Acupuncture for Infertility and Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

January 23, 2023 8:57 pm151 commentsViews: 359

The practice of acupuncture began in China around 2,500 years ago, although this is only an estimation. The first needles that were used were made out of stone and later, bronze, silver and gold. People who practiced acupuncture were always doctors because rather than being an alternative medicine, it was the medicine of the time.

It was usually very effective at treating a variety of illnesses, which is one of the reasons it has persisted for so many centuries. The first time that acupuncture was practiced by people who were not medical doctors was in 1972 and the practice has steadily increased in popularity. For instance, by 2007, the UK had over 2,800 acupuncturists.

Many of them have become fertility experts in their field as large numbers of women come to them, suffering from gynaecological and fertility problems.

Acupuncturists Are the New Fertility Experts

In a recent study in Fertility and Sterility, 15% of 861 practitioners said that fertility treatments made up a large percentage of their work load. 80% of those surveyed said their fertility work involved helping the couple to achieve conception and more than 60% had specialist training in the area of reproductive health. They concluded:

‘A minority of acupuncturists have become specialists in supporting fertility issues.’

So is acupuncture merely a fad that has continued for years because of tradition, or is there medical validity for it?

Treatment for Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Research has demonstrated it to be effective at treating pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), an infection of the pelvic organs that can cause infertility. In severe cases, PID requires a hysterectomy to resolve the problem.

A 1989 study of PID patients looked at who had failed to respond to previous courses of antibiotics for the disease and later had acupuncture and Chinese herbs and compared them with patients currently taking antibiotics.

They found that the group who had acupuncture and Chinese herbs showed improvements in 88.4% of cases and of those, 46% got complete relief from all their symptoms.

The antibiotic group had a 52% improvement rate with only 16% attaining complete relief from all their symptoms.

Acupuncture is as Effective as Fertility Drugs

A more recent 2002 study found that women who had no fertility treatments were just as likely to conceive as women who had taken fertility drugs. The study authors hypothesised that it may be because acupuncture stimulates the production of endorphins, which in turn influence gonadotropin and thereby have an effect on the menstrual cycle of the woman.

For those who have been having trouble conceiving or have PID, acupuncture might pleasantly surprising results.


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