Acupuncture and Fertility

Studies show that regular acupuncture treatment can improve fertility and the chances of conceiving by helping with the following:

  • Balancing hormone levels

    – stress and other factors can disrupt the function of the hypothalamic pituitary-ovarian axis (HPOA), causing hormonal imbalances that can negatively impact on fertility. Acupuncture has been shown to affect hormone levels by promoting the release of beta-endorphin in the brain (which affects the release of gonadotrophin releasing hormone by the hypothalamus), follicle stimulating hormone from the pituitary gland, and oestrogen and progesterone levels from the ovary (Ng 2008, Huang 2008, Lim 2010, Stener-Victorin 2010).

  • Improving blood flow to the reproductive organs

    – stress also stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, which causes constriction of ovarian arteries. Acupuncture can inhibit this sympathetic activity, improving blood flow to the ovaries (Stener-Victorin 2006, Lim 2010), thus enhancing the environment in which ovarian follicles develop. It also increases blood flow to the uterus (Stener-Victorin 1996, Huang 2008), improving the thickness of the endometrial lining and increasing the chances of embryo implantation.

  • Regulating menstrual cycles and ovulation

    – by balancing the hormone levels and improving blood flow to the reproductive organs.

  • Treating underlying conditions such as poly cystic ovaries

    – by reducing sympathetic nerve activity and balancing hormone levels, acupuncture has been shown to reduce the number of ovarian cysts, stimulate ovulation, enhance blastocyst implantation and regulate the menstrual cycle in women with PCOS (Stener-Victorin 2000, 2008, 2009, Zhang 2009).

  • Helping men with sperm count, mobility and vitality

    Joanna Ruddick with Daniel (her nephew)

    Joanna Ruddick with Daniel (her nephew)

    – general improvement of sperm quality, specifically in the ultrastructural integrity of spermatozoa, has been seen following acupuncture treatment (Pei et al 2005).

  • Relieving stress and anxiety

    – this is often a big factor in a couple’s difficulty to conceive. When we are stressed, the adrenal glands (which sit on top of the kidneys) respond by secreting adrenaline to prepare the body for ‘fight of flight’ in an emergency. With high levels of stress, the adrenal glands become overworked. Excessive adrenaline production may inhibit progesterone production, which is essential for building and maintaining a womb lining.

Michelle Spicer has several years experience in the use of acupuncture for women and couples trying to conceive both naturally and through the various processes of assisted reproduction technology (ART) such as ICSI, IMSI and IVF.

If you would like to find out more about how acupuncture could help you, please contact Michelle at Summertown Clinic on 01865 558561.

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