot be regulated overnight, however, you may start noticing improvements right away.
This is performed by placing needles along different points in the body that correspond to different channels and organs.
Acupuncture for PCOS is generally placed in the abdominal region as well as hands and legs. Depending on your symptoms and where you are in your cycle these points may vary. Your body responds to the stimulation of the points.
In some cases, there may be blockages that need to be released. Remember that although it can take a while, acupuncture can help to shift the hormonal imbalance underlying PCOS, so the sooner you can begin your commitment to the treatment the sooner you can reap the benefits.
Acupuncture for Endometriosis
Endometriosis is the growth of endometrial tissue in areas of a woman’s body outside the uterus. It affects 10%–15% of women between the ages of 24 and 40.
Endometriosis is a condition that can sometimes interfere with your fertility.
Acupuncture can help treat the root cause of endometriosis as well as alleviate symptoms.
Acupuncture can help reduce symptoms, regulate your menstrual period and balance your hormones. The most common TCM imbalances (clusters of symptoms) in endometriosis include blood stasis, qi stagnation, spleen qi deficiency, kidney yang deficiency, damp heat stagnation and stasis.
Acupuncture addresses the imbalance causing the endometriosis instead of simply treating the symptoms. After four months, you should experience a reduction in pelvic pain, improved menstrual regularity and flow, reduce inflammation, and improve your body’s ability to absorb the endometrial tissue.
Acupuncture helps in sperm health
Male fertility requires normal sperm production and sperm transport, and adequate sexual performance, functions that require normal levels of testosterone.
Male infertility can be due to a number of factors, including abnormal spermatogenesis; reproductive tract anomalies or obstruction; inadequate sexual and ejaculatory functions; and impaired sperm motility. However, in such men, semen analysis reveals a decreased number of spermatozoa (oligozoospermia), decreased sperm motility (asthenozoospermia) and many abnormal forms of sperm (teratozoospermia). Factors that alter spermatogenesis include endocrine disturbances such as low testosterone levels, exposure to medicines or environmental toxins, varicocele, increased scrotal heat, systemic diseases, smoking and alcohol, and testicular torsion and trauma.
Erectile and ejaculatory dysfunction may be associated with psychological factors, hypogonadism, spinal cord disease, and metabolic and vascular conditions such as diabetes.
Acupuncture has been shown to help male infertility by treating the root cause.
It helps in Improving blood flow to testis, lowering scrotal temperature, enhancing local microcirculation, reducing inflammation, increasing testosterone levels, stress management. thereby increasing sperm count, motility and morphology.
Acupuncture protocol followed at Acushastra will help ensure that you have the building blocks needed for healthy sperm. Acupuncture needles are never inserted into the genitals.
The needles are instead painlessly inserted into acupuncture points in various other parts of the body.
We strongly suggest that patient should minimum take 3 months of treatment which is minimum time of regeneration.
Acupuncture enhances Thin Endometrial Lining
When we think about making a baby we often think about the sperm and the egg as being the key ingredients. Once the sperm and the egg have merged to become an embryo it must implant in the uterine lining (endometrium).
The uterine lining (endometrium) must be a healthy thickness of 8mm and more and have a three layer, trilaminar appearance. The growth of the lining is stimulated by healthy levels of estrogen and is eventually maintained by progesterone.
On a biochemical level the endometrium must have the right mix of factors such as endometrial adhesion molecules (integrins), cytokines, growth factors, immune factors, and more in order for the embryo to implant.
The thickness and quality of your endometrial lining may have an impact on getting pregnant and your ability to carry a baby to term. In general, as endometrial thickness increases, so does pregnancy rate.
Acupuncture is an excellent way to:
- Increase blood flow
- Regulate hormonal balance
- Increase essential nutrients reaching the uterus
- Reduce stress
- Stress has been known to impede blood flow
- Increase endometrial thickness and quality
- Increase likelihood of successful embryo implantation and a healthy pregnancy
- Increases vascularization of the lining