Regulating the Menstrual Cycle
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has a unique model of health and fertility (potential to conceive). Regulating the menstrual cycle is a way we aim to help our patients. We ask a range of questions regarding the patient’s menstrual cycle in order to be able to identify the presence of subtle imbalances that according to Chinese medicine may act as barriers to fertility.
Medical Research Design
Limited medical research design has indicated that menstrual cycle length is related to live birth outcomes. More medical research is required to ascertain the relationship or not between menstrual cycle irregularities and live birth rates.
In general research on infertility is quite limited. For example, a systematic review found that there is limited evidence available on how to best advise couples to try for a baby. At Aquilia Acupuncture we use consensus guidelines produced by the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). We do find that many couples are unaware of how to optimise their approach towards natural conception or assisted reproductive technology and the quality of evidence for add on ART techniques and some routine care processes is limited.
Some questions that we ask to help us measure menstrual cycle irregularities according to the Chinese medical model include:
- Cycle regularity: is the cycle early or delayed?
- The colour of the menstrual fluid: is it bright red or dark red?
- Flow: is there spotting?
- The amount of menstrual fluid lost: are periods heavy or light?
- The consistency of the menstrual flow: are clots present and are they big or small?
- Pain level and type?
Regulating the menstrual cycle involves acupuncture treatment management around these phases:
Male Factor Subfertility
The primary reason for the utilisation of assisted reproduction in the UK is male factor subfertility. Research is limited on the topic of acupuncture for male factor infertility. Researchers have concluded that low quality clinical trials demonstrate that acupuncture seems to improve sperm parameters, but this research is inconclusive. There is simply not enough data or well-designed research to make a strong recommendation for acupuncture based on the evidence base.
In our clinic we have helped couples suffering from infertility due to male factor. This is by observation in case studies which is the lowest level of research yet can instigate scientific inquiry. Acupuncture treatment increased fertility potential in terms of comparing the laboratory results from the sample(s) before an acupuncture intervention commenced and after the acupuncture intervention. There are other factors that may have contributed to these changes in laboratory results. If you are interested in acupuncture for male subfertility this is one tool we use to monitor treatment progression and support ICSI outcome. Further more, you can review the individual effect of acupuncture treatment on your well-being or stress levels, session by session.
There are new research projects on acupuncture for male factor infertility. You can read about new research.
To find out more about acupuncture please contact us.