Can Acupuncture Treat Infertility?

Ovulation disorders are one of the most common roadblocks to conception. Acupuncture has been used for centuries to treat infertility in women by addressing common ovulation disorders. New research suggests that for some women, acupuncture, in combination with hormonal therapies or herbal medicine, can increase the likelihood of conception. Acupuncture may also be used by women during their first trimester to reduce the risk of miscarriage.

Acupuncture is based on an ancient healing art that is designed to bring balance to the body’s energy pathways. According to ancient medical tradition, the body is comprised of energy pathways, known as meridians. Blockages in these meridians lead to disease and health problems, including infertility. Acupuncture treatments help address infertility by regulating the body’s natural systems.

For example, an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) can contribute to infertility by not producing enough of certain hormones. Low levels of these hormones can interfere with ovulation and may be linked to other pituitary disorders, which are also impairing fertility. Acupuncture treatments are designed to bring balance back to the body by regulating the body’s natural systems and correcting hormonal imbalances.

While acupuncture may be an effective treatment for hormonal imbalances associated with infertility, acupuncture may be less successful treating physical problems within the reproductive system. If your infertility is linked to pelvic inflammatory disease or endometriosis, for example, acupuncture cannot correct these underlying physical problems. However, treatments may help increase blood flow to the endometrium, which facilitates a thick, rich lining. Consequently, acupuncture may be recommended as a complementary therapy to surgical procedures.

During an acupuncture treatment session, an acupuncturist with insert ultra-thin, sterilized needles into pressure points along the body associated with fertility and hormonal regulation. Treatment sessions typically last between 15 to 30 minutes. Each session is designed to be a relaxing experience; in fact, some patients relax so much they even take a nap.

There are minimal risks associated with acupuncture as an infertility treatment. In general, this treatment is safe for most women. However, there are some acupressure points along the body that are contraindicated for pregnancy and conception. These include points along the gallbladder, spleen, large intestine, bladder and lower abdomen. A certified acupuncturist will be well-versed in which acupressure points are appropriate and which should not be activated.

Source:
Mayo Clinic, “Hypothyroidism and Infertility: Any Connection?” May 2013.

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