Acupuncture, Fertility and Women Health

  •  Does acupuncture help Infertility? 

Research (57 infertile patients undergoing IVF or IVF) from University of Pittsburgh, Magee-Womens Hospital indicated patients pregnancy with acupuncture  64.7%,  without acupuncture 42.5%.

The acupuncture regimen was associated with less stress both before and after embryo transfer, and it possibly improved pregnancy rates. Lower perceived stress at the time of embryo transfer may play a role in an improved pregnancy rate. For details please visit  PubMed or PDF.

Review: Clinical Research into Acupuncture and Fertility

 The following is a conclusion from a review  that have summarized the role of acupuncture in fertility:
“Acupuncture has been used to treat infertility extensively, including ovulatory dysfunction, in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer (IVF-ET), and male infertility.  This review summarizes the recent studies which investigated the role of acupuncture in infertility.  In conclusion, most of the existing studies suggest a positive effect of acupuncture in infertility treatment.  Firstly, acupuncture may improve ovulation by modulating the central and peripheral nervous systems, the neuroendocrine and endocrine systems, the ovarian blood flow, and metabolism.  Secondly, acupuncture can improve the outcome of IVF-ET, and the mechanisms may be related to the increased uterine blood flow, inhibited uterine motility, and the anesis of depression, anxiety and stress.  Its effect on modulating the immune function also suggest helpfulness in improving the outcome of IVF-ET. Finally, the studies suggest that acupuncture plays a positive role in male infertility, the mechanism of which is not yet clear.  Even though a positive effect of acupuncture in infertility has been found, well-designed multi-centre, prospective randomized controlled studies are still needed to provide more reliable and valid scientific evidence. Furthermore, it is urgent and necessary to clarify the mechanism of acupuncture for infertility.”  (Huang et al, 2011)

More details for  individual studies —

Moy, L. Milad, MP. Barnes, R. et al . Randomized controlled trial:  effects of acupuncture on pregnancy rates in women undergoing in vitro fertilization.  Fertility and Sterility, 2011.

Westergaard, LG. Mao, Q. Krogslund, M. et al.  J. Acupuncture on the day of embryo transfer significantly improves the reproductive outcome in infertile women:  a prospective, randomized trial.  Fertility and Sterility, 2006.

Dieterle, S. Ying. G. Hatzmann, W.  et al:  Effects of acupuncture on the outcome of in vitro fertilization and intracytoplasmic sperm injection: a randomized, prospective, controlled clinical study. Fertility and Sterility, 2006.  

Paulus, W. Zhang, M. Strehler, et al: Influence of acupunture on the pregnancy rate in patients who undergo assisted reproduction therapy, Fertil Steril. 2006 2002

Chang, R. Chung, PH. Rozenwaks, Z: Role of Acupuncture in the treatment of female infertility. Fertility and Sterility, 2002.

  • Does Acupuncture help post-operation Lymphoedema ?

Clinical Trial from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center indicated Acupuncture for breast cancer related lymphedema appears safe and may reduce arm circumference. “Although these results await confirmation in a randomized trial, acupuncture can be considered for women with no other options for sustained arm circumference reduction.”   (For more information please visit PubMed3, or PDF)

A study from Japan indicated that  acupuncture is also helpful for Patients of carcinoma of the uterine cervix and body, or for ovarian cancer undergoing intrapelvic lymph node dissection.  (PDF for this article)

  •  How does acupuncture relieve pains?

Scholars from Duke University Medical Center searched the databases of Medline from 1966 to 2007 and concluded “Perioperative acupuncture may be a useful adjunct for acute postoperative pain management.”Postoperative pain intensity was also significantly decreased in the acupuncture group compared with the control group. The acupuncture treatment group was associated with a lower incidence of opioid-related side-effects such as nausea, dizziness, sedation, pruritus and urinary retention. For details please visit  PubMed.

More EBP evidence to come soon !!!