Acupuncture for anovulation
Not ovulating (anovulation) is found in 15% of women with infertility. Of those, 50% will be diagnosed in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which can affect pregnancy rates.
Measuring progesterone levels 7 days after ovulation tests for ovulation. The progesterone level should be greater than 3ng/mL. An ultrasound can also be used to see if the follicle sack has released the embryo has collapsed to form the corpus luteum.
Weight plays an important role in ovulation in both western and Chinese medicine. A minimum level of body fat is needed to maintain normal ovulation. This minimum level is around 22% of body weight. Excessive weight loss affects GnRH levels, reverting the body to a pubescent form. This is often caused by women exercising too much or dieting.
In traditional Chinese medicine, both of these aspects weaken the body. qi, blood, yin, yang and jing. As levels of qi, blood, yin and jing decrease, there isn't enough vital substance in the body to make the egg grow and mature. The body, starved and in survival mode, prioritises the body's resources into daily needs and not fertility.
Treatment for anovulation
Clinical trials show that the effect of acupuncture is able to help women ovulate, especially in those women with PCOS. Electro-acupuncture induced regular ovulation in 38% of women. It also significantly improved hormonal imbalances and live birth rates.
Researchers found the stimulating an acupuncture point affects the body's endocrine system and can help ovulation in women, thereby increasing chances of conception. It also helps ovulation by increasing blood flow to the ovaries, thereby regulating hormones that allow eggs to grow.
The role of acupuncture in the management of subfertility. Ng, Ernest Hung Yu et al. Fertility and Sterility , Volume 90 , Issue 1 , 1 - 13
Stener-Victorin, et al. (2000) Effects of electro-acupuncture on anovulation in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand, Mar;79(3): 180-8.