Currently viewing the tag: "fertility"

Hormonal imbalance is a common female presentation at most acupuncture practices. The human body produces around 50 different types of hormones. Hormones act as the body’s chemical messengers activating target cells. Tightly linked to the nervous system it controls body functions e.g. growth, metabolism, homeostasis, muscle contraction and sexual activity. The effects of hormonal changes start at puberty and continue throughout a women’s life.

Premenstrual symptoms, both physical and emotional represent hormonal changes. Women struggle with hormonal changes experiencing symptoms like fatigue, mood swings, anxiety and changes in libido. There are many reasons for hormone imbalance such as, age, stress, birth control pills, lifestyle, diet and weight. Symptoms can greatly affect a women’s quality of life.

In women, hormones oestrogen and progesterone work together to maintain the menstrual cycle, both are equally important. When oestrogen levels are abnormally high there is oestrogen dominance causing PMS symptoms, menstrual problems, mood swings, weight gain, and increase in stress hormones, fibroids, ovarian cysts (PCOS), heart disease and breast cancer.

In Chinese medicine hormone imbalance can be linked to menstrual and gynaecological but also to other conditions e.g. mood swings, depression, anxiety, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia. Depending on the condition conventional medicine offers treatments using birth control pills, anti-depressants, diabetes medication, IVF and fertility treatment drugs. Fortunately, acupuncture and Chinese medicine can offer a safe and effective option for many health problems including alleviating hormonal imbalance.

  • Acupuncture, balances cortisol levelsand regulates adrenal function to relieve stress and normalize stress response, positively affecting the hormone response1.
  • A study found the acupuncture balances the production of follicle-stimulating hormone in women experiencing menopause related symptoms2.
  • Acupuncture helps fertility issuesdue to hormone imbalance by supporting production of healthy levels of sex hormones3.
  • A study of 30 women with PCOS and decreased insulin resistance found improvement in symptoms after acupuncture treatments4.
  • Researchers analyzed 31 RCT with a total 2,433 participants and found that acupuncture has a homeostatic and regulatory effect on three hormones which significantly5;
    • reduce sleep problems
    • increase oestrogen levels
    • reduce follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)
  • One case study of a woman with endometriosis causing infertility saw a decrease in the size of the endometrial cysts and later became pregnant after acupuncture treatment6.

Treating hormone imbalance can be complex and often diet, lifestyle and stress play an important role in its successful management. Acupuncture’s regulating effects on the body enables regaining normal function of the body systems including; energy levels, sleep, mood and digestion. With regular treatments the body realizes a healthy equilibrium by correcting imbalances.

References:

  1. Yang JW, Li QQ, Li F, Fu QN, Zeng XH, Liu CZ. The holistic effects of acupuncture treatment. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2014;2014:739708. doi:10.1155/2014/739708
  2. Aziz H, Feng Lui Y, Du L, et al. Menopause-related symptoms: traditional Chinese medicine vs hormone therapy. 2011. Altern Ther Health Med. 2011; 17(4): 48-53.
  3. Zhu J, Arsovska B, Kozovska K. Acupuncture Treatment for Fertility. Open Access Maced J Med Sci. 2018;6(9):1685–1687. Published 2018 Sep 19. doi:10.3889/oamjms.2018.379
  4. Shen LY, Liang CM, Yang WJ, et al. Acupuncture treatment of polycystic ovarian syndrome patients with abdominal obesity by regulating dai meridian: A randomized controlled clinical trial. Zhen Ci Yab Jiu. 2018; 43(4): 255-9.
  5. Acupuncture decreases insomnia due to menopause, increases estrogen. (2017, Jan 17) https://www.healthcmi.com/Acupuncture-Continuing-Education-News/1707-acupuncture-decreases-insomnia-due-to-menopause-increases-estrogen
  6. Zhu J, Arsovsk B, Sterjovska-Aleksovska A, Kozovska K. Acupuncture treatment of subfertility and ovarian endometrioma. Open Access Maced J Med Sci. 2018; 6(3): 519-522.

 

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Infertility can be both emotionally and financial exhausting. Every year, millions of couples face the challenge to overcome their infertility issues. The great news that it is not end of the world for them. Largely, because it can be managed with therapies such as Acupuncture.

Infamous Infertility  

In the UK 1 in 7 couples (14%) will have difficulty conceiving. In the US data released by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), infertility affects about 12% of women belonging to age group of 15-44. Infertility is defined in broad term as inability to conceive for more than 12 months despite having regular unprotected sex.   Often couples turn to expensive medical treatments, costing a huge financial burden. Medical studies suggest that in 35% cases, both male and female contribute to infertility issues. Male factors only contributed to 8% of all cases.

Acupuncture to Boost Fertility

Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicinal therapy. It is amazing traditional treatment that has been used to treat and manage hundreds of medical conditions. Acupuncture consists of inserting tiny, thin needles into specific points of a body to stimulate Qi energy and blood flow within targeting specific areas or body systems.

This ancient treatment modality has been known to improve fertility in both women and men. It is complete safe therapy with minimal after effects such as pinpoint bleeding, increased relaxation and sometimes flu-like symptoms. Despite the fact that Acupuncture is seldom used as a primary treatment option to improve fertility, it plays a vital role in maximizing the success of fertility treatments.

The use of acupuncture for infertility management is not a recent phenomenon, but has been used for more than 3000 years. Apart from balancing hormones and relieving stress, this remarkable treatment helps to stimulate blood flow to reproductive organs.

Stress & Infertility

Ovulation disorder is one major reason for infertility in women. It is an established medical fact that the hypothalamus, reproductive and pituitary glands are physiologically interconnected; stress can have adverse physiological effects, thus preventing ovulation entirely by triggering hormonal imbalance. Stress can also cause spasm in the fallopian tubes and the uterus, which in turn can creates issues with implantation of a fertilized egg. Acupuncture helps release endorphins in our brain to control the adverse effects of stress and cortisol. According to several medical research studies, acupuncture helps to balance the endocrine system and increases blood flow to the reproductive organs. Collectively, with reduced stressors and improved hormonal balance and healthier reproductive organs, fertility is improved.

Improved Blood Circulation

Acupuncture not only aims at getting pregnant; rather, it also aims at staying pregnant. It helps to facilitate improved blood flow to the ovaries and uterus. Such improved blood circulation strongly increases the chances for an egg to be well nourished and healthy. It significantly improves its chances to be carried to term.

Strategic acupuncture points stimulated during acupuncture improves the Qi energy flow throughout the body.  It helps to restore physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual balance. This restorative effect considerably increases a couple’s chances to conceive. However, acupuncture will be less effective if infertility is due to tubal blockage or adhesions.

Being hailed as the most popular alternative therapies by world renowned health experts and physicians, Acupuncture continues to be a feasible and reliable ancient therapy to boost fertility.

 

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Farmers know it:  If you hope for a good harvest, prepare the field well before planting. That’s as true for your family as it is for a crop of barley. This is true for both men and women, particularly if you are experiencing fertility problems or planning to undergo IVF treatment.

As science and medicine unlock the intricacies of our genes, we already know that they’re not an unalterable inheritance from our own parents.  Your body is constantly rewriting biological code. Add to this the contraceptive pill and HRT- major risk factors for heart and arterial disease and cancer (to name a few), nutrient deficiencies and stress, and you have a pretty potent chemical mix. Poofh ! and you have a new biological code giving the orders resulting in fertility problems.

When you give it optimal fuel and avoid environmental hazards, you help it repair transcription errors and disarm disease triggers.

If you are of reproductive age–even if you don’t intend to have children now, are not in a long-term relationship or aren’t sexually active–these suggestions are wise to consider.  Life can change in an instant.  Birth control can fail.  And even an unplanned-for child is entitled to be born as healthy as possible.  Just like a farming crop it takes 3 months for an egg or sperm to mature, so start to make changes as early as possible to get your health in good order.

Here are some helpful tips both for fertility problems or if you are planning to get pregnant.

  • Recognize that your physical and mental well-being are your greatest assets. If you’re in a relationship, encourage your partner to value good health too.
  • Good hormone status indicators are a regular menstrual cycle, free from pre-menstrual tension and mood swings. Hormones are highly dependent on micronutrients. Western diets high in processed foods, carbohydrates and sugar, along with antibiotics and use of hormones increases the risk of yeast infections e.g. vaginal thrush.
  • Take a good-quality daily multivitamin, essential fatty acids and vitamin C, D. This applies to both parents. No matter how good your diet is, the challenges of modern life put enormous stress on your body. Questionable modern farming methods also compromise the value of nutrients in food.   Good health is more than the absence of disease, and many of us are deficient in essential micro-nutrients.
  • If you are a smoker or drinker, your body is under even more stress, and you may be deficient in vitamin C and B-complex vitamins. Low levels of folic acid, for example, are a leading cause of some preventable birth defects, and B-vitamins are essential for good nerve function and energy metabolism. It’s important to remember that by the time most women realize they’re pregnant and begin receiving prenatal care, crucial developmental stages have already occurred in their babies’ brains and nervous systems. Get help in quitting. Unknowingly, you may be self-medicating for undiagnosed anxiety or depression.  Having a discussion with a non-judgmental health professional is the first step in freeing yourself from addictive behaviors.  Improving your diet may help you to resist cravings or to eliminate them entirely.
  • Reduce your toxic chemical load from e.g. processed foods, coffee, tea, alcohol, sugary drinks, additives, deodorants, shower gels and pesticides.
  • Stress is one of the biggest cause of fertility problems. Take time to relax. Stress affects the hypothalamus (part of the brain) which regulates the hormones needed for normal menstrual cycle and release of the egg. During stress the body behaves like it is in survival mode and starts to make more cortisol and adrenaline hormones. In chronic stress they have to be kept constantly high, and this is where the problem lies. For the adrenal glands to make cortisol they need progesterone – the pregnancy hormone. Thus, low progesterone levels create an imbalance with oestrogen and testosterone. Strengthening the adrenals and managing the stress will allow them to return to good function. The effectiveness of therapies such as acupuncture and massage in increasing fertility may be in their ability to counteract stress and support the adrenals thus normalizing hormone regulation.
  • A family health history will tell you if there is a history of early menopause or fertility problems then take this into consideration. Find a trusted health professional to discuss any concerns you may have now. In many cases, just because an illness may run in your family doesn’t mean you’ll inevitably get it too, or pass it down to future children. Improving your diet, exercising and reducing stress can all help armor you against a predisposition to serious disease.
  • If you have existing health problems then do all of the above plus get professional advice.

If you are planning to undergo IVF (fertility) treatment, then you may need additional support. Most clinics advise on having acupuncture treatments to alleviate stress, but also regulate your hormones. Acupuncture is well known to greatly boost your chances of IVF success.

Do you have questions or want further information on how we can help you have a healthy and successful pregnancy ?  Contact us.

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