Fertility and Women’s Reproductive Health

Fertility and Women’s Reproductive Health

Remedy Clinic treats Women’s Health Conditions including:

  • Irregular cycles
  • PMS
  • Pain and cramping
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Endometriosis
  • Infertility
  • Menopausal and perimenopausal symptoms
  • Recurring yeast infections
  • Urinary difficulties
  • Migraine headaches
  • Sexual dysfunction

Fertility Acupuncture Treatments

Acupuncture, an integral part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), has been utilized for centuries to address various health conditions, including infertility. This practice involves the insertion of fine needles into specific points on the body known as acupoints, which are located along meridians—pathways believed to conduct energy, or Qi, throughout the body. The therapeutic effects of acupuncture are attributed to the regulation of these energy flows and the restoration of balance within the body’s systems.

Mechanisms of Action

  1. Hormonal Regulation: Acupuncture can influence the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian (HPO) axis, which is crucial for reproductive hormone regulation. By stimulating specific acupoints, acupuncture modulates the release of neurochemical substances like endorphins, which affect the secretion of gonadotropins (FSH and LH) from the pituitary gland. This process helps regulate menstrual cycles and promotes ovulation, which are essential for fertility​ (Welcome)​​ (Frontiers)​.
  2. Blood Flow Enhancement: Improved blood circulation to the uterus and ovaries is another critical mechanism by which acupuncture supports fertility. Enhanced blood flow can create a more favorable environment for embryo implantation and fetal development. Studies using Doppler ultrasound have demonstrated that acupuncture can increase blood flow to these reproductive organs​ (PLOS)​​ (BioMed Central)​.
  3. Stress Reduction: Stress and anxiety can negatively impact fertility. Acupuncture has been shown to significantly reduce stress and anxiety levels, promoting a more favorable environment for conception. The reduction in stress is partly due to the release of endogenous opioids during acupuncture, which have calming effects on the nervous system​ (BioMed Central)​.
  4. Endocrine Function Modulation: Acupuncture helps in modulating endocrine function, particularly beneficial for conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). By improving insulin sensitivity and reducing hyperandrogenism, acupuncture can enhance ovulation rates and improve the chances of conception for women with PCOS​ (PLOS)​.


Clinical Evidence

Numerous clinical trials and systematic reviews support the efficacy of acupuncture in fertility treatments:

  • In Vitro Fertilization (IVF): Acupuncture has been shown to enhance the outcomes of IVF and other assisted reproductive technologies (ART). A systematic review and meta-analysis revealed that acupuncture performed on the day of embryo transfer significantly increased clinical pregnancy rates. This improvement is attributed to the enhanced uterine receptivity and increased blood flow to the reproductive organs​ (Welcome)​​ (Frontiers)​.
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): For women with PCOS, acupuncture has been effective in regulating menstrual cycles and promoting ovulation. Studies indicate that acupuncture can modulate the endocrine system, improving hormonal balance and increasing the likelihood of ovulation and conception​ (PLOS)​.
  • General Fertility Improvement: Acupuncture has been associated with improving various parameters of fertility, including sperm quality in men. This holistic approach addresses both male and female factors contributing to infertility, providing a comprehensive treatment option​ (BioMed Central)​.


What to Expect from Fertility Acupuncture Treatments at Remedy Clinic:

Patients seeking treatment for fertility should plan on coming in for treatment once per week for at least 3-6 months; treatment is not necessary while on your period though if you have symptoms associated with menstruation, you may continue treatment if desired. Herbal formulas and supplements are recommended as they support treatment by: removing unwanted hormones from the body and restoring receptor site sensitivity, increasing blood flow to the uterus, and correcting the ovarian-pituitary feedback loop dysfunction that can be caused by long-term birth control use. We encourage patients to chart their basal body temperature (BBT) and cervical fluid changed throughout their cycle. We also encourage male partners to receive treatment as sperm motility, quality, and count are all important components of conception that can be addressed with acupuncture and supplements.

Pregnancy & Acupuncture

Acupuncture offers a holistic and scientifically supported approach to managing pregnancy-related conditions. By regulating hormonal balance, improving blood flow to reproductive organs, reducing stress, and providing natural pain relief, acupuncture can significantly improve the quality of life for pregnant women. At Remedy Clinic in Raleigh, NC, our experienced acupuncturists, Ginna Browning and Allison Bower, specialize in providing safe and effective acupuncture treatments for pregnancy. Acupuncture during pregnancy can address various conditions, alleviate symptoms, and support a healthy gestational period.

Benefits of Acupuncture During Pregnancy

  1. Hormonal Regulation: Acupuncture can influence the endocrine system, helping to balance hormones crucial for a healthy pregnancy. By stimulating specific acupoints, acupuncture may promote the release of neurochemical substances like endorphins, which regulate hormonal levels and support the physiological changes that occur during pregnancy​ (Welcome)​​ (Frontiers)​.
  2. Blood Flow Enhancement: Improved blood circulation to the uterus and placenta is another key benefit of acupuncture during pregnancy. Enhanced blood flow ensures that the fetus receives adequate nutrients and oxygen, promoting healthy fetal development​ (PLOS)​.
  3. Stress Reduction: Pregnancy can be a stressful time, and acupuncture has been shown to significantly reduce stress and anxiety levels. By promoting relaxation and reducing the physiological effects of stress, acupuncture can contribute to a healthier pregnancy environment​ (BioMed Central)​.

Acupuncture Relieves Common Pregnancy Symptoms

  1. Morning Sickness: Acupuncture is widely recognized for its effectiveness in reducing nausea and vomiting, common symptoms during the first trimester. Specific acupoints, such as Pericardium 6 (P6), are targeted to alleviate these symptoms​ (Welcome)​​ (Frontiers)​.
  2. Back Pain and Pelvic Pain: As pregnancy progresses, many women experience back and pelvic pain due to the added weight and changes in posture. Acupuncture can help relieve these discomforts by improving blood flow and reducing inflammation in the affected areas​ (PLOS)​​ (BioMed Central)​.
  3. Fatigue: Fatigue is another common complaint during pregnancy. Acupuncture can enhance energy levels by promoting better circulation and balancing the body’s energy systems​ (Frontiers)​.
  4. Headaches and Migraines: Hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy can lead to headaches and migraines. Acupuncture provides a natural, drug-free solution to managing these symptoms by targeting specific acupoints associated with pain relief​ (Welcome)​​ (BioMed Central)​.
  5. Labor Preparation and Induction: Towards the end of pregnancy, acupuncture can be used to prepare the body for labor and potentially induce labor if the pregnancy goes beyond term. Specific acupoints are stimulated to promote cervical ripening and encourage uterine contractions​ (Frontiers)​​ (PLOS)​.

Addressing Concerns About Acupuncture During Pregnancy

While acupuncture is generally considered safe during pregnancy, it is crucial to ensure that treatments are administered by a qualified and experienced practitioner. Concerns often arise regarding the safety of needling specific acupoints. Certain points, such as those on the lower abdomen and sacral region, are typically avoided during early pregnancy to prevent adverse effects. Additionally, acupuncture practitioners are trained to modify treatment protocols based on the stage of pregnancy and the individual needs of the patient​ (Welcome)​​ (BioMed Central)​.

Modalities and Herbal Remedies

In addition to needle acupuncture, other modalities such as acupressure and moxibustion (the burning of mugwort near the skin to warm acupoints) can be beneficial during pregnancy. Herbal remedies, prescribed by trained TCM practitioners, can complement acupuncture treatments. These remedies are tailored to the individual’s needs and are used to support overall health and address specific pregnancy-related conditions. However, it is essential to consult with a qualified practitioner before using any herbal remedies to ensure they are safe for both the mother and the developing fetus​ (Frontiers)​​ (PLOS)​.

Recommended Reading

The Infertility Cure, by Randine Lewis, PhD
Taking Charge of Your Fertility, by Toni Weschler, MPH
The Natural Diet Solution for PCOS and Infertility, by Nancy Dunne, ND
Making Babies, by Sami David and Jill Blakeway