Acupuncture is an excellent form of treatment for women with hormonal imbalances that has a long and respected history in China and in the West. Acupuncture commonly used with great success for complaints related to periods and problems associated with cycle, fertility, pregnancy and labour. 

Infertility

Infertility is the inability of a couple to get pregnant despite having regular unprotected sex and have not conceived in two years. It is estimated that one in seven UK couples has difficulty conceiving.

 

Identifiable causes of infertility include: ovulatory disorders in 27% of couples; tubal damage in 14% of couples; low sperm count or low sperm quality in 19% of couples. In 30% of couples the cause of infertility remains unexplained. Female fertility declines with age, but the effect of age on male fertility is less clear. The difficulties couples encounter when facing fertility problems can lead to stress, which may further decrease chances of conception. Acupuncture is a popular treatment choice for infertility.

Female fertility requires a verity of conditions to be successful. If one of those conditions is not met, or is not met for the right amount of time, the pregnancy may either not happen or it may end before birth. Acupuncture can be used in conjunction with IVF treatments, as well as being very successful in achieving healthy pregnancy when used alone. Most clinical trials to date suggest that acupuncture may be useful in the embryo transfer stage of in vitro fertilisation, and results in an increased pregnancy rate and a greater number of live births.

Research has shown how acupuncture may benefit fertility:

  • regulating fertility hormones

  • increasing blood flow to the reproductive organs enhancing the environment in which ovarian follicles develop. It also increases blood flow to the uterus improving the thickness of the endometrial lining and increasing the chances of embryo implantation

  • increasing egg production and improving oocyte quality , which could increase the chance of fertilisation

  • enhancing luteal function 

  • regulating follicle stimulation hormone-receptor expression 

  • normalising cortisol and prolactin levels on IVF medication days 

  • reducing stress

  • promoting embryo implantation

  • counteracting the effects of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) by reducing the number of ovarian cysts, stimulate ovulation, enhance blastocyst implantation and regulate the menstrual cycle in women with PCOS.  

Some clinical trials suggest that acupuncture may benefit male infertility. It improves sperm motility , increases sperm count , improves sperm quality and has a beneficial effect on psychogenic erectile dysfunction.

 

Pregnancy

Acupuncture is an increasingly popular and safe form of treatment during pregnancy, as it offers women drug-free relief for a multitude of problems that can arise during this period. Its use for conditions often regarded as 'part of a normal pregnancy', and will not only improve woman's quality of life but also prevent these problems from becoming serious enough to necessitate medical treatment. Pregnancy is a physiological state, but even when a woman has an uncomplicated pregnancy she may suffer with back and pelvic pain, nausea, indigestion or emotional problems such as anxiety and depression.

Delivery and Labour

Acupuncture is used to promote the most efficient natural experience of labour possible for women. Acupuncture can be used in few main ways at the later stages of pregnancy:

  • pre-birth treatment help prepare the woman's body for birth, with emphasis on preparing the cervix and pelvis for labour. Acupuncture sessions prior to labour provide an ideal opportunity to ensure that internal energy and emotions are all in harmony in order to promote labour in a safe and effective way. These treatments start from 37 weeks of pregnancy and are done once a week until a due date. 

  • acupuncture has proven to be effective during labour and delivery providing woman with drug free pain relief and reduction in the amount of medical interventions utilised. Stimulation of certain acupuncture points reduce sensitivity to pain and stress, as well as promote relaxation. Acupuncture can bring a rapid effect, both in dilating the cervix and in re-establishing labour that is not progressing

  • acupuncture is also used for induction as a natural way to activate the ripening of the cervix

 

Links below will take you to official British Acupuncture Council page for more information and research on how acupuncture can help in complaints associated with women health/fertility/pregnancy/labour:

Anxiety

Back pain 

Carpal Tunnel syndrome 

Childbirth

Depression

Painful periods

Endometriosis

Female fertility

Infertility IVF

Male fertility

Nausea and vomiting 

Obstetrics

PCOS 

Sciatica

© 2018 by Albina Avigail Masteran 

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