Fertility is a very conserving condition that leads couples to explore everything and anything that may help them to conceive, but could acupuncture be the answer to help?
The statistics claim that a staggering 3.5 million people suffer from infertility in the UK, Dr John Tsagaris, an internationally renowned doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine based in London, shares his expert knowledge on using acupuncture to help with infertility issues.
Infertility is a medical concern for people that, despite regular sex, are unable to conceive and the problem becomes apparent after two years or so trying.
The issue becomes more noticeable after 35 years of age and is classified as primary where there was never a pregnancy, and secondary where previous pregnancies were successful or unsuccessful, yet the couple still has difficulty conceiving.
What Contributes to Infertility in Women?
There are many co-factors that contribute to the condition for women, as well as for men, and usually, couples act on making radical decisions either when they are on advanced age or they find they have no psychological space to conceive naturally.
Usually, these decisions result in functional fertility methods such as IVF or IUI with minimum or substantial hormonal interference. Despite the limited offering of acupuncture within NHS currently, couples - due to vast research that suggests that the Chinese medical treatment works, particularly when complemented by conventional IFV or IUI - can see a significant change in their conception journey.
How acupuncture could benefit infertility
Despite the fact that a lot of them are inconclusive, research papers have investigated possible mechanisms that may be able to explain how acupuncture could benefit fertility, which is very frequently observed in clinical practice. Here are just a few ways it helps:
- By harmonising hormone levels affected by the functioning of the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis (HPOA), resulting in hormonal irregularities that affect fertility
- Acupuncture can aid the release of an endorphin the brain, which results in stimulating the oestrogen and progesterone levels from the ovaries
- Increases microcirculation to the reproductive organs, allowing for an environment that sees a healthy development of ovarian follicles. Additionally, the uterus benefits from a boosted blood flow, which encourages endometrial lining which is thicker and prepares the endometrium for conception
- Alleviates polycystic ovarian syndrome symptoms and counteracts on fertility. Acupuncture may also reduce size and the number of ovarian cysts, support ovulation and enhance fertilisation phase
- Reduces stress that affects hormonal balance and creates psychosomatic symptoms that prevent conception.
Acupuncture may improve and establish good general health for both parents and baby, from pre-conception encouraging the conditions where the foetus will be developing, through to the post-natal phase where the postnatal mother needs all the help she can get to regain her strength and boost her energy levels.
It’s very important to understand that conception is not just about fertilisation. It rebalances the parents, securing a healthy sperm and egg and helps in providing a healthy conception, all the way to the pregnancy of a healthy baby.
Assisted reproductive technologies, particularly when combined with a natural enhancement through acupuncture, could potentiate a greater chance of a healthy conception.
How is Acupuncture Used?
Acupuncture is just a tool that we use in Chinese medicine to allow the body to find that space where the alignment of the mind and body can bring about a therapeutic outcome.
We see women in the clinic who feel pressurised by their cultural or family dynamics; they are so stressed and emotionally challenged and all they think about is babies, completely neglecting themselves. Looking after yourself is, of course, the very fundamental supportive factor for a good, lasting and healthy conception and pregnancy.
Our responsibility, beyond the physical effects that acupuncture may have on the body, is to ground new mums and allow them to take care of themselves first. Acupuncture can work as a psychotherapeutic tool too, dispersing any emotional or psychological obstacles towards conception and revealing different patterns of one’s personality. It can also facilitate in patients a clearer view about themselves, their partners, their family and their environment.