With over 6 million women in the United States alone struggling with infertility problems, many are left with no option other than to spend anywhere from $12,000-$15,000 on in vitro fertilization treatments. The other alternative, adoption, can cost more than $20,000 for one child alone. However, acupuncture is now being recognized in the scientific community as a viable alternative treatment for fertility-related problems.
About 10 percent of women with fertility issues suffer from polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) which results in low-quality eggs, and months with irregular menstrual cycles, and a lack of ovulation. Acupuncture has been shown not only to induce ovulation, but also to increase the rate of menstruation, and even lower adverse hormones to improve the quality of the ovum.
Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) is a crucial hormone in the female reproductive system that is necessary in the production and release of ovaries. Women with fertility issues may suffer from a lack of this hormone. With acupuncture, an increase of blood flow can be found near the ovaries and the uterus, which will stimulate this hormone, causing more stable growth and release rates of the ovaries. This is a safer option than taking hormonal treatments, as the side effects of acupuncture are minimal in comparison to those of inducing hormones.
However, should women find themselves with no other option but to do in vitro fertilization, acupuncture can diminish some of the negative side effects in vitro fertilization causes on the uterine. In making the uterus healthier, the rate of implantation will increase, increasing the probability of pregnancy. In making the uterus more stable, there is more of a likelihood of an ongoing pregnancy.
Men can be the root cause of a couple’s fertility problem as well. Factors such as low sperm count, low rate of mobility, or irregularly-shaped sperm can lead to infertility as well. Similarly to women who suffer from low FSH or have PCOS, acupuncture can increase the blood flow to these areas, which will allow men to have a higher sperm count. Although acupuncture cannot treat irregularly-shaped sperm or low mobility, it can increase sperm count, thus decreasing the chances of having faulty sperm. In addition to acupuncture, wearing boxer briefs may also increase a man’s sperm count, as they do not become overheated from regular underwear.
Other than addressing fertility issues, it is important to note the benefits acupuncture provides for women with menstrual disorders, such as, but not limited to, dysmenorrhea, endometriosis, and menorrhagia. These menstrual disorders are painful, but acupuncture affects certain neurotransmitters, neurohormones, and blood flow, which may help to combat heavy or painful period cycles.
It is important to note that while acupuncture is not a guarantee for couple’s struggling with fertility problems, it is a relatively inexpensive method to help mitigate this issue. Most acupuncture treatments range from $70-$90, but many services provide specials and promotional membership rates, further lowering the price. Acupuncture provides many benefits other than helping with infertility, such as relaxation, migraine relief, improving sleep, soothing muscular discomfort, and overall a better mood.