The road to fertility is not always smooth. Quite frankly, these days it is often the rockiest uphill battle a woman will ever know.
Recent statistics suggest 1 in 8 couples struggle with fertility. If you have been trying to conceive for a while you may be feeling discouraged. Please know that you are not alone and that there is help! Acupuncture and TCM Traditional Chinese Medicine can assist you in any stage of infertility you are at. Our clinic specializes in all areas of reproductive health including acupuncture for fertility, miscarriage prevention, ovulation disorders, menstrual irregularities, hormone imbalance, and pregnancy care.
How does Acupuncture help with fertility?
Reproductive health, like all health, is about balance. Acupuncture and TCM have been used for thousands of years to successfully address infertility by restoring optimal hormonal balance, increasing circulation through the reproductive organs, and creating an overall environment where new life may flourish.
Fertility complications can arise due to a number of male and female factors, from poor quality sperm and irregular menstrual cycles to dietary and lifestyle aspects such as stress and poor diet. Common treatment prescriptions include acupuncture, herbs, diet, lifestyle changes, or a combination of all four to bring your system back to its proper functioning state.
Acupuncture may enhance fertility by:
- Regulating the menstrual cycle
- Regulating FSH & hormone levels to produce a larger number of follicles
- Increasing blood flow to the uterus and increase the thickness of the uterine lining
- Improving the function of the ovaries to produce better quality eggs
- Increasing libido
- Correcting blocked fallopian tubes
- Enhancing response to IVF & lessening side effects- of IVF on the body
- Relaxing the mind & body
- Preventing miscarriage
- Improving sperm count and motility
- Increasing libido
- Correcting erectile dysfunction
- Increasing semen quantity
Correcting some immune factors such as anti-sperm antibodies that can interfere with conception
Our treatment plan to support male fertility typically includes acupuncture, Chinese herbs, supplements, lifestyle, and dietary recommendations for approximately three months. The reason we focus on three months is that one full sperm development cycle takes about 75-90 days. The key to success is consistent treatment during a full sperm development cycle. This treatment protocol is for both men trying to conceive naturally and with assisted reproductive technology (IVF/IUI/ICSI) .
Targeted Fertility Treatment
Treatment for infertility is usually over a course of 3-6 months. While some patients get pregnant in as little as 6 weeks others may take much longer. Each person’s condition is unique and each person responds differently to treatment.
Good candidates for acupuncture and herbal medicine are people who have a functional, rather than structural reason for infertility. Infertility due to hormonal problems, immune disorders, amenorrhea, irregular menstruation, stress and age related factors all fall into the category of functional infertility. Stress can dramatically decrease fertility in both men and women.
Acupuncture increases fertility by reducing stress.
Lifestyle Tips during Fertility
In general for men and women, eat organic foods when possible and avoid meats that have been treated with hormones or fish that contain mercury. Women need to eat food with essential fatty acids, e.g., soy products and wild caught salmon. Essential fatty acids are also found in non-hydrogenated cold pressed oils like flaxseed, winter vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots, and all dark green vegetables. Avoid alcohol and caffeine. A Yale University School of Medicine study found that the risk of infertility was 55% higher for women drinking 1 cup of coffee per day, 100% higher for women drinking 1 and 1 ½ – 3 cups, and 176% higher for those drinking more than 3 cups of coffee per day.
For women, certain foods help nourish your bodies during the different phases of your cycle.
Foods that nourish Yin include: fruits such as raspberries, pineapples and grapes; vegetables such as asparagus and beans; adequate proteins, especially tofu and fish; and organ meats such as kidneys, brains and hearts.
Avoid spicy, pungent foods.
Foods that nourish Yang include warming foods: ginger; ginger tea; beans; grains; and vegetables such as mustard greens, winter squash, cabbage and kale. Avoid ice cold drinks, ice cream and foods that are very cold.
In general, it is a good idea to avoid ice water and ice cream during pregnancy attempts.
Foods that nourish blood include: fruits such as blackberries, raspberries and grapes; organic meats and poultry; soup stock made from the bones of the meat and poultry; and vegetables such as turnips, spinach and dark, leafy greens.
For both men and women, try to get good amounts of sleep and limit stress. Of course, difficulties with fertility send stress skyrocketing but that makes it even more important to find ways to relieve stress. Meditation, yoga, relaxing with friends and any other calming activities that work for you are encouraged.
For men, skip saunas, hot tubs and tight clothes, all of which heat up sperm.
For women, enjoy the foods noted above, exercise as a stress reliever and to maintain health but don’t overdo it. Now is not the time to start training for a marathon or take up CrossFit training.
Need help with fertility?
Click here or Call us at (904) 448-0046 to schedule a consultation with our practitioner to see how acupuncture can assist you with your fertility goals!
About The Author: Julee Miller
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