For married couples, the culmination of the marriage is in the creation of a family. For a woman, nothing is more monumental than conceiving a child and bringing him into this world to be loved and raised in pretty much the same way as his parents were born, raised, and loved by their respective parents.
Unfortunately, there are couples who, despite all attempts at conceiving a child, fail miserably because of reasons still poorly understood. Some have attempted undergoing in vitro fertilization or IVF and yet there have been no guarantees that it will turn out as expected. Some women have resorted to quack medicine practices while others have gone searching for the ultimate infertility cure. However, there is growing evidence that a certain kind of centuries-old Traditional Chinese Medicine – acupuncture – can help improve the overall success rate of in vitro fertilizations and other similar fertility treatment procedures. It should be understood that acupuncture will not make you pregnant. It will simply make your reproductive system a lot healthier and more receptive to the idea of conception. As there are simply so many important things to know about fertility acupuncture we have prepared this article just for you.
What’s Wrong in Infertility?
Getting pregnant requires the union of an egg cell from the woman and a sperm cell from the man. The egg cell is released by the ovaries only once every month, usually around 14 days before your first day of menstruation. They call this period ovulation or the time when the egg cell, the ova, is released from the ovaries. This is often in response to stimulation from the pituitary gland at the base of the brain. Infertility occurs if you simply cannot conceive either because of failure of ovulation or because of some other factors like medical problems and partner issues. Four to 5 out of 10 infertility cases have been found to be related to problems in women while 1 in 5 cases are directly related to male problems.
What Causes Infertility?
Among women, the major cause of infertility is a problem with ovulation which can be brought about by premature ovarian failure, polycystic ovary syndrome, problems in thyroid function, increased prolactin levels, and poor quality of the ova especially among older women. Some studies also point to a possible genetic origin. Problems in the fallopian tubes and the uterus may also prevent a woman from conceiving or carrying with the pregnancy to full term. This can be due to endometriosis, submucosal fibroids, previous surgery, and previous sterilization. Other causes of infertility among women include marijuana and cocaine addiction, chemotherapeutic medications, and radiation therapy.
Among men, infertility is often caused by problems with the semen such as low sperm count, complete absence of sperm, low sperm motility, and unusual sperm morphology and physiology. The latter is often caused by testicular infection or cancer, retrograde ejaculation, varicocele, undescended testes, mumps, and cystic fibrosis among others.
It should be understood that while these causes of infertility may be systemic, the risk factors are totally preventable. These include smoking, alcohol consumption, obesity, eating disorders, strict vegetarianism, over-exercising, sedentary lifestyle, sexually transmitted infections, and mental and emotional stress.
How Acupuncture can Help
Acupuncture works by regulating the normal flow of life energy or qi across the body in order to establish and maintain physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual balance. Traditional Chinese medical practitioners believe that infertility is brought about by the blockage of the life energy that naturally flows between the reproductive organs and the part of the brain that controls these functions. Acupuncture stimulates the meridian that unblocks this pathway to allow the resumption of the normal flow of the life energy. However, it should be understood that the results from fertility acupuncture are not immediate and should be done regularly and only by a licensed practitioner.
Fertility acupuncture reduces stress which helps balance the hormones in the body. When you are under stress, you produce a lot of cortisol which somehow affects the release of other hormones by the pituitary gland particularly those related to ovulation and reproduction. Establishing a balance in these hormones can help facilitate a healthier reproductive system. Additionally, fertility acupuncture increases the blood flow to the ovaries and the other reproductive organs in order to provide the adequate oxygenation and nourishment necessary to produce higher quality egg cells or even healthier sperm cells. Additionally, since blood supply is also increased to the uterus, a fertilized egg will be able to latch onto the surface of the uterus which will carry it through 37-38 weeks until it is time to deliver.
A Tel Aviv University study revealed that fertility acupuncture can increase the rate of getting pregnant by as much as 26 percent especially when combined with modern fertility treatments such as the use of clomiphene citrate or Clomid. Acupuncture is clearly no longer merely confined to the management of pain and the induction of relaxation. It is now considered one of the best possible solutions to couples who have problems conceiving.