The experience of coming face to face with your fertility can be a stressful and overwhelming one. And it can be taboo even to discuss it, making the experience just that much more intense.
If you’re undergoing treatment, there are the lab tests and the hormones and drugs and all the strong emotions that come with having your body poked and prodded and your hormones altered. It’s a modern miracle, but it can be one of the most stressful medical ordeals a person can go through. The wild rollercoaster of emotions is incredibly potent, and it can feel incredibly isolating if you don’t have care providers that can help guide you through the process.
The intensity of the process, going through it or wishing to avoid it, can lead patients to consider less stressful, more holistic options like acupuncture.
We will talk more about this in a moment, but first let’s talk about you.
Our patients talk to us about going through nearly the entire range of possible human emotions when they are facing fertility challenges. They share with us their frustration, their guilt, the anxiety, their shame their sadness, their shock, their joy.
It’s always surprising to us how few outlets our patients have to process these feelings and understand how normal they are. While we are indeed not counselors or psychiatrists, TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) is well equipped to help address some of the the emotional aspects of infertility and its treatment.
Many Things Can Cause Infertility
In terms of specific conditions that contribute to fertility issues, there are a lot, and we have seen many of them over and over in our clinic and helped patients with these issues:
Low sperm count, motility, morphology
Irregular menstrual cycles
Stress, anxiety, and depression
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
Poor Ovarian Reserve
Thin endometrial lining
Can Acupuncture Help Fertility?
Back to the acupuncture. Can acupuncture help fertility? The short answer appears to be yes! Chinese medicine is known for improving fertility due to any one or multiples of these issues. A significant study done in 2011 showed that TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) strategies improved fertility outcomes two times over fertility drug therapy or IVF over the four-month study period (Ried, Stuart). This means acupuncture and fertility are a good match!
But beyond the medicine and numbers, we believe in creating a warm, and personal, non-judgemental atmosphere for our patients because fertility isn’t just about lab results and hormones, it’s about the overall environment of your body and your life. And we look at all those pieces together with our patients and create a clear plan to address physical, mental, or emotional blocks to fertility whether you are working already with a reproductive endocrinologist, or you want to try other things independent of the traditional route.
How We Are Different
What we do for our fertility patients goes well beyond acupuncture alone. We look at our patients holistically, and create a plan of care that makes sense for them based on what we see from measures like basal body temperature tracking, tracking periods and ovulation, as well as consider any lab results received from a doctor and any prescription medications you are already on.
Basal body temperature tracking can be hugely revealing for fertility patients working with an acupucturist. Many patients have body temperatures that are too low for ideal pregnancy conditions, or temperature changes are not happening at the correct time in the cycle, which makes egg implanation and growth very difficult.
What is happening with the menstrual cycle can also provide excellent insight into certain problems that can exist – whether a woman’s period is heavy or light, the color of the menses, the regulatiry of the flow and more can all give us valuable diagnositic information to help a woman achieve pregnancy either naturally, or with the assistance of a reproductive endocrinologist.
Here are some of the types of things we are considering with all of our patients:
Is your womb getting enough blood flow?
Is your body thermally warm enough to have a baby? Body temperature plays a vital role in pregnancy. If your BBT struggles to rise post ovulation, we will put some strategies in place for that.
Are temperatures changing at the correct time?
Is stress a factor?
Probably you are getting the sense in reading through this that we aren’t just taking care of your physical body when you come in to see us, and our patients find that so very relieving.
Our clinic is a place where you can relax and unwind a bit because you know that you and your healthcare practitioner have created a plan together that is entirely tailored to you, and that you are slowly but surely walking that path together. You are not alone in this.