Which came first: The chicken or the egg?
This same dilemma applies to stress and infertility. Fertility specialists agree that stress can affect fertility, but the evidence is unclear as to why, and to what extent. Texas Fertility Center has taken a proactive step in incorporating stress-relieving acupuncture into its South Austin fertility center. Dr. Natalie Burger directs patient care at the newest location.
“There is no question that infertility is stressful,” Dr. Burger says. “Acupuncture can be quite effective in reducing stress and may also have other further-reaching fertility benefits as well.”
Dr. Burger has noticed that patients who have acupuncture as part of their fertility treatment regimen tend to feel less overwhelmed by the fertility treatment process. “They seem to be emotionally in a better place to continue the process and to weather the inherent ups and downs,” she notes.
Talking to someone can be very therapeutic, says Dr. Burger. “In addition to its physical benefits, acupuncture care can provide the emotional support that many fertility patients need. If they don’t feel ready to see a counselor or attend a support group, their acupuncturist can oftentimes boost their spirits, almost like a cheerleader or a coach.”
Until recently, Americans have not fully appreciated the benefits of Eastern medicine, but evidence shows that a number of health issues, including infertility, benefit from acupuncture. For example, one study showed that patients who tried acupuncture prior to embryo transfer in an IVF cycle had greater success with pregnancy.*
Is there a down side to acupuncture?
Dr. Burger can’t think of one, but says the challenge is when someone asks the question: How does acupuncture work?
“We don’t know for sure how it works in conjunction with infertility, but acupuncture may help reduce stress hormones and improve blood flow to the uterus and ovaries,” says the dual board certified reproductive endocrinologist and obstetrician/gynecologist. “We can’t explain patterns by chance alone, and that’s why I’m excited that the medical community has started to explore the ways that acupuncture can benefit traditional treatment regimens.”
Sage Acupuncture and Axis Acupuncture share office space with Texas Fertility Center South Austin, at 5000 Davis Lane, Ste. 100. Contact Dr. Natalie Burger at 512-451-0149 or visit www.txfertility.com to find out if acupuncture may be an appropriate treatment to enhance your fertility.