Because we understand the mind/body connection, the physicians at Texas Fertility Center support certain companion therapies as a method of increasing your chances of conceiving a child. Some companion treatments may have a positive effect on the infertility process. Others will not impact your success. Certain options may do more harm than good, so we don’t recommend these therapies. If you choose to pursue a companion therapy, please keep your doctor informed and follow any advice given, especially if your physician believes that the treatment could potentially lead to problems.
For over 5000 years, Eastern cultures have used acupuncture in the treatment and prevention of disease. Acupuncture techniques are thought to assist with regulating the menstrual cycle, invigorating the sperm, and enhancing your whole body. This holistic health approach can release unlimited potential in healing, including for infertility.
If you have issues such as adhesion or endometriosis, acupuncture would not work as a complete solution; however, it may produce improved ovarian and follicular function, as well as increased blood flow to the endometrium to facilitate a thick, rich lining. For patients who choose to explore acupuncture, treatment usually lasts for three to four months before an insemination, in vitro fertilization (IVF), or donor-egg transfer. Acupuncture can have a positive influence on various types of infertility, so talk with your physician about the benefits of this option for your specific case.
In most states, you must obtain a license to practice acupuncture. To find a licensed and board-certified acupuncturist in your area, visit www.nccaom.org.
Physical Therapy and Chiropractic Care
Traditional physical therapy involves the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of disorders that impact the musculoskeletal system. Pelvic physical therapy offers patients a natural, non-surgical treatment designed to improve the function of female reproductive organs in women who experience conditions that cause mainly dysfunction and pain.
Patients commonly have questions about which herbal or ‘natural’ supplements they can use during fertility treatments. Unfortunately, many supplements may not be safe or effective to use during conventional fertility treatments.
For instance, the FDA does not regulate any product labeled as a ‘dietary supplement,’ and the advertising or marketing for some products can be deceptive. Certain herbal supplements may contain ingredients which have no proven benefit or effect. Some supplements may actually interfere with or lessen the success of fertility treatments.
As we learn more about herbal supplements, we may very well find a way to integrate them safely and effectively into our current care regiment. However, we don’t have enough information available to safely recommend these products. We suggest refraining from any herbal supplements during the infertility process.
The least conventional option to improve fertility, hypnotherapy seems to work well for stress reduction. Therapists often work with patients to replace negative thoughts with more positive internal messages. Currently, the evidence to support hypnosis as a therapy for infertility is anecdotal rather than scientific.
However, a recent Israeli study of 185 women undergoing the embryo transfer stage of IVF offered some support for the benefit of hypnosis. The researchers found that 28 percent of the women who underwent hypnotherapy just before the transfer became pregnant, compared with 14 percent of women who didn’t have the treatment. In this case, the group that did not receive hypnosis had been trying to get pregnant for over seven years versus not quite five years for the group that participated in hypnotherapy. This distinction offers important information since the longer you go without becoming pregnant, the less likely you are to conceive.
Yoga and Meditation
Recently, The Mayo Clinic acknowledged that chronic stress can result in a host of health problems and emotional issues. Yoga offers an effective tool for reducing stress and anxiety. Additionally, yoga can detoxify the body, relax tight muscles, and loosen connective tissues, which may improve fertility. Yoga for fertility focuses on the lower back (sacral plexus), hips, groin area, and pelvis, which increases blood flow, improves circulation, and possibly aids in healthier gynecological function.
When your body relaxes, your mind calms down. The associated deep breathing helps your nervous system lower stress hormones like cortisol, which can negatively impact reproductive hormone function. Yoga and deep breathing encourage patients to listen to their bodies’ natural rhythms. Through this process, our patients can incorporate a deep sense of peace and connection to their own healing capacity, allowing them to feel more empowered during this journey.