For a woman, being able to conceive can mean the world to her, and when she can’t, it could break her world apart.
However, thanks to acupuncture, there is now a solution to infertility. But does it really work?
First, let’s go deeper into this traditional Chinese medicine practice that has been known to treat almost all kinds of disorders, and now, infertility being one of them.
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a form of an alternative medicine that uses thin, stainless steel needles that is inserted into the body’s important points to alleviate pain usually caused by musculoskeletal problems, including low back pain, shoulder stiffness, and knee pain. Although studies show that results of having an acupuncture are inconsistent, it is commonly used in combination with other forms of treatment.
This practice should only be done by an appropriately trained practitioner who uses clean and single-use needles when doing the method.
How does it work?
Chinese medicine explains that the needles help stimulate the body’s meridians or the channels of energy along the body’s certain points. When performed, a person may experience various physical changes such as feeling calmer, sleepy or more energised depending on where the needles are positioned.
Putting the needle in certain points of the body could lead to a movement in certain hormones and increased blood flow to certain areas of the body, and in the case of infertility, the pelvis.
“Acupuncture is thought to shift the body into a repair mode where it’s better able to heal itself, as well as calming the nervous system,” says Lara Rosenthal, a licensed acupuncturist at the New York University Langone Medical Center Fertility Center in New York City.
Rosenthal further answered what it feels like undergoing acupuncture.
“It feels a little like getting your eyebrow plucked, just for a few seconds, then you won’t feel anything,” she says.
One of the causes of some conditions that can get in the way of falling pregnant such as polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS or when a woman is underoing IVF is high stress levels. Since acupuncture can help a person feel calmer, some fertility doctors recommend acupunture to help lower the stress levels of some of their patients. It is because stress hormones can genearally lower fertility hormones such as progesterone.
However, they believe acupuncture can be done along with other fertility treatments. Kathleen M. Brennan, M.D., a reproductive endocrinologist with the UCLA Fertility and Reproductive Health Center in Los Angeles, says she “referred patients to acupuncturists to do acupuncture in conjunction with a number of fertility treatments.”
When do you start having acupuncture when treating infertility?
When a woman is undergoing fertility treatment, she can go for an acupuncture anytime during the treatment process, either before or during any oral intake or administration of injectable drugs or during IVF cycles.
Rosenthal, who suggests having several sessions of acupunture, explains that doing acupuncture before trying drugs or IVF could actually help “avoid those treatments altogether.”
However, before receiving this traditional practice, you have to make sure you have a medical evaluation by your physician as there are conditions that acupuncture cannot resolve such as blocked fallopian tubes or other serious disorders.
You can also ask your doctor for a referral to an acupuncturist who treats infertility.