When is Acupuncture Appropriate for Infertility?

If you are struggling with fertility, you may have heard about and/or considered acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).  TCM is a popular alternative therapy for treating fertility.  And for good reasons too!  It offers an affordable and effective way to improve your chances for conception.

While getting pregnant may seem like a simple, natural, human process, it is actually very complex, and a kink in one component can keep you from getting pregnant.  Impediments to fertility can be structural (such as in blocked tubes), hormonal, may be related to the male, or can even be simply too much stress.   The use of acupuncture and herbal medicine can help improve your chances of falling pregnant in many of these situations.

TCM helps improve fertility through helping balance the hormone system.  It helps to improve blood flow to the uterus and throughout the body.  It helps to calm the sympathetic nervous system, which is our natural “flight or fright” stress response system.  And acupuncture can help treat common impediments to fertility like PCOS and endometriosis.

For women and men with a minor impediment to fertility, TCM can be a great option.  This includes problems like irregular ovulation, minor endometriosis, too much stress, and slightly low sperm counts.  For those with a major impediment to fertility, such as blocked fallopian tubes and very low sperm counts, the use of assisted reproductive technology (ART) will give you your best chance.

What if you fall in between?  Remember that TCM takes a holistic approach, treating the whole body, therefore is able to treat multiple symptoms at one time.  But you may need to consider time and values as well.  TCM offers a natural and holistic approach to fertility for those who have a philosophical attachment to natural medicine, or who are just not ready to try IVF yet.  We also often see women who are looking to help improve their health and prepare for an IVF treatment.  But it is also important to remember the TCM takes time and consistency.  And the more complex the case, the longer it may take to treat.  Therefore, for older women, especially women with multiple factors influencing their fertility, you may want to consider the use of ART.

TCM offers benefits to fertility for a wide ranging group of women and men.  It can be used individually or as a complement to standard western medical practices.  For those looking for a natural and affordable approach, it just might be worth a try.


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