Infertility refers to the inability to conceive by a sexually active couple who have been trying to get pregnant for more than a year. Between 8% and 12% of all couples in the world face problems with infertility and this percentage is increasing.
Infertility factors in men include abnormal sperm, low sperm motility or low sperm count. The causes can be genetic, a result of long-term steroids use, age, obesity, stress, cystic fibrosis, diabetes or other diseases. In women infertility can be caused by polycystic ovarian syndrome, thyroid problems, hyperprolactinemia, hormonal imbalances, poor egg quality, cancer or other diseases. Risk factors include age, obesity, eating disorders, smoking, alcohol, stress, infections among others.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), infertility occurs as a result of the disruption of vital balances, blockages in the Qi energy and poor blood circulation. When the flow of the energy is blocked, it cause deficiencies, stagnation or heat syndrome.
Deficiency syndrome results in the blocking and disruption of the reproductive function in both men and women. Stagnation syndrome prevents the free flow of the energy and blood, restricting its circulation to the tissues of the reproductive organs. Heat syndrome refers to inflammation which can have an impact on semen quality and cause gynecological infections.
All three syndromes can be treated with TCM, specifically through fertility acupuncture and herbs. When the syndrome has been diagnosed and appropriate treatment applied, the body returns to health and conception has a better change of occurring naturally.
Acupuncture has long been a part of TCM and has a long history as a treatment for infertility. Tiny sterile needles are inserted into ‘acupoints’ that are located at specific points on the body and through these specific body functions can be regulated and the problem that is causing infertility can be addressed. Acupuncture treatment balances hormone levels, strengthens the immune system and regulates the energy and blood flow. Through the use of a combination of fertility acupuncture and herbs, ovarian and follicular function is improved and there is an increase of blood flow to the endometrium.
Acupuncture as a treatment for infertility has been used for thousands of years in TCM and has been demonstrated to produce good outcomes for both women and men. It is regarded as a successful treatment method for restoring fertility in patients, by improving sperm quality and ovaries’ function and also by balancing the endocrine system’s function with hormonal levels.