Natural Alternative Medicine and Fertility Treatments
Fertility is often something many people take for granted. Most people think once they are ready to start a family, they will be able to conceive. But it does not always work out that way. Millions of couples have fertility problems and struggle to have a child.
Common Infertility Causes
Baby making is dependent on many factors including the quality of the egg and sperm, healthy uterus and fallopian tubes, adequate hormone production and right timing for fertilization. When one factor is off, it can affect fertility.
In some cases, a specific cause of infertility can be determined. For example, ovulation irregularities are sometimes to blame. Some women may not release a healthy egg or eggs do not mature. Polycystic ovarian syndrome can also lead to hormonal imbalances that affect egg development. Endometriosis and thin lining of the uterus can also interfere with fertility.
But it’s not just women who may have fertility problems. A low sperm count and poor quality sperm are common causes of male infertility. Fertility also declines with age, especially for women. In some cases, the cause of infertility is not found.
Natural Ways to Boost Fertility
Although fertility treatments including artificial intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF) are an option for some people, they are not always successful. Also, conventional fertility treatments can be emotionally, physically and financially difficult for many people.
Fortunately, there are natural ways to give your fertility a boost. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, making healthy lifestyle choices can often increase a person’s overall wellbeing and their ability to conceive.
Poor nutrition, exposure to certain chemicals and being overweight can negatively affect both a man and a woman’s fertility. Lifestyle changes can make a big difference in fertility. Even couples who are undergoing conventional fertility treatments, such as IVF, can improve their chances of conceiving by improving their overall health.
When it comes to fertility boosting nutrition, there are certain guidelines to keep in mind. For example, limit consumption of processed sugars and starches. Instead, eat complex carbs from foods, such as sweet potatoes, vegetables and whole grains. Include healthy fats in your diet from foods including olives, avocados and nuts. Protein should come from lean grass-fed meats, eggs and beans. Be sure to include plenty of fruits and green leafy veggies in your diet, such as kale, spinach and lettuce. Additional lifestyle changes can also increase your chances of conception. For example, quitting smoking and limiting caffeine and alcohol consumption are an excellent way to improve your health.
It’s also important to get enough sleep. Adequate sleep is essential for your hormones to stay in balance. Chronic sleep deprivation can interfere with ovulation and make conception difficult. Getting regular exercise can also improve your overall health and improve fertility. Just be sure not to overdo it. Too much exercise can have the opposite effect and interfere with ovulation.
Couples trying to conceive may often hear that they just need to relax and it will happen. While that’s not always the case, decreasing stress is helpful when it comes to conception. Stress can affect your fertility in a negative way. For example, stress hormones including cortisol can affect ovulation in some women. Although it may be easier said than done, it’s important to try to reduce stress. Consider trying stress management techniques, such as meditation, yoga, massage, and guided visualization.
Types of Natural and Alternative Medicine Treatments for Infertility
Natural medicine can play an important role in increasing fertility. Several treatments that may be effective in improving a woman’s chances of conceiving include the following:
Hypnosis: Hypnosis is a state of heightened concentration and focus. It can be used to help someone overcome undesirable behaviors and cope with stress and pain.
How it helps: Hypnosis is thought to treat infertility by promoting a deep state of relaxation, which may increase your chances of conceiving.
Herbs: Herbs have been used for thousands of years to treat a variety of conditions. Traditional Japanese and Chinese Medicine herbal formulas such as Dang Gui Shao Yao San, Jia Wei Xiao Yao San, and Wen Jing Tang have been successfully used for various fertility issues. European herbs used for fertility enhancement include nettle leaf, red clover and red raspberry leaf.
How it helps: Herbs can help restore hormonal balance and in some cases, enhance the effects of gonadotrophins, which are often administered during fertility treatments.
Acupuncture: Acupuncture involves placing different size tiny, sharp needles into the skin at strategic points in a person’s body to increase the flow of energy and promote balance in the body.
How it helps: Experts theorize that acupuncture may restore hormonal balance, increase blood flow to reproductive organs and regulate ovulation. In men, acupuncture may improve sperm quality. Learn more about acupuncture and infertility
Chiropractic care: Chiropractic care involves using spinal manipulation and other manual treatments to restore proper function and alignment of the nervous system.
How it helps: Nerves involved in the reproductive organs run through the spine. By manipulating the spine and correcting misalignment of the nerves, hormonal balance can be restored.
Massage therapy: Massage and Reflexology (foot massage) have been frequently used before and during pregnancy. Some shiatsu practitioners also provide abdominal massage, which is intended to remove “blockage” in the pelvic region.
How it helps: As massage can improve circulation, it may provide beneficial effects on reproductive organs. However, the main benefit of massage treatment is relaxation effect. It has been well known that stress can cause hormonal imbalance and affect implantation.
With all the options natural medicine has to offer, how do you know what treatment is best? The type of treatment you opt for may depend on the cause of your fertility problems. For example, if you are anxious and stressed, treatments that promote relaxation may be beneficial. If you have inconsistent ovulation or irregular menstruation cycle, herbs that regulate hormone production might help. In some cases, the combinations of different treatments may be needed to obtain optimal results.
Regardless of which natural fertility treatment you try, it’s essential to have a consultation with a properly trained practitioner. It’s also important to let your practitioner know about any fertility treatments or medications you are currently taking.
Natural Fertility Treatment using Acupuncture and Moxibustion
- To enhance a chance of pregnancy naturally without drugs
- To compliment conventional fertility therapy such as IUI (sperm washing) or cycle monitoring
- To increase the success of upcoming IVF procedures (fresh cycle, frozen transfer, donor cycle etc.)
- Seeking complimentary treatment for female health conditions such as: endometriosis, uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, PCOS, dysmenorrhea (painful menses), irregular menstruation, thin uterine lining, and hormonal imbalances (i.e. elevated day3 FSH, thyroid dysfunction etc.)
- Recurrent early miscarriages
Infertility and Acupuncture FAQ
- Infertility and Acupuncture FAQ 1: Acupuncture and Reproductive Health
- Infertility and Acupuncture FAQ 2: Fertility Acupuncture Procedures
- Infertility and Acupuncture FAQ 3: Acupuncture and Assisted Reproductive Technologies
- Infertility and Acupuncture FAQ 4: Fertility Diet, Nutrition, and Lifestyle
- Infertility and Acupuncture FAQ 5: Infertility and Acupuncture References
More Information about Infertility and Acupuncture
- Acupuncture Points used for Infertility
- Acupuncture Success Stories
- Randomized Controlled Trials of Acupuncture with IVF Treatment
- Controlled Trials of Acupuncture on Gynecological Conditions (Dysmenorrhea, PMS, PCOS, Anovulation)