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Could This Controversial Technique Actually Increase Your Fertility?

November 5, 2017
Katie Visco

A recent study shows that acupuncture could potentially improve your chances of getting pregnant if you have this medical syndrome. Could more needles really be the solution? Women with polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, often experience issues with fertility and don't always respond well to traditional treatments. 

A recent study has researchers now thinking that a more traditional form of medicine could be the answer.

  • PCOS is a hormonal disease that may cause infertility due to irregular periods
  • A new study uncovers the link between the ancient practice of acupuncture and fertility
  • Results proved that traditional drug therapies worked best whether alongside acupuncture or not

What is PCOS?

What is PCOS, do I have it, and what can I do?

Women with polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, experience varying periods, whether that be prolonged, infrequent, or irregular. A side effect of this hormonal disorder is failure to release eggs from the ovary. It is imaginably difficult to plan a pregnancy when living with PCOS, and thus many of these women experience a multitude of fertility problems. Causes of this variation may be due to an overproduction of insulin by your pancreas, low-grade inflammation, and of course, genetics. 

Doctors recommend scheduling an appointment if you experience irregular periods, infertility, or excessive weight gain. Traditional drug treatments have an average failure rate of 23% for PCOS, so new research has been avidly sought out.

How Does Acupuncture Play Into This?

Is this traditional therapy for me?

Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine that involves piercing the body with tiny needles in specific locations. This age-old therapy has a variety of uses, and a recent study by Chinese doctor X. Wu hoped to prove that one of those uses was fertility improvement. 

He conducted the survey with 1000 women who experience PCOS and implemented weeks of acupuncture therapy, along with the traditional drug treatments for PCOS subjects. Multiple control groups were included to verify that any results could be proved. While ancient home remedies like acupuncture may be appealing in times when medical treatments seem to fail, it may be less effective than assumed.

Time for the Results

Conclusive results to the study were made

Despite much anticipation, Wu's study of acupuncture proved to show no greater fertility in women with PCOS. Therefore, acupuncture should not be considered a viable option for treatment of infertility with PCOS women. The study found that women who received the control group for acupuncture therapy actual had a slightly increased fertility than the group that did receive it (22.4% compared to 21.8%). 

Wu admitted the study did have varying degree of limitations, but the results were still conclusive. This does not mean that acupuncture does not have significant other health benefits that could help women trying to conceive (relaxation, mood improvement, etc). While the search for more effective fertility treatments for PCOS women still goes unresolved, don't lose hope. The needle in the haystack is still out there, it just wasn't these ones!  


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