Acupuncture is a centuries old traditional Chinese medical practice that involves placing thin needles in specific points throughout the body. Studies have shown acupuncture is successful in treating a variety of ailments from headaches to knee pain and even allergies. As the practice grows in popularity in America, acupuncture treatments for other ailments are being used, including using acupuncture for fertility during IUI and IVF.
It is important to note that if you're experiencing fertility issues, you should see a fertility specialist, whether or not you're utilizing acupuncture. A fertility specialist can help diagnose and treat conditions that are preventing you from getting pregnant that acupuncture cannot.
When to Start Acupuncture for Fertility
While acupuncture can be used for general wellness, its use specifically for fertility purposes can be implemented as soon as you'd like to start trying to conceive. Since acupuncture has few side effects, and is covered by some insurance plans, the risks of starting acupuncture for fertility are relatively low.
It may also be worthwhile to explore using acupuncture to treat other ailments while you're trying to conceive like stress and anxiety, which can negatively impact fertility. Since stress and fertility issues have been linked in men as well as women, consider bringing your partner along if they're feeling particularly stressed as well.
It is also worth noting that benefits from acupuncture can be reaped for many different things including prepping the body before fertility treatments, helping you deal with side effects from treatments like IVF, or, helping to alleviate common ailments during pregnancy like nausea, fatigue, insomnia and body aches.
What to Expect from Fertility Acupuncture Treatment
As stated before, acupuncture does involve placing thin needles in certain parts of the body, but it is relatively pain free. Side effects, which often include fatigue and maybe some bruising are relatively limited and rarely severe if they do occur. The feeling of the actual needle being stuck in has been compared to a mild pinch at first but it quickly goes away.
While acupuncture isn't a guaranteed cure for fertility issues, studies have shown it has an impact in stimulating the ovaries, boosting levels of hormones associated with fertility and increasing blood flow to the pelvis and reproductive organs. This is particularly the case for women undergoing IVF. There have been many studies done on acupuncture and IVF and it's been shown to increase the chances of IVF success by 60%.
The Bottom Line
Acupuncture, while being a great supplementary treatment for fertility issues, isn't a miracle cure.
Todd Mensik is the Practice Representative at InVia Fertility. He is passionate about making sure that the overall experience of each and every patient exceeds expectations. He also works with the referring physician to ensure that the transition into our office is seamless.