The condition in which a person is unable to conceive even after 12 months of regular and unprotected intercourse is known as infertility. According to the statistics, nearly 80% of the cases of infertility are due to some underlying condition in women and men, while the remaining 20% cases of infertility are the ones, whose sources are yet unknown. In the recent years, an upsurge has been observed in the number of infertility cases among couples; mainly because of increasing stress levels and sedentary lifestyle.
There are various treatments available to cure infertility in both men and women, including medications, surgical techniques, dietary changes and non-conventional therapies. Acupuncture is one such treatment method that is highly effective, and the best thing about it is that it has nearly no side effects and enhances the fertility naturally.
A form of alternative medicine, acupuncture is somewhat similar to physical therapy, since it is a process-oriented method of medical intervention. It includes insertion of sterile, ultra-thin needles on some specific points (acupuncture points) on the body. These points are on the meridian or channels that form a pathway within and outside the body. When the needles are inserted at a specific acupuncture point, they help regulate the way our body functions. It may also help in treating infertility caused due to hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.
Acupuncture in conjunction with certain herbal medications can be used to treat some of the underlying causes of infertility. However, it may not work if the root cause of infertility is endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease.
To be precise, acupuncture increases fertility by reducing stress and increasing the blood flow to the reproductive organs. Moreover, it helps maintain a balance in the endocrine system. By increasing the blood flow to the ovaries and uterus in females, it enhances the chances of better egg nourishment and carrying of pregnancy. On the other hand, in males, increased blood flow helps improve the sperm count and quality.
In males the root cause of infertility is mostly low sperm count or motility, whereas, in females, it is mainly due to anovulation and endometriosis.
One of the key reasons behind infertility in both men and women is stress. When a person is under stress, a hormone, called cortisol is produced by the brain, which changes the hormone levels inside the body. Acupuncture helps address this issue.
Acupuncture for Treating Infertility in Women:
Infertility in women is mostly due to hormonal problems caused by the malfunction of pituitary and hypothalamus glands.
Some other causes are:
- Premature menopause
- Chronic abdominal diseases
- Ectopic pregnancy
These can be treated by acupuncture. This technique improves the blood flow to the reproductive organs and helps in flushing out toxins.
Important Acupuncture Points to Treat Infertility in Women:
- Epang II
Mid-section Of Body:
- Lv 14
- Ren 14
- Ki 16
- Ren 6
- Ren 4
Back of The Body:
- UB 44
- UB 15
- UB 23
- DU 4
When to Begin the Treatment?
Patients of infertility are treated for around 3-4 months before the onset of donor-egg transfer stage. This seems to have some therapeutic effect. Most effective treatment generally involves herbal or traditional medicines with acupuncture treatment.
When to Stop the Treatment?
Improving the fertility doesn’t only mean conceiving, but carrying forward the pregnancy and delivering a healthy baby. As most of the cases of miscarriage happens in the first 3 months of pregnancy, acupuncture treatment lasts till around 12th week of pregnancy.
Acupuncture Treatment for Infertility in Males
Sperm quality and sperm count are the main parameters of male fertility. A male is considered infertile if his sperm count drops to less than 20 million per milliliter of semen. The condition is considered serious when sperm count falls below 500,000 per milliliter of semen. Other than sperm count, sperm morphology and sperm motility are also play important roles in determining fertility in man.
Some Cause of Male Infertility are:
- Undescended testes
- Hormonal imbalances
Important Acupuncture Points to Treat Infertility in Men:
- Ren 4
- UB 23
- Lv 3
- KI 3
- ST 36
- SP 10
- SP 6
- ST 29
- DU 20
In a study, researchers studied about the effect of acupuncture on male sperm. In the study, a group of infertile men was divided into two of 12 each and acupuncture treatment was given to one of the two groups. At the end of the week, the patients, who received acupuncture treatment have fewer structural deformities in their sperms, and the number of sperms per ejaculation was significantly high, compared to the control group.
However, other sperm abnormalities like immature sperm and sperm death that remained unaffected by the acupuncture treatment.
The study concluded that acupuncture treatment is simple and non-invasive, and helps improve the quality of sperm.
Side Effects of Acupuncture Treatment for Infertility
Acupuncture treatment for infertility has very less and negligible side effects. Incidentally, the effects are much similar to those of other traditional treatment methods. Evidently, it improves the functioning of hypothalamus and pituitary glands, and helps eliminate the root cause of infertility in both men and women.