Whether you are struggling to conceive naturally, or whether you are planning or undergoing assisted conception such as IVF, acupuncture might help. I have found it incredibly rewarding to play a part in helping couples get the baby they have been longing for.
We think that the acupuncture may work in a number of ways:
Firstly, by helping patients to relax. The longer the wait for a much-wanted pregnancy, the more stressful the waiting becomes. Acupuncture can help reduce stress and anxiety symptoms and improve sleep, promoting better health and well-being.
Secondly, acupuncture may improve the blood supply to the ovaries and uterus, possibly increasing the likelihood of ovulation or implantation. Some studies suggest that acupuncture at the time of embryo transfer may increase the chances of a successful pregnancy.
Finally, there is some evidence that acupuncture can affect the levels of fertility hormones.
There is more information on female fertility here and male fertility here. Please remember I am not endorsing treatment from any particular BAcC members.
Acupuncture in Pregnancy
There is an increasing evidence base to show that, if properly performed, acupuncture is perfectly safe in pregnancy. It is most often used to treat nausea, pelvic / back pain or breech presentation. It is also used in preparation for or induction of labour as well as most of the other general conditions mentioned on the Treatments page. I also do an increasing number of “birth prep” treatments, which may be particularly helpful for patients who have had previous Caesarean Sections or forceps deliveries and wish to try for a normal delivery in their next pregnancy.
There is quite a variable evidence base for these conditions and I am happy to discuss in more detail with individual patients.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
PCOS is a complex metabolic condition which can affect fertility. There is an increasingly firm evidence base supporting the use of acupuncture for PCOS patients.
It is thought that acupuncture has an effect on the nerve supply to the ovaries, influencing blood supply and hormone production.
Acupuncture has been shown in some trials to reduce both the physical and emotional symptoms associated with menopause. In my experience, it can work very well for some people, but not all. The menopause can last for many years. If acupuncture helps, you can have treatment for as long as you need without worrying about the risk of drug-related side effects.
We think that acupuncture helps by regulating specific hormones involved in menopause processes, by regulating blood chemicals and so helping you feel calmer and more relaxed, and by affecting the excessive blood flow to the skin which causes flushes.
Other Gynaecological Conditions
Other gynaecological or hormonal conditions which can respond to acupuncture may include: – pelvic pain, endometriosis symptoms, overactive bladder / urge incontinence, interstitial cystitis, and menstrual disorders.
For further information please contact me directly.
There is variability in the evidence base for the above conditions, so for more information please see the relevant fact sheets here (Please remember I am not endorsing treatment from any particular BAcC members.)