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Infertility is on the rise in the United States. While the statistics will differ slightly, it is estimated that 1 in 7 people will experience infertility. This condition is very common and people look for different treatment methods for infertility. Of course, there are high-tech options, but they are often expensive and do not promote good health. It is said that 30% of people experiencing infertility will seek to try acupuncture. This raises questions about acupuncture and infertility. Does acupuncture increase fertility? Is acupuncture an effective treatment for infertility? What is the probability of success when seeking acupuncture or other methods to improve fertility? All these questions are valid and many are looking for answers.

How does acupuncture work to treat infertility? There are several theories about how acupuncture increases fertility. People with infertility who have tried acupuncture can attest to feeling more relaxed after treatments. Acupuncture is often used for stress relief and excels at creating a de-stress response in the body. After acupuncture, particular brain chemicals have been observed to be released, creating a sense of relaxation, well-being and peace in the patient. Although it can be difficult to quantify, stress has physical effects on the body. Elevated heart rate and blood pressure are unlikely to be beneficial for fertility, so reducing stress on the body is likely one way acupuncture helps increase fertility. Arguably, the amount of stress encountered on a daily basis is increasing rapidly, as technology allows for more and more rapid intrusions into our time and continues to blur the line between work and personal time.

Another way that acupuncture can improve fertility is that it can increase blood flow to specific areas. Thermal scans have shown that a particular body area may see an increase in blood after acupuncture treatment. Therefore, it stands to reason that acupuncture could be used to promote greater blood flow to the reproductive organs, giving them more nutrition and also allowing for more efficient removal of waste products. Since many Americans are in less than ideal health, it would make sense that increasing blood flow to the pelvis and reproductive organs could treat infertility. The increased blood flow would potentially lead to better organ function and better nourished eggs and sperm.

Also, although the specific mechanism as to why is unknown, acupuncture appears to increase implantation rates of fertilized eggs. Theories as to why are generally related to stress relief, which can make the body more receptive to implantation. Also, perhaps the increased blood flow to the uterus could mean a thicker endometrium, which could mean a higher chance of implantation. It has been observed that the thickness of the endometrium increases when a patient undergoes regular acupuncture.

Acupuncture has been shown to be a very safe treatment option, with minimal negative side effects. While research struggles to identify mechanisms of efficacy, there is plenty of research to support acupuncture as a good treatment option for infertility.

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