Acupuncture For Infertility

Acupuncture for infertility is a very promising treatment modality, either as an alternative choice, or complementing and reinforcing ongoing Western medications, also as a preparation for In Vitro Fertilization (IVF).



Interpreting Western physiology and the underlying pathology from an Eastern (TCM) perspective, the acupuncture treatment approach and plan are going to make perfect (sometimes surprising) sense, as I`ll show you on this page, and in more details we`ll talk about it in the office, tailoring the therapy to your specific condition.

As a western and eastern trained physician, I`m obviously integrating Western and Traditional Medical Principles in the diagnosis process, yet, in the office, the treatment is based on the more holistic and acupuncture approach.

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW

Tracking down the stuff you need to know about conception, your cycle, gynecological issues, your choices about enhancing your chances and your options, can be an overwhelming task, especially if you do not have medical backgrounds.

This book is an excellent overview.

It`s fun, easy to read, very informative and enjoyable the same time.


Normal cycle

THE SEVEN YEAR CYCLE

  • During the first seven years there are some female sex hormones circulating produced by the ovaries.
  • At two times seven, normally around 14 years of age (in modern society this milestone is much earlier) the brain`s threshold drops, the circulating sex hormones cannot suppress the GnRH/FSH/LH axis any longer, and the ovarian follicule development starts. In TCM it is said that the kidney essence has been developed.
  • During the next 7 seven years, ending age 21, the kidney essence strong and she is ready for child bearing for approximately 2 cycles.
  • At 5 time 7, at age 35, the kidney essence starts decreasing, from age 42 this decline starts faster, and by age 49 her kidney essence depleted, and menopause starts. From a Western medical standpoint, the ovaries slowly atrophize, the hormonal changes causing the menopause symptoms.
  • Let`s shortly review the female lunar menstruation cycle between the third and fourth 7 year cycle, between age of 14 - 49.

    LUNAR CYCLE

    The Menstrual Cycle

    As you can see on this schematic drawing, the female lunar cycle is 28 days long and it can be divided into two equal phases, respectively.

    FOLLICULAR PHASE

    The first two weeks is the preparation phase for the ovulation influenced by FSH and LH coming from the brain, maturing an egg follicle in the ovary.

    An excess LH surge will cause the ovulation, the mature egg will be released, and the remnant of the follicle becomes the corpus lutheum entering the...

    LUTHEAL PHASE

    secreting its own hormones, mostly estrogens and progesteron, further preparing the internal lining (endometrium) of the uterus for implantation, should conception occur.

    As the Lutheal Phase goes on and conception of the released ovum will not occur, the corpus lutheum will shrink, atrophize, its hormone levels drop, the brain will realize this, and responds with FSH and LH, and the cycle starts again, ...

    meanwhile the internal, so far built up and prepared lining of the uterus will slough off...(menstruation).

    This is obviously very simplified, there are books have been written on the female reproductive system so obviously we cannot cover every details here.

    Let us examine now how the fertilization takes place normally.


    NORMAL CONCEPTION

    Assuming that everything works optimally...

    ... the female has regular menses, and the quality, quantity, and function of partner`s semen are also optimal, the conception occurs like this.

    Semen ejaculated optimally within 24-48 hours before the ovulation occurs, for it takes some time to "swim" upstream in the female reproductive system.

    In mid-cycle as a response for the "LH-surge", the matured follicule releases (ovulation) the egg that enters the Fallopian tube.

    The sperm is there by then, or arrives shortly thereafter, and penetrates the egg. The window of opportunity is about actually 24 hours for the chance of the ovum to be fertilized.

    If fertilization does not occur, both the ovum and the remnants of the corpus luteum shrink, sex hormone levels drop, the brain is triggered to release FSH and LH, while in the meantime prepared internal lining of the uterus sloughs off (mentruation), and the cycle starts again.

    Critical Time

    Therefore, as you already assumed, the critical time for performing the sexual intercourse, (for fertilization purposes) is about 48 hours before the ovulation.

    KNOWING

    Therefore, estimating the precise time of ovulation is important. There are calculation methods, and different commercially available instruments designed to tell you the time of your ovulation, starting from measuring baseline Body Temperature elevation, to more sophisticated devices detecting the LH surge.

    The best devices (and still at a very affordable price) are the ones that can be used unlimited times, no accessories needed, those of simply detecting your hormone levels in your saliva.

    To optimize our acupuncture for infertility therapeutic impact, a treatment is recommended close to ovulation or provoke ovulation, as well as shortly after to optimize conception (granted that semen is available) and proper implantation, the as precise estimation of the ovulation as precisely as our current technology allows is is an important factor.

    THE PROBLEM

    In regards to the hormonal balance, the steps involved, anatomical reasons, there are many things can go wrong preventing pregnancy, some easier to correct than the others.

    so let`s spend some time examining the underlying pathology from a western and eastern aspect so we can show you then how the therapy can be tailored to your special condition.

    Quantum physics first.


    EAST and WEST

    To translate the Western biomedical model into the Eastern treatment plan, and understand it from our western trained point of view, it is actually quantum physics that provides scientific explanation to understand Eastern phylosophy.

    Einstein`s Nobel prize-winning equation...

    E = mc2

    ...reveals that energy and matter are exchangable, in other words matter is energy and vica versa, energy is matter, their manifestation depends on the observer`s position.

    For example light is an electromagnetic energy wave but only until it gets obstructed by an object because then it becomes matter as measurable photon particles.

    Applying this to Eastern Medicine...

    ...when the free flow of Qi energy gets obstructed in the human body (Qi stagnation), it will condensate (materialize) into deep dense organ conditions.

    As such endometriosis, polycistic ovarian disease, pelvic inflammatory disease, or any other non gynecological dense organ problem for that matter, can be perceived as Qi stagnation.

    Consequently every Western pathological condition has an equivalent Eastern pathology like phlegm accumulation, dampness, blood stasis, Qi stagnation, et cetera.

    EAST & WEST PATHOLOGY

    For example...

    DAMP HEAT means...

  • Inflammation, i.e. cervical, vaginal, pelvic infection
  • QI STAGNATION means...

  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
  • Fallopian block
  • Endometriosis
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Uterine myomas
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Adhesions
  • YIN DEPLETION means...

  • Poor quality eggs or no ovulation at all
  • Small uterus
  • Thin endometrium
  • Low Estradiol
  • Low Progesteron
  • In Chinese Medicine our hollow and parenchymal organs have more function (more esoteric function) beyond the straightforward western biomedical, physiological functions.

    As such, the reproductive functions are supervised majorly by the kidney, the liver, and the spleen.

    KIDNEY function

    The endocrine system, growth, development, and reproduction are all kidney functions. Healthy kidney essence is the origin of menstruation.

    LIVER function

    The liver governs emotions and the flow of Qi. Problems with the liver manifest in abdominal pain, cramps, irregular menstruation, resulting in more dense gynecological organ problems.

    SPLEEN function

    The spleen transforms and transports, also creates blood. If the spleen Qi is empty the spleen cannot produce blood, resulting in scanty menstruation or amenorrhea altogether. Also spleen stores blood, if it is weak and fails to contain blood, it might result in spotting or even heavy uterine bleeding.


    INTERVENTION

    Therapy

    The acupuncture for infertility therapy aims to mobilize Qi and restore depleted Yin energy especially in meridians those of which belong to certain organs that primarily oversee the reproductive system.

    Each of these above mentioned organs has a corresponding meridian which can be accessed thru acupuncture points. Utilizing tonifying or dispersing needling techniques, the vacuity, blockages, or imbalances altogether can be fixed.

    Getting the obstructed Qi mobilized and flushing thru the obstructions, theoretically and practically the dense organ material obstructions can be vaporized, opening up the acupuncture energy channels, consequently the western anatomical blockages.

    Obviously if the problem is more superficial, physiologic, originating from endocrine hormonal imbalances, the therapeutic acupuncture interventions are even more promising.

    Overall acupuncture for infertility effect on the reproductive system is to...

  • Improve the function of ovaries
  • Produce better eggs
  • Regulate FSH, LH, Progesteron, and Estradiol
  • Increase the number of follicles
  • Increase blood flow to the uterus
  • Increase endometrium thickness
  • Improve semen
  • Strengthen immun system
  • Decrease stress

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