ACUPUNCTURE, HERBAL MEDICINE, AND FUNCTIONAL NUTRITION FOR FERTILITY TREATMENT
Acupuncture , Chinese Herbal Medicine, and Functional Nutrition can be helpful for treating both male and female fertility issues. It is important support not only on a physical level but is also very calming and relaxing to help support your emotional and mental state. It can be used alone or in conjunction with western medical fertility treatments. If you have seen a doctor for fertility issues please bring records of any blood and medical tests may have had. Alicia is a board certified fellow of the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine and has extensive experience in helping patients make their dreams of becoming parents a reality. Functional nutrition with lab testing is often helpful either as a stand alone modality or along with acupuncture in order to support fertility.
Many fertility issues are a result of the accumulation of suboptimal health issues over the years, a lack of a nutrient dense diet and less than healthy lifestyle habits (we all have some!). By taking a closer look at these factors through analyzing symptoms and reviewing lab tests such as blood serum testing, GI Map stool test, saliva hormone testing, and DUTCH hormone testing we can improve your overall health, improve egg quality, improve sperm quality, and decrease any inflammatory factors that may be decreasing your chance of conceiving either naturally or through IVF. Specific conditions such as endometriosis, PCOS, metabolic syndrome, irregular cycles, and hypothalamic-pituitary axis (HPA) imbalance issues are addressed.
Statistically 30% of fertility issues are female factor related, 30% are male factor related, and 30% is a combination of the two and the remaining 10% was unknown. Therefore, if there are two parents it is often important to treat both during fertility treatment.
Both Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine has been shown in research studies to improve sperm count and sperm motility and morphology. It often takes about 2-3 months of treatment to improve these parameters but patients are welcome to start acupuncture treatment at any point during their fertility treatment. For some men there can be a hormonal imbalance. For other men the issue could be that there are contributing pathologic factors that do not foster an idea environment for sperm production. Fertility patients normally report that the weekly acupuncture sessions not only improve their fertility but leave them feeling more rested, more focused, able to sleep better, and with more energy. Gastrointestinal and hypothalamic pituitary axis issues are also addressed through functional nutrition to regulate both the GI tract and hormones such as cortisol, DHEA, testosterone, and estrogen (yes, men have estrogen, too!).
Women are welcome to seek treatment at anywhere along their fertility journey. However, the ideal initial course recommended for female fertility treatment is acupuncture once per week for 3 months for both natural conception and IVF retrieval preparation. It often takes 3 months or longer to balance hormones and to support maturing eggs. Some conditions such as PCOS and longer cycles may take longer to treat successfully.
Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can help with issues such as hormonal imbalances, ovarian cysts, fibroids, thin uterine lining, anovulation, endometriosis, tubal blockage, advanced maternal age and unexplained fertility.
In medical studies acupuncture has been shown to improve blood flow to the uterus and supports the formation of a healthy trilaminar uterine lining Read more here. It improves the success rate of in vitro fertilization. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine is fantastic for regulating the menstrual cycle and thereby balancing the endocrine system to promote ovulation. Acupuncture is very calming and helps not only to balance cortisol and hormones affected by stress but also helps to ease anxiety and support the emotions during what can be a challenging and stressful time.
Functional nutrition and dietary advice is also an important part of both male and female fertility treatment. During a functional nutrition consultation we may decide to order lab testing in order to see what the hormones are doing during each stage of the menstrual cycle. Conventional medicine normally only tests during one day of a cycle unless you are in the middle of fertility treatment with a reproductive endocrinologist. We can do testing that tracks an entire cycle to see where any weak links are in your cycle and treat them accordingly with nutrition and herbal supplements.
Another important aspect of functional nutrition is to never underestimate the impact of the health of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract on fertility. Lab testing can be utilized which gives an accurate picture of what pathogens are in the GI tract such as pathogenic bacteria, viruses and parasites and if the GI tract is functioning optimally such as pancreatic enzyme activity, fat digestion, and inflammatory processes in the body. Often when the GI tract is healed, healthy lifestyle changes are implemented and a nutrient dense diet is consumed hormones can balance on their own. For some conditions a very specific dietary protocol must be used. For example, research has shown that dietary changes to regulate insulin are very important in PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) treatment. Read more here for a taste of this advice.
Whether you are looking to deeply examine underlying issues with your fertility with functional nutrition or are only interested in acupuncture without nutrition protocols to support your ART (Assisted reproductive technology) or IVF (in-vitro fertilization) protocol Alicia Masiulis, MS, LAc, FABORM can help support you (and your partner if you are not single) along the way.
To begin treatment start by scheduling an initial visit. After reviewing your case treatment recommendations will be made. For patients that are a good candidate for a gastrointestinal protocol there is a 3 month treatment package:
- Fertility Protocol with GI Healing Protocol 3-4 months for patients who have already had an initial consultation : includes a customized analysis of the GI-MAP test, saliva or DUTCH hormone testing, blood tests, a supplement protocol based on symptoms and lab tests, and dietary guidelines based on a food sensitivity blood test with one hour visit, a one hour visit follow up two weeks later, up to 4 half hour follow up visits to be scheduled as needed for support, and an additional half hour visit after a GI-MAP retest with a long term supplement and dietary protocol plan to be followed after the protocol is complete. 7 visits total. Email support is also included in this protocol. This does not include the costs of any testing. Please call for current pricing and to discuss if you are a good candidate for the GI Healing Protocol. This is an opportunity to look deeply at the underlying factors that can influence egg and sperm quality and improve your fertility success rates. **The purpose of this package is to provide patients with enough support so that they follow up with the protocol even after symptoms begin to improve and achieve long term success with improving their overall health and fertility. Please call 650-605-7134 to inquire more about this discounted package.
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