26. January 2017 · Comments Off · Categories: Acupuncture, Fertility, Infertility

A pilot pragmatic trial carried out in Australia suggests that acupuncture can halve the time taken for sub-fertile women to conceive. Fifty-six sub/infertile women were offered either acupuncture plus lifestyle modification, or lifestyle modification only. Acupuncture was administered weekly over a three-month period using a manualised TCM treatment protocol, and was tailored to each patient’s TCM diagnosis, menstrual cycle phase, emotional state, biomedical condition and presenting signs and symptoms. Results indicated a statistically significant increase in fertility awareness in the acupuncture group compared to lifestyle only participants. There was no statistical difference in the pregnancy rate, with seven women achieving pregnancy during the course of the study intervention, however those receiving acupuncture conceived within an average of 5.5 weeks, compared to 10.67 weeks for the lifestyle only group.
Prior to Conception: The Role of an Acupuncture Protocol in Improving Women’s Reproductive Functioning Assessed by a Pilot Pragmatic Randomised Controlled Trial. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2016;2016:3587569.

26. January 2017 · Comments Off · Categories: Electro-Acupuncture, Infertility, Pregnancy

Electro-acupuncture (EA) may improve reproductive hormone levels in patients with diminished ovarian reserve (DOR), according to preliminary research from China. Twenty-one patients with DOR received EA over 12 weeks (five times a week for four weeks, followed by three times a week for eight weeks). Standardised EA treatment was provided using two alternating point prescriptions: A (Zhongliao BL-33) and B (Tianshu ST-25, Zigong M-CA-18 and Zhongji REN-4). Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) levels were observed to fall by almost half from baseline to week 12, and this decrease persisted until 12 weeks post-treatment, with no significant side effects. In addition, oestradiol and luteinising hormone (LH) levels, FSH/LH ratios and irritability scores were improved at weeks 12 and 24. Approximately 30% of patients reported subjective increases in menstrual volume after treatment.
Electroacupuncture for reproductive hormone levels in patients with diminished ovarian reserve: a prospective observational study. Acupunct Med. 2016 May 13. pii: acupmed-2015-011014.

12. November 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Chinese Herbal Medicine, Infertility

A systematic review by Australian authors suggests that management of female infertility with Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) can improve pregnancy rates two-fold within a three to six month period, compared with Western medical fertility drug therapy (WM). Forty RCTs involving 4247 women with infertility were included in their systematic review. Meta-analysis suggested a 1.74 higher probability of achieving a pregnancy with CHM therapy than with WM alone amongst women with infertility. Trials included women with PCOS, endometriosis, anovulation, fallopian tube blockage and unexplained infertility. Mean pregnancy rates in the CHM group were 60% compared with 33% in the WM group. (Chinese herbal medicine for female infertility: an updated meta-analysis. Complement Ther Med. 2015 Feb;23(1):116-28).

Acupuncture can help reduce stress for women experiencing infertility, according to Australian researchers. In a pilot study, 32 women with a history of infertility received six sessions of acupuncture over eight weeks. At the end of the intervention, women in the acupuncture group described the impact of acupuncture as positive. Significant changes on scores relating to infertility stress, and a trend toward improved self-efficacy and less anxiety were reported in the acupuncture group compared with a wait-list control group. After treatment women described increased physical relaxation and psychological calmness, as well as a changed perspective in relation to coping. (The effect of acupuncture on psychosocial outcomes for women experiencing infertility: a pilot randomized controlled trial. J Altern Complement Med. 2011 Oct;17(10):923-30).

A systematic review by US authors has concluded that Chinese herbal medicine may increase the effectiveness of infertility treatment with the drug clomiphene citrate (CC). Fourteen randomised studies representing 1316 patients met their inclusion criteria. Four studies (n=315) reported a 14% higher likelihood of biphasic basal body temperatures. Six studies (n=604) reported a non-significant 18% increase in ovulation rates. Two studies (n=138) reported subjects 78% more likely to have endometrial lining greater than 6mm. Thirteen studies (n=1202) reported a 50% increase in pregnancy rates. The authors noted the poor methodological quality and small sample size of published trials and called for more rigorously controlled studies. (Chinese herbal medicine and clomiphene citrate for anovulation: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. J Altern Complement Med. 2011 May;17(5):397-405).