Tag Archive for: acupuncture for fertility

Relationship Between Acupuncture and IVF

A Brief History of the Relationship Between Acupuncture and IVF

Introduction

In the journey to parenthood, many couples and individuals explore various methods to enhance their fertility. Two such methods, acupuncture and In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), have become increasingly intertwined over the years.

While IVF is a marvel of modern medical technology, acupuncture is rooted in ancient Chinese medicine. Together, they form a holistic approach that many fertility seekers find both effective and reassuring.

Historical Background

Acupuncture dates back thousands of years and is a cornerstone of traditional Chinese medicine. It involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body to balance energy flow, known as “Qi.” For centuries, acupuncture has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including fertility issues. Ancient texts document its use in regulating menstrual cycles and enhancing reproductive health.

In the early 2000s, the medical community began to recognize the potential benefits of combining acupuncture and IVF treatments. Acupuncture was found to help alleviate some of the side effects associated with fertility medications, such as thinning of the endometrial lining, which is crucial for successful embryo transfer. This integration marked the beginning of a significant partnership between the two methods, providing hope to many seeking to expand their families.

Acupuncture and IVF in the Early 2000s

As IVF became more refined in the early 2000s, the role of acupuncture evolved alongside it. Initially, acupuncture was used to support the administration of early medications for egg priming. Patients undergoing fresh embryo transfers found that acupuncture could mitigate side effects, making the process more comfortable and potentially more successful.

During this period, acupuncture was not just an adjunct treatment; it became a vital component of the fertility journey for many. Its ability to enhance blood flow to the reproductive organs, reduce stress, and improve overall well-being made it a popular choice among those undergoing IVF.

Fertility specialists frequently observed that patients who incorporated acupuncture into their IVF treatment “just did better,” experiencing higher success rates and fewer complications.

The Shift to Frozen Transfers

As IVF technology advanced, frozen embryo transfers (FET) became more common. Although the process shifted, the benefits of acupuncture remained relevant. Acupuncture continued to play a crucial role in:

  • Increasing blood flow to the ovaries: This support enhanced the growth of eggs and improved ovarian function.
  • Calming patients: Reducing anxiety is essential for a successful IVF cycle, and acupuncture’s calming effects were invaluable.
  • Mitigating medication side effects: Patients often experienced fewer adverse reactions when combining acupuncture with their IVF protocol.

Reproductive endocrinologists (REs) consistently noted that their patients who received acupuncture alongside IVF treatments exhibited better outcomes, reinforcing the importance of this combined approach.

Acupuncture and Fertility: How It Works

Acupuncture impacts the body’s systems in several ways, which can be particularly beneficial for fertility:

  • Hormonal Balance: Acupuncture can help balance hormones by regulating the endocrine system, which is critical for ovulation and implantation.
  • Improved Blood Flow: Enhanced circulation to the reproductive organs optimizes their function and creates a more conducive environment for embryo implantation.
  • Stress Reduction: Managing stress levels is crucial during fertility treatments. Acupuncture promotes relaxation and reduces cortisol levels, improving overall mental and physical well-being.

These physiological benefits make acupuncture a valuable ally in supporting IVF processes.

Evidence and Studies

Research on the combined approach of acupuncture and IVF has yielded promising results. Key findings include:

  • Studies have shown increased pregnancy rates among women who received acupuncture before and after embryo transfer compared to those who did not.
  • Research indicates that acupuncture can improve ovarian response to stimulation, leading to better-quality eggs and embryos.
  • Some studies highlight the reduction in miscarriage rates and improved live birth rates among acupuncture patients.

While these findings are encouraging, it’s essential to acknowledge the limitations. Not all studies show significant differences, and individual responses to acupuncture can vary.

However, the overarching trend suggests that acupuncture can be a beneficial complement to IVF treatments.

Conclusion

The relationship between acupuncture and IVF is a testament to the power of integrating ancient wisdom with modern science. This holistic approach offers a beacon of hope and a pathway to enhanced fertility for many individuals and couples. By understanding the history and benefits of this combined method, you can make informed decisions about your fertility journey.

If you’re considering IVF, explore the potential benefits of incorporating acupuncture into your treatment plan with professional guidance. Consult with your fertility specialist and an experienced acupuncturist to tailor a program that supports your unique needs.

Embark on a journey that balances the best of both worlds and opens new horizons in your pursuit of parenthood. For more insights and personalized advice, reach out to our team and discover how acupuncture and IVF can work together for you.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation or learn more about our services.

Lokahi Acupuncture
408.279.9001
Follow us on Instagram
Make an Appointment

Can Traditional Chinese Medicine Support Male Fertility

How Can Traditional Chinese Medicine Support Male Fertility

Navigating the Path to Parenthood

Understanding the challenges and questions surrounding male fertility is crucial in today’s world, where more and more couples find themselves seeking support on their journey to parenthood. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), including acupuncture and herbal remedies, offers a holistic approach to support male fertility that many have found beneficial. Below, we address some of the most frequently asked questions, offering hope and clarity on how traditional Chinese medicine can support male fertility.

Can Traditional Chinese Medicine Support Male Fertility?

Absolutely. Traditional Chinese Medicine views the body as a whole system and aims to enhance overall well-being, including fertility. By improving balance within the body, Traditional Chinese Medicine can positively impact sperm quality and male reproductive health.

How Can Acupuncture Support Male Fertility?

Acupuncture, a key component of Traditional Chinese Medicine, is known to reduce stress and improve circulation.

For male fertility, specific acupuncture points are targeted to enhance the flow of energy (Qi) and blood to the reproductive organs, supporting healthier sperm production.

Can Traditional Chinese Medicine Improve Sperm Quality?

Yes, studies have shown that Traditional Chinese Medicine treatments, including acupuncture and herbal remedies, can improve sperm motility, morphology, and count, contributing to improved overall sperm quality.

Can Traditional Chinese Medicine Support Male Fertility by Addressing Underlying Factors Contributing to Male Infertility, Such as Stress?

Stress is a known factor that can negatively affect fertility. Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture specifically are recognized for their ability to lower stress levels, promoting a more balanced internal environment conducive to reproductive health.

Are Lifestyle and Dietary Recommendations Included in the Treatment Plan?

A comprehensive treatment plan in Traditional Chinese Medicine often includes lifestyle and dietary adjustments tailored to the individual’s specific needs, further supporting fertility and overall health.

Can Traditional Chinese Medicine Improve Male Libido and Erectile Dysfunction?

Yes. By focusing on the underlying imbalances within the body, Traditional Chinese Medicine treatments can enhance libido and address erectile dysfunction, supporting a healthier sexual function.

Are Supplements Recommended to Support Male Infertility?

In many cases, your Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner may recommend specific supplements or herbal formulas to address deficiencies and support sperm health, always in conjunction with a holistic treatment plan.

Will My Provider Work Alongside My Doctor or RE?

Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners often collaborate with Western medical doctors, including reproductive endocrinologists (REs), to provide integrated care that supports your fertility goals.

Is There a Specific Timeline or Treatment Frequency That Is Best?

Treatment plans are highly individualized. However, it’s common for practitioners to recommend regular sessions over several months to align with sperm production cycles and maximize benefits.

Do the Needles Hurt?

Acupuncture needles are extremely thin, and their insertion is generally painless. Some individuals may experience a mild sensation, but discomfort is minimal.

What Do I Wear to an Acupuncture Treatment?

Wear loose, comfortable clothing that allows easy access to acupuncture points, typically found on the legs, arms, and abdomen.

Should My Partner Receive Acupuncture, Too?

While each case is unique, acupuncture can be beneficial for both partners, enhancing fertility and reducing stress for both individuals involved in the journey.

Will the Needles Be Placed Near or On My Reproductive Organs?

No, acupuncture points related to fertility are located in areas away from the reproductive organs, such as the lower abdomen, legs, and back.

Can Chinese Herbs Support Male Infertility?

Yes, when prescribed by a knowledgeable practitioner, Chinese herbs can be a powerful adjunct to acupuncture, specifically formulated to address individual imbalances impacting fertility.

Can Traditional Chinese Medicine or Acupuncture Treat Varicocele?

While Traditional Chinese medicine cannot “treat” varicocele in the conventional sense, it can improve the symptoms and overall health of individuals with this condition in turn helping support male fertility overall.

If I Don’t Have a Diagnosis of Male Infertility, Will Acupuncture Still Support My Fertility?

Certainly. Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese medicine are about promoting optimal health and balance within the body, which can support male fertility even in the absence of a specific infertility diagnosis.

If We’re Using ICSI, Do I Still Need to Support Sperm Quality?

Improving sperm quality can contribute to the overall success of ICSI and other assisted reproductive technologies by potentially enhancing embryo development.

How Can Traditional Chinese Medicine Support My Journey If Using a Sperm Donor?

Traditional Chinese medicine can support your physical and emotional health during this process, enhancing resilience as you pursue your chosen path to parenthood.

After Losing a Pregnancy, Can Acupuncture Offer Support?

The grief and stress experienced after a pregnancy loss can be profound. Acupuncture can offer significant emotional support, helping to manage grief and stress. Additionally, by supporting sperm health, the probability of future miscarriages due to chromosomal abnormalities may be reduced.

Navigating the complexities of male fertility can be challenging, but it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. Traditional Chinese Medicine offers a compassionate, holistic approach to support your fertility and well-being.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation or learn more about our services.

Lokahi Acupuncture
408.279.9001
Follow us on Instagram
Make an Appointment

Diminished Ovarian Reserve & Acupuncture

Diminished Ovarian Reserve & Acupuncture: A Beacon of Hope

Navigating the complexities of fertility can sometimes feel like a solitary and challenging path, especially when faced with a diagnosis like Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR).

It’s understandable that such news can bring a host of emotions and questions. But it’s essential to remember, you’re not alone.

Today’s blog aims to shed light on how Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and acupuncture can offer a supportive hand in your fertility journey, backed by both ancient wisdom and modern research.

Understanding Diminished Ovarian Reserve

Diminished Ovarian Reserve (aka: DOR or low ovarian reserve) can be defined as the reduction of normal reproductive potential of the ovaries. Over time, ovarian reserve naturally declines with age resulting in age related diminished ovarian reserve.

Diminished Ovarian Reserve may also occur due to other causes not related to age such as:

  • genetics
  • previous medical treatments
  • injuries
  • endometriosis
  • and other reasons

Unfortunately, DOR and reduced egg quality tend to go hand in hand potentially leading to infertility and an increased risk of miscarriage.

From a Western medical viewpoint, DOR is a pivotal concern in infertility, and various treatments may be suggested by reproductive endocrinologists such as medicated timed intercourse, IUI and/or IVF.

Diminished Ovarian Reserve is diagnosed by using a combination of labs and imaging. A transvaginal ultrasound is used to determine Antral Follicle Count (AFC) and bloodwork is used to check labs such as Anti Mullerian Hormone (AMH), Follicular Stimulating Hormone (FSH), and estradiol.

While Western medical approaches serve as a beacon of hope, they can also be physically and emotionally taxing. This is where the gentle, yet potent, support of TCM begins to shine through the uncertainty.

Traditional Chinese Medicine Perspective on Diminished Ovarian Reserve

TCM views health and fertility as a balance of energy and bodily functions. When it comes to Diminished Ovarian Reserve, TCM practitioners look at the harmony of specific organ systems, considering factors like kidney energy and blood flow to understand the roots of the condition. It’s a holistic framework that envelops your entire being — body, mind, and spirit.

“Every woman’s health tells a story,” as noted by TCM practitioner Jane Lyttleton, “and in TCM, we aim to understand that narrative fully to guide her towards overall well-being and improved fertility.”

Acupuncture as a Supportive Ally

Acupuncture has come to the forefront as a valuable support system for enhancing fertility. It’s intricately designed to not only promote better blood flow to the reproductive organs (thus protecting ovarian reserve and enhancing egg quality), but also to harmonize the energy flow, or Qi, fostering a more conducive environment for conception.

According to Randine Lewis, another renowned voice in the field, “Acupuncture is a twofold blessing. It acts as a standalone therapy and yet harmoniously complements Western treatments like IVF, elevating both the physical and emotional resilience of our patients.”

Frequency and Application

Often, a strategy involving regular treatment sessions is recommended to maximize benefits. A Diminished Ovarian Reserve diagnosis tends to benefit from consistent acupuncture treatments averaging from once to twice weekly. Based on where an individual is on their journey, acupuncture may be recommended alongside actively trying to conceive or in the months leading up to and alongside trying to conceive (this may include trying to conceive naturally, gearing up for egg freezing and/or all ART treatments).

This being said, every individual is unique and requires a detailed health assessment and TCM diagnosis prior to being prescribed a definitive treatment plan. Oftentimes TCM herbal formulas, in addition to supplement, lifestyle and dietary recommendations, are also encouraged and provided. Whether your path includes natural conception efforts, medicated timed intercourse, IUI cycles or IVF, acupuncture is tailored to work synergistically with your chosen approach.

A Journey Filled with Hope

The pursuit of fertility is deeply personal and occasionally arduous, yet you can find solace in knowing that there’s a wealth of knowledge and support at your fingertips. At the heart of our practice lies a commitment to nurturing hope and providing expert, compassionate care.

“The confluence of TCM and modern fertility treatments represents a frontier of untapped potential,” says Lee Hollander Rubin, echoing a sentiment of optimism and empowerment for those on this path.

The presence of research-backed TCM methodologies — and specifically acupuncture — in the realm of fertility, offers a promising avenue that’s been embraced by many seeking additional support. Our practitioners are not only educated and informed but are genuinely invested in your fertility journey, ready to stand beside you with empathy and expert guidance.

In Summary

Diminished Ovarian Reserve doesn’t mark the end of the road; it’s simply a curve that requires careful navigation. With the integrative approaches of TCM, including the beneficial application of acupuncture, you are illuminated with additional avenues towards achieving your dream of parenthood.

Our practitioners are here, equipped with knowledge and a deep understanding, to walk with you — step-by-step — on this profoundly personal and life-affirming quest. There is healing, there is hope, and above all, there’s a community rooting for your success.

Are you ready to explore how TCM can complement and enhance your fertility journey? Reach out to us; your story of growth and transformation awaits.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation or learn more about our services.

Lokahi Acupuncture
408.279.9001
Follow us on Instagram
Make an Appointment

Acupuncture Through the Journey of Parenthood

Acupuncture Through the Journey of Parenthood

by Susannah Lee, LA

Acupuncture from Conception to Postpartum

Becoming a parent is one of life’s most beautiful yet challenging experiences. It’s a time filled with anticipation, joy, and inevitably some stress and physical discomfort.

Whether you’re just starting on your path towards conception or you’re navigating the postpartum period, acupuncture may offer a harmonizing support to your body’s natural rhythms and healing processes.

The Hope in Every Needle: Acupuncture and Fertility

For those trying to conceive, the road can sometimes be frustratingly unpredictable. But amidst the uncertainty, acupuncture emerges as a beacon of hope — a traditional practice with roots reaching back through centuries, now supporting the modern-day miracle of conception.

Harmonizing Your Cycle

Regular menstrual cycles and proper ovulation are keystones of fertility. Acupuncture, known for promoting balance and reducing stress, can help regulate your cycle and enhance ovulation. By stimulating the flow of qi, or life energy, and blood throughout the body, this ancient technique encourages a more fertile ground for conception.

Empowering Egg Quality

The quality of eggs is crucial, and research has indicated that acupuncture can improve this aspect of fertility. Sessions of carefully placed fine needles might just be your ally in optimizing egg health, making the conception process more welcoming for new life.

A Stress-Free Sanctuary

Stress is a well-known antagonist in the pregnancy narrative, often uninvited and persistent. Acupuncture offers a respite, inviting calmness into the body’s hectic script. By relieving stress, this modality of treatment not only supports emotional resilience but also nurtures fertility.

Your Pregnancy Partner: Acupuncture for a Serene Journey

Pregnancy is often accompanied by a cast of less-welcomed symptoms — nausea, pain, and insomnia. Acupuncture steps in as a compassionate companion, easing these common discomforts.

Navigating Nausea and Pain

Morning sickness can overshadow the early days of pregnancy. Acupuncture gently and effectively minimizes nausea, allowing you to savor the joy of your growing miracle without constant discomfort. Additionally, it offers non-pharmacological relief from common pregnancy-related pains such as low backaches, sciatica, and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Energizing Through Fatigue

Pregnancy fatigue can be all-consuming. Acupuncture, with its holistic approach, might just be the natural pick-me-up you need. By restoring the body’s balance, it can help bolster energy levels, making room for radiant vitality amidst the exhaustion.

Restful Nights and Digestive Comfort

For too many expecting mothers, restorative sleep can feel just out of reach, and digestion might seem like a daily puzzle. Acupuncture ushers in tranquility and digestive order, smoothing the path towards restful nights and comfortable days.

The Postpartum Promise

After childbirth, recovery is paramount. Acupuncture shines in this critical stage by supporting the body, mind and spirit.

Nurturing Your Emotional Well-being in the Postpartum Phase

The silence around postpartum emotional health is gradually being broken, shining light on the importance of mental and emotional care during this significant life transition. Postpartum depression and anxiety, while common, should not be considered a norm that mothers must silently endure.

Just as it aids in physical recovery, acupuncture can play a crucial role in emotional healing as well. The calming practice invites a sense of peace, helping to alleviate the overwhelming feelings of anxiety or depression that can sometimes follow childbirth. Its gentle stimulation of the body’s energy flow can contribute to a balanced emotional state, providing a sanctuary of tranquility for new mothers navigating the complex emotions of the postpartum period.

Remember, seeking help is a sign of strength, and taking care of your emotional health is just as important as your physical recovery. Acupuncture could be the supportive friend you need, one that soothes the spirit and fosters mental serenity. Together, with professional guidance and a nurturing approach, we can create a postpartum experience that celebrates both the joys and challenges of new motherhood.

Nurturing Your Physical Recovery

The postpartum period is a time of profound physical and emotional adjustment, and your body deserves gentle, nurturing care as it recovers from the miracle of childbirth.

Acupuncture stands out as a supportive healing practice, focusing on accelerating recovery (whether your birth was vaginal or via c-section), alleviating pain, and restoring strength. By targeting specific points on the body, it helps in reducing the swelling and discomfort that are often experienced after delivery, promoting a quicker return to harmonized health.

This ancient art goes beyond just physical recovery; it holistically addresses your wellbeing, ensuring that as you step into your new role, you do so with vitality and balance.

Remember, prioritizing your recovery is not just about healing; it’s about empowering yourself in this new chapter of life. Your wellbeing is the foundation from which you can offer the best care to your newborn.

Consider acupuncture not just as a treatment but as a companion in your postpartum recovery, guiding you gently back to your fullest, most vibrant self.

A Call to Wellness

If you’re ready to explore how acupuncture can support your family’s beginnings, we invite you to reach out and begin your own healing story. Connect with our licensed acupuncturists who can guide you with empathy and expertise on a truly individualized path to wellness.

Your aspirations for health, comfort, and balance are valid and achievable — sometimes it just takes the soft touch of acupuncture to reveal the strength already present within your body. Embark on this nurturing path and discover how such an ancient practice can beautifully complement your modern experience of becoming a parent.

Contact us today and take a compassionate step towards holistic health and harmony as you travel the profound path from conception to postpartum.

Lokahi Acupuncture
408.279.9001
Follow us on Instagram
Make an Appointment

Acupuncture for Fertility: What You Should Know

Acupuncture for Fertility: What You Should Know

Facing infertility and fertility struggles can be a daunting and prolonged journey.

Fortunately, there are various treatment options available to couples seeking to conceive. Acupuncture, both as a standalone therapy, and in conjunction with Western medicine, is one approach to enhance the effectiveness of fertility treatments.

In this blog post, we will explore the role of acupuncture in addressing fertility challenges, its mechanisms, and essential considerations before embarking on this treatment path.

Acupuncture is a form of Chinese medicine that involves the use of needles to stimulate specific points on the body.

The practice has been around for thousands of years and is known for its ability to promote physical and emotional wellbeing. Acupuncture for fertility involves the insertion of needles into specific points of the body, with the aim of improving reproductive function.

Studies have found that acupuncture can increase the success rate of fertility treatments such as IVF, IUI, and hormone therapy. Acupuncture also helps alleviate side effects associated with these treatments, including pain, nausea, and fatigue. Furthermore, acupuncture is non-invasive, painless, and low-cost, thus making it an attractive complement to modern fertility procedures.

It is important to note that fertility is a journey, and we highly recommend that both partners undergo acupuncture treatment.

This helps reduce stress and anxiety, enhances the overall experience, and increases the chances of a successful outcome. We believe that acupuncture can be a helpful adjunct to modern fertility treatments, and we’re dedicated to helping our patients achieve their dream of starting a family.

Acupuncture for fertility is a safe, painless, and low-cost complement to modern fertility treatments.

It works by stimulating specific points on the body to improve reproductive function and increase the success rate of fertility treatments.

At Lokahi Acupuncture, we take a comprehensive approach to fertility treatment, examining every aspect of our patients’ lives to develop an actionable treatment plan. We believe that a holistic approach to fertility treatment improves the overall experience and the chances of a successful outcome.

Research:

  • “The status and future of acupuncture mechanism research” – This study explores the mechanisms of acupuncture and its potential benefits in enhancing the success of IVF treatments. Source
  • “The role of acupuncture in the management of subfertility” – This research reviews studies on the effects of acupuncture on IVF outcomes and discusses its potential role in improving fertility. Source
  • “Acupuncture and in vitro fertilization research: Current and future directions” – This article examines the current use of acupuncture alongside IVF cycles and highlights its long-standing history in supporting fertility. Source
  • “Use of acupuncture in female infertility and a summary of recent acupuncture studies related to embryo transfer” – This study summarizes recent research on the effects of acupuncture before and after embryo transfer and its impact on pregnancy rates. Source
  • “Development of a fertility acupuncture protocol: defining an acupuncture treatment protocol to support and treat women experiencing conception delays” – This research focuses on developing a consensus among acupuncture fertility specialists to establish an effective treatment protocol for women experiencing conception delays. Source

Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any further inquiries or concerns or schedule a free consultation here.

Anna Rudel
San Jose Acupuncturist
408.279.9001
Follow us on Instagram
Make an Appointment

Choosing the right fertility supplements for you!

Choosing the Right Fertility Supplements for You

When it comes to fertility, there are many options and fertility supplements available to help couples conceive.

Acupuncture, Traditional East Asian Medicine, and even fertility treatments can all be beneficial when trying to conceive a baby. But what about supplements? With so many options on the market, it can be hard to know which ones are right for you.

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some of the most popular supplements used by couples trying to get pregnant and discuss their potential benefits.

Choosing the Right Fertility Supplements

Folic acid

Folic acid is one of the most popular supplements for fertility because it helps reduce neural tube defects in newborns. It also helps your body produce red blood cells and helps prevent anemia. It is recommended that women taking folic acid should start taking it three months before they start trying to conceive.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids that have been found to improve the quality of sperm in men and increase cervical mucus in women, both of which can help with conception. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish oil supplements or as part of a multivitamin supplement made specifically for fertility.

Vitamins C & E

Vitamins C & E are important vitamins for overall health and well-being but they have also been found to help with fertility as well. Vitamin C increases blood flow throughout the body, which can help support healthy ovulation cycles, while Vitamin E improves egg health and increases sperm count in men. Both vitamins should be taken together as part of a daily multivitamin supplement made specifically for fertility.

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is an antioxidant that has been found to improve egg quality in women and sperm count in men. CoQ10 also helps protect against cell damage caused by free radicals, which can lead to infertility issues such as miscarriage or failed implantation attempts. CoQ10 should be taken as part of a daily multivitamin supplement made specifically for fertility or as an individual supplement.

Vitamin D3

Vitamin D3 is an essential vitamin for numerous bodily functions, including fertility. Vitamin D3 helps increase the hormone progesterone and also helps regulate the menstrual cycle. Studies have shown that higher levels of Vitamin D3 can help improve ovulation and in turn, chances of conception. Further studies have shown that supplementing with Vitamin D3 can lead to a decreased risk of miscarriages. To maximize fertility, women should make sure they have adequate levels of Vitamin D3 in their bodies by taking a daily supplement or getting regular sun exposure (but wearing sunscreen!).

Methylated folate

Prenatal vitamins that contain methylated folate are an essential part of any fertility health plan. Methylated folate is the active form of folic acid found in prenatal vitamins, and it plays a critical role in reducing birth defects. Folate helps create healthy, new cells in both mother and baby – this includes red blood cells, cell membranes and DNA. For women trying to conceive, taking prenatal vitamins with methylfolate can increase the chances of a successful pregnancy and healthy baby. Additionally, these vitamins can reduce the risk of neural tube defects by up to 70%, making it even more important for prospective mothers to include this essential supplement in their fertility plans.

N-Acetylcysteine (NAC)

N-Acetylcysteine (NAC) is an important supplement for women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and other fertility issues. NAC helps to regulate hormones, including the main sex hormones estrogen and progesterone. It also helps reduce the effects of oxidative stress in the body, which can be caused by hormonal imbalances that can lead to PCOS and infertility. NAC also helps break down cyst formation and improves ovulatory function. Additionally, it has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity, reduce inflammation, and support egg health – all of which can help improve fertility outcomes for those with PCOS or other reproductive issues.

Conclusion:

When it comes to improving your fertility, there are several different options available including acupuncture, Traditional East Asian medicine, and even fertility treatments like IVF or IUI.

However, there are also several different types of supplements you can take that may improve your chances of getting pregnant quickly and easily too! From folic acid and omega-3 fatty acids to CoQ10 and vitamins C & E – each one has its own unique benefits that can help you achieve your goal of having a healthy baby.

Just make sure you always check with your doctor before starting any new supplement regimen so you can ensure that what you’re taking is safe for both you and your baby!

At Lokahi Acupuncture, we have 20 years of experience working with fertility patients, and with fertility clinics throughout the Bay Area. If you  would like to speak to one of our specialist fertility acupuncturists about your situation, you can schedule a free 15 minute online consultation.

Anna Rudel
San Jose Acupuncturist
408.279.9001
Follow us on Instagram
Make an Appointment

Causes Secondary Infertility - Lokahi Acupuncture

Secondary Infertility: 5 Reasons You May Have Trouble Conceiving Again

Primary infertility is classified as difficulty conceiving a first child. Secondary infertility affects those who already have a child but experience difficulty conceiving again.

Secondary infertility can be especially hard for a variety of physiological and emotional reasons.

Acupuncture, herbs, diet and lifestyle changes can be very helpful when working with secondary infertility.

Secondary infertility is a common problem affecting about 12% of couples, and it’s one that traditional East Asian Medicine is adept at supporting. Conditions such as blockage of fallopian tubes, endometriosis, uterine scarring or a history of surgical birth are all potential contributors.

Here are 5 more reasons of secondary infertility that we see in our acupuncture clinic.

1) A depleted body

Other children, and members of the family needing care, work demands, other health issues and breastfeeding can all take a toll on the mother’s body.While it may have been easier to conceive previously, the passage of time and increased responsibilities can make it more difficult to conceive With secondary infertility, it is important to assess how depleted the mother is and work to boost vitality in order to conceive again.

2) Stress

Stress is an umbrella word that encompasses many potential factors that may be contributing to difficulty conceiving again. Whatever the stressors are they can be a factor when trying to conceive.

3) Hormone imbalances

Many hormones are involved with conception. It is important to make sure that a full blood panel is taken so that doctors can see if hormones might be an issue. Common issues involve the thyroid or with the hormones responsible for ovulation. Only testing can confirm this, which is why it is important to see a professional.

4) Birth trauma

A surprising number of our patients have experienced some form of birth trauma with a previous pregnancy. In East Asian Medicine, it is important to identify and acknowledge these traumas since they can cause an energetic blockage in the body, resulting in difficulty conceiving. Acupuncture can support movement of the energy and processing of the trauma.

5) Egg quality or quantity

As we age, our number of viable eggs declines. Sometimes the number of eggs available is less than expected. Low egg count is a common reason for seeking IVF and acupuncture. Acupuncture and herbal medicine can help the body produce the best eggs that it is capable of. By increasing the blood flow to the uterus and ovaries, acupuncture supports egg production within the body. IVF doctors commonly refer to our clinic in order to support the medications that are stimulating the body to produce eggs.

At Lokahi Acupuncture, we have 20 years of experience working with fertility patients, and with fertility clinics throughout the Bay Area. If you are experiencing secondary infertility and would like to speak to one of our specialist fertility acupuncturists about your situation, you can schedule a free 15 minute online consultation.

Anna Rudel
San Jose Acupuncturist
408.279.9001
Follow us on Instagram
Make an Appointment

Acupuncture for PCOS

Acupuncture for PCOS

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a common endocrine condition of reproductive-age women.

Women with PCOS have higher levels of androgens, or male sex hormones, that are  normally present in smaller amounts. This hormone imbalance causes the body to skip menstrual periods and can make it harder to get pregnant. The name polycystic ovarian syndrome describes the numerous small cysts that form in the ovaries. However, some women with this disorder do not have cysts.

The diagnosis of PCOS can be overwhelming especially if you are trying to get pregnant.

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can improve your overall health and lead to a healthy pregnancy.

What are the symptoms of PCOS?

  • Missed periods, irregular periods, or very light periods

  • Weight gain, especially around the belly (abdomen)

  • Ovaries that are large or have many cysts

  • Excess body hair, including the chest, stomach, and back (hirsutism)

  • Acne or oily skin

  • Dark or thick skin patches on the back of the neck, in the armpits, and under the breasts

How can acupuncture and Chinese medicine treat PCOS?

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can treat the symptoms of PCOS, while also addressing underlying imbalances and inflammation in the body. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs aid to regulate the endocrine system and improve circulation to the reproductive organs, thus improving egg quality and promoting ovulation.

In Traditional East Asian Medicine, we assess the patient and put together a profile of the symptoms.

Then we see if that profile fits a specific pattern that East Asian medicine has already identified, or whether it is a mixture of more than one pattern. Once we have identified the pattern, we can create a treatment plan. This is important since no one person presents in the same way.

The 4 main patterns are:

  • Kidney Yang Deficiency: always feeling cold, low thyroid function, loose stools, low sex drive, pale tongue, frequent urination

  • Spleen Qi Deficiency with Dampness: bloating, loose stools, low thyroid function, anemia, brain fog, cold hands or feet, low energy, puffy tongue with tooth marks

  • Liver Qi Stagnation Transforming to Heat: headaches, constipation, IBS symptoms, depression, distention and pain in the breasts, irritability, tongue color red or slightly purple especially on the sides of the tongue

  • Kidney Yin Deficiency: insomnia, anxiety, thirst, low back pain, dry skin, short menstrual cycles, the tongue is thin, red, and dry

We treat the whole body, including our patients’ underlying factors and symptoms of PCOS.

Once we know which pattern or patterns apply we know which acupuncture points, herbal formulas, diet and lifestyle recommendations we might make. Since PCOS is such a complex syndrome, we do not subscribe to the idea that one size fits all. Rather we take our time to figure out a sustainable set of steps to support the body in coming back to balance.

Chinese herbal medicine can be very effective in the treatment of PCOS as well as lifestyle and dietary modifications. If you would like to know more about how acupuncture and herbs can be helpful for you, give us a call for a free 15-min consultation!

Cara Ortiz, L.Ac. joined the fertility team at Lokahi Acupuncture in 2022 and specializes in working with fertility patients with PCOS and thyroid conditions.

Cara Ortiz, L.Ac.
San Jose Acupuncturist
408.279.9001
Follow us on Instagram
Make an Appointment

Acupuncture treatment supports IUI

Acupuncture treatment to support IUI

Intrauterine insemination, or IUI, is considered one of the earliest forms of intervention for couples with difficulty trying to conceive.

It is also one of the most common methods used for lesbian couples starting a family.

IUI is the placement of sperm directly into the uterus. The sperm is “washed”, and put in a sterile fluid, and then injected through the cervix into the uterus. It is common for patients to take medication prior to the IUI to stimulate the production of eggs in preparation for the introduction of the concentrated sperm.

There may also be a “trigger shot”, or injection of hormones, timed near the IUI in order to provoke the body into releasing the egg(s).

Is IUI the right option for me?

IUI is generally less invasive, more cost-effective, and more “natural” since the egg and sperm have the opportunity to fertilize inside the body without interference. IUI is more effective as an intervention than timed intercourse in cases of male factor infertility.

It is also a useful tool for cases of unexplained infertility, although it should be noted that a thorough evaluation is important before making decisions about fertility treatment options.

IUI might be an option to consider if:

  • You have been trying to conceive for 6 months or more

  • You have a low sperm count

  • You have poor sperm motility

  • You have been diagnosed with “unexplained infertility”

  • You want to try something before advancing to or thinking about IVF

How can acupuncture increase the chances of IUI working?

Acupuncture increases blood flow to the ovaries. The increased flow optimizes the delivery of nutrients to nourish the eggs. Acupuncture also helps to ensure the ovaries respond well to the stimulation medications.

Acupuncture supports egg development and increases blood flow to the uterus.

By increasing blood flow to the uterus, acupuncture treatment during an IUI cycle ensures the endometrial lining is as hospitable as possible for the implantation of the embryo. Blood flow brings with it nutrients and plumps the uterine lining to be thick enough to support implantation.

In preparation for your IUI, your acupuncturist will:

  • Assess your overall health

  • Talk with you about how you are feeling and what steps you have already taken to support conception

  • Assess your reproductive health from a perspective of East Asian Medicine

  • Talk with you about your diet and lifestyle

  • Talk with you about possible support from herbs and/or supplements

  • Explain your acupuncture treatment plan

How many acupuncture treatments will I need when undergoing an IUI cycle?

By committing to weekly treatments, your acupuncturist is able to support you through each stage of your hormonal cycle – from menses, through ovulation and the implantation stage. Sometimes we suggest increasing the frequency of treatment right around the time of the procedure if we think that it would be beneficial.

Does acupuncture hurt?

Acupuncture should not be painful at all. Acupuncturists are trained to insert sterilized, hair-thin needles into the skin in a way that can be hardly perceived. Sometimes it may feel like a mosquito is biting at most.

Receiving an acupuncture treatment for IUI is typically a very relaxing experience, one that induces many patients to fall asleep, or experience a deep sense of rest and relaxation.

How do I learn more?

If you are interested in learning if acupuncture is right for you in your fertility journey, we invite you to schedule a free online consultation to meet with a fertility specialist and discuss if we can help.

If you are ready to make an appointment, you can schedule your acupuncture treatment here, or call the office at (408) 279-9001.

Anna Rudel
San Jose Acupuncturist
408.279.9001
Follow us on Instagram
Make an Appointment

How to Improve Your Egg Quality

4 Tips to Improve Your Egg Quality

One of the most common challenges in infertility is that of egg quality.

We are born with a set number of eggs that decrease over time until we reach menopause. As we age, we not only have fewer eggs, but the quality declines with time. Both make it more difficult to get pregnant and harder to carry a healthy baby to term.

There are additional factors that can contribute to lower egg quality as well, such as PCOS, endometriosis and premature ovarian aging. While we cannot change the number of eggs we are born with, we can influence the quality of our eggs.

The good news is that it takes 90 days for an egg to mature for ovulation and you can influence developing eggs over the course of several months.

Here are 4 tips to improve your egg quality to improve your chances of getting and staying pregnant.

1. Clean up your diet

What we take in as food and drink ends up building and fueling our cells, so we want the best possible building blocks. Focus on veggies and low-sugar fruits like berries, healthy protein and fats like pasture-raised poultry and fish, avocados, olives, nuts and seeds. Keep your carbohydrate intake on the low to moderate side (30% or less of your total daily food intake) from foods like starchy veggies like sweet potatoes, beets, potato, whole grains and legumes.

2. Supplements

Consider adding supplements to help support mitochondrial function and reduce oxidative damage to cells. These include CoQ10, NAD, inositol, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants like açaí, resveratrol, and alpha-lipoic acid. Talk to your practitioner about a regimen that will be the best support for you.

3.Reduce damage to existing eggs

By severely limiting or eliminating alcohol, processed foods and added sugars, you reduce damage to existing eggs. Additionally, reducing caffeine intake is helpful to ensure maximum blood flow to the ovaries. Stress reduction techniques like meditation, mindfulness and movement release built up tension and increase endorphins.

4. Get Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a great way to promote egg health by improving circulation of blood, oxygen and nutrients to the ovaries. We use microcurrent electro-acupuncture to boost the effects leading up to ovulation or an IVF retrieval.

Not only does acupuncture help to improve blood flow, but it also reduces stress and balances hormones, which can also influence egg quality. Lokahi Acupuncture offers a free 15 minute consultation if you have questions about how acupuncture can help you on your fertility journey.

Cathryn Davidson, L.Ac. is a senior fertility specialist at Lokahi Acupuncture.

Click here if you would like to schedule a free online consultation to evaluate if acupuncture might be right for you.

Cathryn Davidson, San Jose Acupuncturist
408.279.9001
Follow us on Instagram
Make an Appointment