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Infertility: Acupuncture Treatment


Infertility can be due to factors in either partner. In men, it may be due to low sperm motility or count, while in women, causes include fallopian tube blockage, irregular or absent ovulation, and vaginal mucosal incompatibility with sperm. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are widely used to treat various types of male and female infertility, showing certain effectiveness and having been studied for their mechanisms of action.


Acupuncture has been affirmed in several studies for improving sperm quality and enhancing male fertility.


Reports of acupuncture effectively treating female infertility mainly focus on cases due to luteal insufficiency, menstrual disorders, and fallopian tube blockage.


Auricular acupuncture is a valuable alternative therapy for infertility caused by hormonal imbalances in women.


The mechanism of acupuncture in treating female infertility is multifaceted. One aspect is promoting ovulation and restoring normal menstrual cycles. Anovulation is a common cause of female infertility. Clinical observations have shown that acupuncture can normalize the ovulation process and menstrual cycles in patients with secondary amenorrhea (chronic anovulation), accompanied by changes in serum follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), and follicle size. This effect is likely achieved by regulating the hypothalamus-pituitary-ovarian axis and rebalancing hormones.


Another aspect is improving uterine blood circulation and normalizing menstruation (in terms of quantity). Additionally, acupuncture can improve fallopian tube blockage. Combining acupuncture with oral Chinese herbal decoctions has shown an effectiveness rate of up to 81% in treating tubal obstruction infertility.


Since acupuncture can improve sperm quality, it's beneficial to treat the male partner with acupuncture, especially a few days before the female partner's ovulation period, even when the male's sperm count and quality are normal. This appears to enhance the chances of conception. Clinically, treatment usually focuses on the female partner for several menstrual cycles initially, and if the results are not apparent, the male partner is also treated. The treatment frequency doesn't need to be high; 2-3 sessions of acupuncture in the week before ovulation can be sufficient. This approach is sometimes referred to as "couple's treatment." Recent reports suggest that a comprehensive approach combining acupuncture, osteopathic therapy, and couple's treatment can achieve an overall effectiveness rate of up to 88%.

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