Both acupuncture and Chinese medicine have been used for centuries to to improve fertility for both men and women. In fact, more and more scientific studies are being conducted, proving its effectiveness both on it’s own and in conjunction with Western medicine. Practitioners at The Yinova Center are skilled at determining each individual patient’s needs and challenges and are then able to create a customized plan to enhance fertility, whilst being mindful of where Western medicine would be useful as well.
For an overview of Fertility Support at Yinova, please click here.
Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can help address many types of amenorrhea or a lack of a menstrual period. This includes exercise-induced amenorrhea, PCOS, hormonal insufficiencies, and some types of imbalances with the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis. Our experienced team of acupuncturists provide customized treatments and herbal formulas based on each specific case to help the ovaries begin to ovulate and the cycles to become regular. Your practitioner may also suggest some dietary and lifestyle changes to help support your treatments.
DECREASED OVARIAN RESERVE
As women age, the ovarian reserve (or the capacity of the ovary to produce viable eggs) naturally decreases; however, for some women this decrease happens prematurely. For other women, the right time to attempt to conceive has come later in life and so a decrease in reserve can pose a problem with fertility. In both cases, recent studies show that acupuncture and Chinese herbs can help women have been diagnosed with a decreased ovarian reserve to achieve a pregnancy.
Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) is a hormone released from the pituitary gland that tells the ovaries to start preparing an
egg to ovulate each cycle. As women approach menopause, the hormones regulating the menstrual cycle begin to change. As we age, it can become elevated, and higher levels are associated with decreased fertility. FSH levels fluctuate each cycle and can respond very well to treatments with acupuncture and Chinese medicine. Most fertility clinics require FSH to be within a certain range in order to proceed with reproductive treatments, so regulating this hormone can be very important for fertility and the success of treatments like IVF.
Endometriosis is one of the leading causes of pelvic pain that we see here at the Yinova Center. It can seriously affect a woman’s ability to conceive and can also cause uncomfortable, heavy or irregular periods. Sometimes there are no symptoms associated with endometriosis and it is only discovered when a woman seeks treatment for infertility. We use a combination of acupuncture and Chinese herbs aimed at improving blood circulation, clearing inflammation, relieving pain and treating the patient’s underlying condition associated with their endometriosis. Patients with this condition may also benefit from making specific dietary changes to quicken their healing.
Chinese medicine has been shown in studies to help regulate the immune system. In cases of autoimmune disorders and immunological fertility factors, acupuncture and specific Chinese herbs, often in combination with dietary and lifestyle changes, can help calm an overactive immune system, to support a healthy pregnancy.
Many women experience periods that come irregularly each month, which can make trying to conceive difficult. Irregular menses can be due to an imbalance in hormone fluctuations throughout the month. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs are wonderful for balancing the hormones and encouraging a more predictable ovulation, which helps regulate the menstrual cycle.
Good clinical research has demonstrated the effectiveness of acupuncture used in conjunction with IVF demonstrating a 50% increase in success rate with acupuncture vs. without. Acupuncture works to increase success rates of these interventions by increasing blood flow to the ovaries during the stimulation phase of IVF and by improving the effectiveness of the drugs given. It also relaxes the uterus and addresses uterine spasm after embryo transfer. Acupuncture also reduces stress, calms anxiety, and offsets side effects of the fertility drugs.
During an IUI cycle, acupuncture can help increase conception rates by increasing the blood flow to the uterus and ovaries, improving the effectiveness of any medications used, and by assisting in the development of follicles and the uterine lining. Acupuncture also helps to address uterine spasm around the time of potential implantation and can treat any side effects that arise from the fertility drugs.
LUTEAL PHASE DEFECT
When the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle (the phase after ovulation until the menses or a pregnancy is achieved) is shorter than ten days, it is diagnosed as luteal phase defect. Women with this condition often experience difficulty conceiving and may have low levels of the hormone progesterone. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can help support the ovarian function, improve progesterone levels, and lengthen the luteal phase.
MALE FACTOR INFERTILITY
Male factor infertility accounts for 40% of couples struggling to conceive. Fertility acupuncture has been shown in recent
studies to help improve sperm count, motility, and morphology, as well as correcting some immune factors such as anti-sperm antibodies that can interfere with conception. Treatments that affect sperm quality in both Chinese medicine and Western medicine can take a minimum of 3-4 months, so it is best to start as soon as possible.
Ovarian cysts can cause pelvic pain and interfere with a women’s ability to conceive. They can be naturally occurring or as a side effect of some fertility treatments. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can help resolve both.
POLYCYSTIC OVARIAN SYNDROME (PCOS)
PCOS is becoming an increasingly prevalent cause of infertility. Women with PCOS are not ovulating and many do not have periods or have irregular cycles. We are seeing an increasing number of patients with PCOS at the Yinova Center and have found acupuncture and Chinese herbs to be very effective at stimulating ovulation and regulating their cycles. Recent reputable studies have shown these treatments to be as effective as the fertility drug clomid in stimulating ovulation.
There are many causes of recurrent miscarriage, some of which can be addressed with acupuncture and Chinese herbs. Our experienced acupuncturists can help determine potential imbalances leading to early pregnancy loss, and will refer to leading physicians for testing and concurrent medical treatment when appropriate. Studies have shown acupuncture to prevent some types of miscarriage, so we recommend our newly pregnant ladies to continue acupuncture treatments into their pregnancies.
STRESS RELATED HORMONE IMBALANCE
Diet, lack of sleep, and stress-filled lifestyles can very easily wreck havoc on our hormones in multiple ways. Stress can lead to chemical changes in our bodies, that in turn can divert blood away from organs like the digestive and reproductive systems. Since many hormones are dependent upon one another to remain balanced, over time, excess levels of stress can lead to imbalances in the reproductive hormones, potentially affecting fertility. Acupuncture has been shown to increase blood flow to the reproductive organs and in conjunction with Chinese herbs can work to regain hormonal balance of the entire body.
Uterine fibroids are benign growths in the uterus and are often associated with heavy periods, cramping, bleeding, or spotting between periods, abdominal swelling, and sometimes pain during intercourse. They can also interfere with the ability to conceive. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can be effective as treatment for fibroids or as an adjunctive treatment with Western medical interventions when fibroids are advanced in size.
A diagnosis of unexplained infertility can be one of the most difficult to receive. One of the many strengths of Chinese medicine is the emphasis on the menstrual cycle health and its ability to make subtle changes to the cycle that can improve fertility, even when no issues can be found with medical testing. The Yinova Center is renowned for it’s treatment of infertility in NYC. All of our acupuncturists have extensive additional postgraduate training and have earned the respect of New York City’s top doctors in this field. Because of the high volume of patients we see for fertility, we are accustomed to working with the full spectrum of fertility patients from those just planning to start trying to conceive to patients coming to us for help after several failed IVFs or miscarriages. For this reason, The Yinova Center is highly regarded as the best fertility acupuncture NYC has to offer.