PT 5: HOW ACUPUNCTURE IMPROVES FERTILITY – PAIN
Welcome back to my blog series on how acupuncture and EAM can improve your fertility. This week we are talking about pain. Contact me with any questions. For updates, add this blog to your blog feeder, follow us on twitter, or like us on Facebook.
When pain prevents you from getting pregnant
What affects your mood, kills your sex drive, prevents physical intimacy, and can present a great impediment to fertility? Pain. Physical pain is the greatest evil and can indirectly affect fertility. If pain, such as chronic pelvic pain, prevents you from getting pregnant, acupuncture and East Asian Medicine (EAM) may help. Pain is the most commonly treated condition with acupuncture, and acupuncture’s pain-relieving effects are well known.
Chronic pelvic pain can be due to many reasons, such as period pain, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, chronic infections in the pelvic organs, residual pain after a hysterectomy, pelvic muscle spasms or tension, bowel disease, bladder disease, vulvar pain, enlarged veins in the pelvis, or for an unknown reason. Regardless of the cause, the pain is real, and the impact is the same. Pain may prevent you from getting pregnant because it hurts to have sex or it mutes your sex drive. Acupuncture and EAM may be able to help.
How acupuncture and EAM can help
Acupuncture is an effective, safe, and drug-free pain treatment. While the exact way acupuncture soothes pain is unclear, we do know acupuncture may affect the body’s nervous system to trigger the release of its own natural pain killers, reduce swelling and inflammation, and alter the way the brain perceives pain. Acupuncture may reduce pain by slightly re-arranging the tissues surrounding a painful area, which may encourage healing. Acupuncture relaxes muscles and release tension. Acupuncture can also boost your sex drive.
While the research is limited, it is promising. Acupuncture was effective to treat endometriosis-related pain, menstrual period pain, bladder disease-related pain, and vulvar pain. A typical treatment course is twelve weeks. Patients are often asked to attend treatment twice a week for six weeks and then re-assessed to determine if treatment frequency can be reduced to once a week. In some cases of chronic pain, more frequent treatments are more effective.
An acupuncturist may also provide you with a treatment that combines acupuncture with other East Asian Medicine modalities. These mayinclude treatments like moxibustion, cupping, Chinese medical massage (Tui Na), EAM dietary recommendations, exercises like Qi Gong or Tai Chi, and if appropriate, Chinese herbs. The research on these other EAM treatments is also limited, but promising. And, there are more available in China, Korea, and Japan that are not yet translated.
If you are suffering from pain that is negatively affecting your fertility, regardless of the cause, acupuncture may be able to help.