Pain management, women's health & weight loss
(404) 294 - 6284
487 Winn Way, Decatur, Ga. 30030
3841 Holcomb Bridge Rd., Norcross, Ga. 30092
Infertility is medically defined as the inability to conceive following one year of regular sexual intercourse without contraception or after six months if the woman is over age 35. The definition also includes women who are unable to carry a pregnancy to live birth. There are two general types of infertility. Primary infertility is defined as difficulty conceiving for a couple who has never before had a child while secondary infertility describes a couple who is having difficulty conceiving when at least one of the partners has previously had a baby. According to the 1995 National Survey on Family Growth, approximately 7.1% of married couples were infertile. If the scope is broadened to encompass the truly desired outcome of an infant, impaired fecundity (difficulty or impossibility of getting pregnant or carrying a baby to term) affects 10.2% of women of reproductive age (6.1 million persons) and 12.9% of married women. In 40% of the cases the problem is attributable to the man, and 40% is traced to the woman. In about 10% of the cases, infertility is linked to both partners. The remaining 10%, despite exhaustive testing, remains unexplained. The most common causes of female infertility are ovulatory disorders, mechanical problems, endometriosis and some other factors.
We help women conceive naturally by:
We help men by:
So whether you're trying to conceive naturally, have already had failed IUI or IVF cycles, or would like some extra help to complement assisted fertility treatment, we can help you.
Call us today at 404-294-6284 for a consultation. You can speak directly to Dr. Yu Kang, LAc, RD, LD, DipOM and decide if acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine is the right treatment for you.
Tracy and Mary went through the infertility treatment at Medical Acupuncture & Nutrition. Tracy is 39 1/2 weeks and Mary is 22 weeks. 6/7/2011
Braelon K.T. Russell was born on Thurs., Sept 29th, 2011at 6:03am. He weighed 6lbs 3ozs and was 19inches long.
Molly made her appearance in the world on Thursday, January 8th, 2009 at 7:21 PM.
Molly is doing great. Nursing like a champ and sleeping great as well. She was 8 lbs. 9 oz. at birth and 19 1/4 inch long.
Molly is here because of Dr Yu Kang's fertility program. Her mom T was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). For years, she had been through hormone therapy with no luck to conceive. Tired of the side effects from the conventional fertility programs, T came to Dr. Yu Kang's clinic. Nervous and anxious at the beginning, she did not know what to expect. After two months of therapy combined with acupuncture, customized herbal prescription and dietary changes, all the side effects from hormone therapy such as hot flush were gone, T felt lighter both mentally and physically (she lost several pounds during the treatment). Then her menstrual cycle came back, and then she was pregnant. Now a proud mom of two, T is so thankful that she chose the right treatment.
Thank you very much for all of your help. The acupuncture treatments helped me tremendously during my pregnancy from 22 weeks to 36 weeks. I no longer had severe stomach pain and swollen ankles during the treatment. I delivered my son Jacob full term without complications. He has brought us so much joy and happiness. This is him at 4 days old. We are so grateful to you- your kindness and care are much appreciated.
Talesha L. Savage
Baby Russell at 20 weeks
Charlotte at six months
Ethan at two months
Hi Dr Kang! How are you? I hope you received my pregnancy announcement. We just found out we are having a boy!
Mary at 20 weeks
My story- Acupuncture for Infertility By Rosesaletha S. Dec. 25th, 2011
Basal Body Temperature (BBT) Testing measures subtle changes in a woman’s body temperature which occur due to ovulation. After ovulation, the ovary produces progesterone, which causes a woman’s temperature to increase by about ½ of a degree on the Fahrenheit scale. When a special BBT thermometer is used on a daily basis, one can determine both if a woman ovulates and how long her luteal phase lasts. Proper technique is essential in order for your physician to interpret the results.
Basal Body Temperature Charting Technique:
As seen below, a normal temperature rise will last for a minimum of 11 days. It can take up to three days after ovulation for the temperature to rise; however, in our experience most women experience temperature rises on the same day or a day later than when an ovulation predictor kit turns positive.
It is important to know: intercourse in the 2-3 days before the temperature rises is most likely to result in pregnancy.
Below are some examples of normal and abnormal BBT graphs.
An abnormal BBT should be investigated. If you have questions about your BBT, let us help you evaluate and understand the information.
This BBT chart shows ovulation with an adequate duration of the luteal phase. Notice that the temperature stayed elevated for 11 days or more.
This BBT chart shows ovulation with a short luteal phase. The temperature did not stay elevated for 11 days. A short luteal phase can be a cause of infertility and/or recurrent pregnancy loss, and should be investigated.
This BBT chart shows no evidence of ovulation in this cycle. The one-day spike at day 23 is likely just a random event. A BBT chart like this does not mean that a woman is never ovulating, only that it did not occur in this cycle. However, irregular ovulation should be investigated.
Ovarian Reserve Testing
ovarian reserve is the equivalent of a “biological clock.” Most people are aware that women have a biological clock for fertility; a limited time to complete childbearing, after which having a baby becomes unlikely. What most patients are not aware of is that the biologic clock is not the same for every woman. With age, a woman’s fertility decreases and her miscarriage rate and chance of having a baby with a genetic abnormality increases.
Why do some women lose their fertility sooner than others?
The picture above illustrates the phenomena of egg depletion over time. The white circles represent normal eggs and the grey circles represent abnormal eggs. Notice that at birth, when egg number is at a maximum, there are a minimum number of abnormal eggs. At the onset of puberty, a woman has already lost approximately 75% of the eggs she was born with. By the late 30s, egg number has continued to decline and notice that now the ratio of normal to abnormal eggs has shifted, with a much higher proportion of abnormal eggs. By the time of menopause, almost all remaining eggs are abnormal.
While many cases of diminished ovarian reserve are never explained, common causes are:
With ovarian reserve testing your physician can estimate whether your eggs have the fertility potential of most women your age, or if your ovaries demonstrate accelerated aging. In practical terms, ovarian reserve is a measure of the number and quality of eggs a woman has in her ovaries.
In cases where a woman has poor quality eggs, or few eggs, she may have a much more difficult time conceiving and she is said to have “diminished ovarian reserve.”
Generally, a woman’s diminished fertility potential is predicted by any abnormal ovarian reserve test (meaning that while repeating the test may yield a normal result, any prior abnormal result predicts significant difficulty conceiving either spontaneously or with aggressive treatments). However, it is very important to understand that even a significantly abnormal test result CAN NOT exclude the possibility of pregnancy.
Tests for ovarian reserve include: cycle day 3 FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) and estrogen levels, antral follicle counts, clomiphene citrate challenge tests and antimullerian hormone levels.
What Causes Female Infertility?
Causes of Failure to Ovulate
Ovulatory disorders are one of the most common reasons why women are unable to conceive, and account for 30% of women's infertility. Fortunately, approximately 70% of these cases can be successfully treated by the use of drugs such as Clomiphene and Menogan/Repronex. The causes of failed ovulation can be categorized as follows:
(1) Hormonal Problems
These are the most common causes of anovulation. The process of ovulation depends upon a complex balance of hormones and their interactions to be successful, and any disruption in this process can hinder ovulation. There are three main sources causing this problem:
(2) Scarred Ovaries
Physical damage to the ovaries may result in failed ovulation. For example, extensive, invasive, or multiple surgeries, for repeated ovarian cysts may cause the capsule of the ovary to become damaged or scarred, such that follicles cannot mature properly and ovulation does not occur. Infection may also have this impact.
(3) Premature Menopause
This presents a rare and as of yet unexplainable cause of anovulation. Some women cease menstruation and begin menopause before normal age. It is hypothesized that their natural supply of eggs has been depleted or that the majority of cases occur in extremely athletic women with a long history of low body weight and extensive exercise. There is also a genetic possibility for this condition.
(4) Follicle Problems
Although currently unexplained, "unruptured follicle syndrome" occurs in women who produce a normal follicle, with an egg inside of it, every month yet the follicle fails to rupture. The egg, therefore, remains inside the ovary and proper ovulation does not occur.
Causes of Poorly Functioning Fallopian Tubes
Tubal disease affects approximately 25% of infertile couples and varies widely, ranging from mild adhesions to complete tubal blockage. Treatment for tubal disease is most commonly surgery and, owing to the advances in microsurgery and lasers, success rates (defined as the number of women who become pregnant within one year of surgery) are as high as 30% overall,
with certain procedures having success rates up to 65%. The main causes of tubal damage include:
Caused by both bacteria and viruses and usually transmitted sexually, these infections commonly cause inflammation resulting in scarring and damage. A specific example is Hydrosalpnix, a condition in which the fallopian tube is occluded at both ends and fluid collects in the tube.
(2) Abdominal Diseases
The most common of these are appendicitis and colitis, causing inflammation of the abdominal cavity which can affect the fallopian tubes and lead to scarring and blockage.
(3) Previous Surgeries
This is an important cause of tubal disease and damage. Pelvic or abdominal surgery can result in adhesions that alter the tubes in such a way that eggs cannot travel through them.
(4) Ectopic Pregnancy
This is a pregnancy that occurs in the tube itself and, even if carefully and successfully overcome, may cause tubal damage
and is a potentially life-threatening condition.
(5) Congenital Defects
In rare cases, women may be born with tubal abnormalities, usually associated with uterus irregularities.
Approximately 10% of infertile couples are affected by endometriosis. Endometriosis affects five million US women, 6-7% of all females. In fact, 30-40% of patients with endometriosis are infertile. This is two to three times the rate of infertility in the general population. For women with endometriosis, the monthly fecundity (chance of getting pregnant) diminishes by 12 to 36%. This condition is characterized by excessive growth of the lining of the uterus, called the endometrium. Growth occurs not only in the uterus but also elsewhere in the abdomen, such as in the fallopian tubes, ovaries and the pelvic peritoneum. A positive diagnosis can only be made by diagnostic laparoscopy, a test that allows the physician to view the uterus, fallopian tubes, and pelvic cavity directly. The symptoms often associated with endometriosis include heavy, painful and long menstrual periods, urinary urgency, rectal bleeding and premenstrual spotting. Sometimes, however, there are no symptoms at all, owing to the fact that there is no correlation between the extent of the disease and the severity of the symptoms. The long term cumulative pregnancy rates are normal in patients with minimal endometriosis and normal anatomy. Current studies demonstrate that pregnancy rates are not improved by treating minimal endometriosis.
(1) Other variables that may cause infertility in women:
(2) Behavioral Factors:
It is well-known that certain personal habits and lifestyle factors impact health; many of these same factors may limit a
couple's ability to conceive. Fortunately, however, many of these variables can be regulated to increase not only the
chances of conceiving but also one's overall health.
(3) Environmental and Occupational Factors:
The ability to conceive may be affected by exposure to various toxins or chemicals in the workplace or the surrounding environment. Substances that can cause mutations, birth defects, abortions, infertility or sterility are called reproductive toxins. Disorders of infertility, reproduction, spontaneous abortion, and teratogenesis are among the top ten work-related diseases and injuries in the U.S. today. Despite the fact that considerable controversy exists regarding the impacts of toxins on fertility, four chemicals are now being regulated based on their documented infringements on conception.
Recurrent Pregnancy Loss
Tests of recurrent pregnancy loss focus on identifiable causes:
Genetic: Genetic abnormalities are found in approximately 3-5% of couples with recurrent pregnancy loss. The standard genetic test is a karyotype of both partners. The karyotype looks for major abnormalities in the number and/or structure of the chromosomes in an individual. Each person should have 46 chromosomes. Women have two X chromosomes, and a normal female karytope is indicated as 46XX. Men have an X and a Y chromosome and are referred to as XY.
Enivronmental Exposures: Those who work closely with organic solvents, such as benzene, or toxins such as mercury, or radiation may be at higher risk. This is a rare cause of pregnancy loss.
Infections: It is uncertain, but suggested that certain bacterium may cause miscarriage. The most commonly associated organisms are mycoplasma hominis and ureaplasma urealysticum. Cervical cultures are recommended.
Structural: in approximately 10% of RPL cases, benign growths or malformations of the uterus are present. Imaging of the uterus is warranted. Common tests for uterine abnormalities include the HSG and the saline sonogram.
Hormonal imbalances in thyroid hormone, prolactin, or conditions which cause late ovulation and a short luteal phase can cause miscarriage and should be evaluated. Additionally, diminished ovarian reserve can be a cause of recurrent loss. Simple blood tests and ovulation testing will demonstrate deficiencies.
Blood clotting disorders: Antiphospholipid antibodies (lupus anticoagulant and anticardiolipin antibodies) are strongly associated with recurrent pregnancy loss. A blood test can detect these. If these factors are present, women are generally treated with blood thinning medications (anticoagulants).
There are many other clotting disorders, some of which are more strongly associated with pregnancy loss than others. The two most common disorders that are more consistently associated with recurrent pregnancy loss are Factor V Leiden deficiency and the Prothrombin mutation. Other disorders include low protein C & S activity, MTHFR mutations and elevated homocysteine levels, and antithrombin III deficiencies. Your physician will determine which abnormalities need to be evaluated based on your personal and family histories. Simple blood tests will diagnose these disorders.
Endometriosis and Pain
Pain in the endometriosis patient is caused by several factors:
Acupuncture and herbal medicine often facilitate the following:
If you have pain before and during menses, pain with deep penetration during intercourse, pain with ovulation, pain at mid cycle, and bowel changes with menses, this is suggestive of endometriosis.
Before you get your laparoscopy (for example, if there is a 3 month waiting period because of your surgeon's busy schedule) use acupuncture and herbs to help reduce the pain. In many cases, pain is completely ameliorated after laparoscopy. There are occasions however, when pain persists. It is at this juncture that the use of acupuncture and herbs are very appropriate. Your only alternatives are strong pain medication or medication which will prevent you from menstruating, such as aromatase inhibitors or Lupron. Though these medications will reduce pain and prevent endometriosis re-growth, you will not be able to get pregnant while on them. Even though these drugs can help reduce pain, they will also reduce your estrogen levels which, over time, can negatively affect your heart, brain function, and bone density.
Endometriosis causes infertility for several reasons:
For the individual wishing to achieve pregnancy who has tubal damage, in-vitro-fertilization after laparoscopic excision surgery is the quickest means to a successful outcome in general. However, the endometrial lining itself is often pathologic and even after a laparoscopy, implantation failure is common. Even the best laparoscopic surgeon cannot always excise all endometrial implants. If, after a laparoscopy, any endometriosis is still present, so too will be the inflammatory proteins associated with endometriosis which contribute to a hostile uterine environment preventing embryo implantation. One may think of this state as having a fever in the uterus. In essence, the uterus is sick.
Acupuncture and specifically customized herbal medicine can, in some cases, as mentioned above, reduce these proteins, improve the uterine environment, and help increase pregnancy and live birth rates.
Male factors contribute to approximately 40 percent of all infertility cases. In 20% of couples, the only identifiable factor is a sperm abnormality. In most cases, the question is not whether men have sperm or not, rather it is a question of how much sperm, the quality of the sperm and the motility.
Erectile dysfunction, ejaculatory dysfunction, anti-sperm antibodies, infection, and anatomic issues can also play a negative role in fertility.
The centerpiece of testing for men is a comprehensive semen analysis, with strict (Kruger) morphology. A semen analysis evaluates multiple characteristics of the sperm including the volume, the sperm concentration, motility and shape (morphology) of the sperm. Each of these characteristics can have dramatic effects on fertility.
Assuming a normal volume, the parameter which best predicts fertility is the shape of the sperm. The old standard still performed by most labs (without assessing strict morphology) is not adequate for assessing sperm quality. If you (or your partner) have had a semen analysis done using prior criteria (WHO III criteria, without strict morphology assessment), and the testing was normal, we would strongly recommend repeating a formal assessment.
How a semen analysis is performed:
Possible Identifiable Causes of Abnormality
Hypothalamic, pituitary or testicular disorders, ejaculatory disorders or obstruction or poor collection technique.
>20 million per milliliter
Heat (varicocele), nutritional deficiency, genetic abnormality, history of undescended testicle absence of Sertoli or germ cells, malfunction of Leydig cells, anabolic steroid abuse, endocrine disorders, history of radiation or chemotherapy.
Heat (varicocele), nutritional deficiency, antisperm antibodies, prolonged abstinence.
Normal shape (morphology)
14% with strict morphology is normal fertile range; however 9% or greater is essentially indistinguishable from normal. Men with less than 5% normal forms are more likely to have infertility.
Heat (varicocele), nutritional deficiency, infections, history of undescended testicle.
White blood cells
<10 per high power field
Prostatitis, prior surgery
Total motile count
> 10 million
Any of the above, plus obstruction or retrograde ejaculation
Sperm parameters may vary significantly day to day, therefore prior to making recommendations, we would advise repeating any analysis with significant abnormalities approximately 4 weeks after the initial test.
If confirmed on repeat assessment, fertility treatment will be individualized based on the severity of the problem, the reversibility of the underlying cause, and the wishes of the couple. Depending on the severity of the abnormality, a urologic evaluation may be indicated.
Fertility Secrets Revealed
Day after day I see frustrated, emotionally and physically worn out couples that have been trying to become pregnant and have a healthy pregnancy. Many times, as I gather information from them I find that there is just a little something that was overlooked that ends up making a big differencein their health and subsequently, intheir fertility. That is why I have put together this report, which is intended to give you information that you may not have heard before to help you understand more about your situation. I want you to have the knowledge you need and may not have gotten so far. I know that when you read this report you will have information that can help you and possibly give you the answers you have been seeking for so long now. The secrets contained in this report could be the answer that you need to improve your fertility and achieve your dream of having a child. I hope that the information contained in this report does not stay secret for much longer. It is important information that every couple investigating their fertility issues should know.
Before I reveal these secrets to you, first of all let me say that I know what you are experiencing in regard to your fertility. Itcan be a very frustrating, depressing, emotional, and extremely stressful journey at times. Much of these feelings I believe stem from not knowing, not understanding, and not being informed of "why this is happening to me/us". In our clinic, we are constantly hearing our patients say that they fear that something is wrong with them because they may be having difficulty getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy. There is nothing wrong with you!! There are probably issues that need to be addressed but you are a lovely human being who has many things too ffer to this world.
I know that at times you may feel like a failure, and this attitude unfortunately is perpetuated by others. The media, or even your health care provider, whether they are a physician or a natural therapist, may not help the situation as their comments many times come across as extremely disheartening or disempowering. I have heard and seen comments from the media and various health care professionals, both natural and conventional, which tell youthat you are too old, that your eggs are too old, that you dont have many eggs left, or one of the worst that patients share with meregularly is "I have been told I am past my use by date."Men with fertility issues sometimes are led to believe that their low sperm count somehow reflects their masculinity in some way. Many men even flat out refuse to have a semen analysis because of the fear of what they might find; that somehow if they have a lowered sperm count or decreased motility, this in some way reflects who they are as a man.
I get very frustrated when I hear comments like the onesabove because, number one, they are not necessarily true and, number two, they are extremely disheartening and disempowering to theperson hearing them. These types of comments create guilt, blame, or shame which just compounds the situation and works against what the couple is trying to accomplish. If, in fact, the couple is unable to have children, then what do comments like "you are past your use by date" accomplish? Nothing, only a lifetime of guilt and shame if taken seriously and not let go of. If these are the answers you are receiving, it simply means that the person saying them is insensitive or doesnt have any constructive answers for you.
This report is intended to give you a new starting point to move forward from and find the answers that you seek.
And if you have health professionals and family members that are supportive (and they are out there!!), be thankful for their support throughout your experience.
The information contained in this report is meant to help share with you some of the contributing factors to infertility that are not yet well known, and many times very easily treated with simple, natural methods. I hope you find it helpful and empowering to have additional information that might improve your current circumstances and help you achieve the dream of having a child.
Secret #1 Homocysteine: So far the best kept secret:
You may have never heard of homocysteine (unless you have been educated about markers for cardiovascular disease) and, to be honest, I have never seen it tested in relation to fertility issues. Why is this important then? If no one is testing for it, then it is most likely not a big deal, right?! Well, recent research tells a different story. For example, in 2003, a study in Poland showed that elevated homocysteine levels in the follicular fluid are associated with women having difficulty getting pregnant naturally or with IVF procedures. In another study in Poland dated October 2003, follicles exposed to low levels of homocysteine showed better quality and a higher degree of maturity.
In an article in August 2004 in the journal titled Human Reproduction, thrombotic events or blood clots, were strongly associated with women older than thirty-nine who underwent IVF and had elevated homocysteine levels.
Other articles confirm that homocysteine levels are elevatedin women who miscarry and lower in women who do not miscarry. Elevated homocysteine has also been correlated with gestational diabetes and preeclampsia during pregnancy. Elevated homocysteine levels have been associated with clotting issues such as antiphospholipid antibodies and Factor V Leiden.
In addition, elevated homocysteine is associated with spontaneous early abortion, placental vasculopathy and birth defects. Itcauses not only neural tube defects (NTDs), but also cardiac malformations and cleft lip and/or palate, which are associated with higher homocysteine levels than those shown in controls. There is even some research that supports elevated homocysteinelevels as possibly contributing to lowered sperm count in males.
There are so many correlations with elevated homocysteine levels and difficulty getting pregnant or maintaining a pregnancy that I believe it should be tested in anyone trying to have a baby.
What are normal homocysteinelevels?
Homocysteine is a normal byproduct of an amino acid in our system called methionine. This is an important antioxidant in our system. Antioxidants fight chronic degenerative change in our bodies. Recent research and recommendations from physicians in the US recommend homocysteine levels be less than 7. Be aware, however,that if you have your homocysteine levels checked, the normals may be 15. This means that if your results came in at 11 or 12, this would be considered "normal" when in fact, a value even above 9 increases your chance of heart disease by two times. So it makes sense to get the levels to below 7 for optimal health.
It is important that you understand that simple supplementation will bring the levels of homocysteine down, but this supplementation should never be a single vitamin only. Too much of one vitamin can mask a deficiency in another area. Vitamins, like herbs, work in synergy. Therefore it is important to consult a practitioner who has experience with nutritional supplementation and its effects on the body. This person will help you determine the right program for your particular situation.
Secret #2 Blood test results are not consistent from lab to lab, so everything may be within normal limits according to one lab, but not the next.
I know this seems preposterous. How can one lab say that you are normal when the same resultsin another lab could put you above or below the average range?
Determining what "normal" is will depend on where you have your blood tests. If the doctor who is reading your blood test results relies only on whether the readings are within normal limits according to the results listed on the lab report, then you may not be getting the full story.
For example, estrogen levels in the luteal phase of a woman's menstrual cycle could be listed as normal if they came in at 600 on one lab test which lists their normals from 600-800. But the next lab may have their normals listed as 400-600. This would then put you on the high end of normal according to these values. These normal ranges for estrogen can vary to above1000. So how do you know what is normal? Make sure your practitioner sees many lab results and knows the optimal levels versus what might only be classified as normal in one lab. Here's another example:
TSH, or thyroid stimulating hormone, helps predict if there is an issue with your thyroid. This is the standard test done by the majority of physicians to test the function of the thyroid. There are many questions that arise when only this test is done to assess thyroid health. One issue is that the normal values can range from 0.4 to 4.0 or 0.3 to 6.0. So with results from one lab, you may be considered to have normal thyroid function if you had a test at 5.0,butaccording to another lab result, you may be considered slightly hypothyroid.
We use these rangesbecause their population is so large and therefore, with a sample size ten plus times larger than Australia, these are most likely the most accurate normal parameters. These parameters were adjusted in 2003 when endocrinologists got together and decided 0.3-3.0 would be a more appropriate range because millions of people were experiencing issues with their thyroid and were not being diagnosed because the old parametersindicatedtheir results were normal. But, even in theStates, these new parameters aren't reflected in all pathology labs across the country.
Because of the variation in lab normals, it is good to ask your health care practitioner what they consider as optimal based on all the patients that they see with similar issues.
Secret #3 Balanceis the Key.
Not only is it important to look at whether the results of a blood test are within normal limits or not, but it is also important that the balance between the hormones is evaluated and addressed if necessary. In many instances we see copies of the blood tests from patients and identify what may be just a slight hormonal imbalance between, say, estrogen and progesterone. What we have found is that if one hormone is on the high end of normal and the other is on the low end of normal, this can contribute to issues with infertility. Our goal is to balance out the hormone production by gently nudging the body into doing what it was meant to do on its own. On many occasions we see a positive outcome when we are addressing only a slight hormone imbalance that was previously deemed normal. The balance between other hormones is important as well, such as FSH and LH and how these relate to progesterone and estrogen.
Secret #4 its not your age, but the health of your eggs that matters.
I often hear women making the decision to utilize IVF instead of natural remedies because they feel their clock is ticking and their time is running out. I have heard these comments from women in their late twenties to women in their late forties. It is now thought that the media has added fuel to this fire by advertising across the board that women are waiting too long to have babies, or women's eggs are getting too old to conceive when they are in their forties. This theory is flawed and there are two important reasons why.
1)A woman in her forties can have eggs that are as healthy as a typical twenty year old's eggs. A woman in her twenties can have eggs as healthy as a woman in her forties. The question of whether a woman can have a healthy child later in life is more of a social issue than a scientific one. The health of the eggs is important and is directly related to the overall cellular health of the individual. You see, eggs or oocytes start as immature cells which, as it is their turn to be released at ovulation, go through a maturation process. They grow up in a little follicle that at this time still remains a bit of a mystery to the scientific community. But what is known is that hormone production and the contents of the follicular fluid significantly contribute to the health of the eggs.
A study in the publication Fertility and Sterility involved forty-one women undergoing IVF. During the study the contents of the follicular fluid were measured or, in others words, the fluid the egg grows up in. What was found was that in younger women the antioxidants found in the follicular fluid were greater than those found in older women, and the younger women became pregnant more often than the older women. As mentioned above, antioxidants help fight chronic degenerative change which, in the end, it seems, creates healthier eggs. Therefore, what we can determine from this small study is not only that other larger studies need to be done, but also that when you are healthier at a cellular level you are going to be producing healthier eggs. This starts with your diet and continues with other lifestyle factors such as exercise, emotional health, and supplementation. The nutritional component and whether or not your body is appropriately absorbing nutrients has been proven to affect fertility, especially in the case of celiac disease. Celiac disease is sensitivity to products containing gluten. Theresult is that nutrients are not absorbed appropriately and this directly affects fertility. People with celiac disease can improve their fertility immensely by removing gluten from their diet and can improve their digestion to improve the nutrients in their system, thus improving their overall health and the health of the eggs or sperm. Whether a person has celiac disease can only be determined for certain by a biopsy, but there are blood tests that can be done to rule out the issue. Again, this supports our stance that your diet and other lifestyle factors which can affect your digestion, as well as appropriate supplementation, can contribute to improving your fertility. This aspect of fertility should be addressed with each patient instead of feeding the notion that they are running out of time.
The main problem that I see with women feeling that time is running out for them is that they are easily stressed and depressed about the situation, and their body goes into stress mode. Fertility then appears to be of less importance to the body as it tries to deal with the stress. And guess what other substance increases in our system as a result of stress and hostility. You guessed it; that substanceis homocysteine. One psychologist describeshostility as a person's primary emotional response to stressand as the overwhelming feeling of life being out of control...to the point [of feeling] under attack and helpless. Sound familiar?
The second reason is a bit of a shock and unfortunately was not broadcasted as often or as loudly as the normal messages that disempowering women and having them hearing that their biological clock is ticking loudly in their ears. A study was published by Harvard University in Nature in March of 2004. It received a bit of press but most people didn't fully understand or believe it at the time. It reminds me of the fifteenth century when most people believed the world was flat. If someone started saying the world was round people would look at them as if they were crazy.
Well, the researchers at Harvard didn't discover something completely new, asthe informationwas referred to in other texts and studies performed years ago, but these results were put off as a fluke since it is an absolute fact that women have a finite number of eggs and that we gradually run out of them. But should we be so sure? The study showed that, in mice, eggs are continually regenerated and can be regenerated through life. Now, I am the first to admit that before women start jumping up and down believing that their eggs still have a chance, I would like to see this information confirmedin humans. But if we can help take the stress off just a bit, the quality of their eggs is likely to improve greatly. This will be discussed later in greater detail.
When this information is proven in humans, hopefully it will not give people the impression that they can totally put off having children, but will instead encourage women and men who see themselves as parents someday to begin taking care of themselves better in preparation for having children. If eggs are regenerated, then it is important to nurture the cells that will produce these new little egg cells so that when the time comes, they are nice and healthy.
The idea that cellular health is important for the male holds true as well. A man's sperm come from immature sperm cells and gradually grow into mature sperm. This process takes anywheref rom five weeks to seventy two days depending on which reference you cite.
The point of this section is not to tell a woman or man what the appropriate age is to have children, but instead to make them aware that what they put in their body, how they treat their body, and how they react to emotional stresses can directly influence the health of the eggs.
Secret #5 Stress and Depression can affect fertility
Okay, this may not be a secret per se, but I have mentioned it in this report because this fact is often overlooked. Above, in our discussion, I have mentioned that hostility, a form of stress, can affect fertility. In addition, depression, another form of stress on thebody, has been shown in clinical studies by Dr. Alice Domar at Boston IVF (www.bostonivf.com) to negatively affect fertility.
The emotional aspects of fertility are serious. Many couples when surveyed, rank infertility right up there with having a serious life threatening disease. It is a serious subject. It is a natural tendency for human beings to want to express their fullest potential and this can be represented for many as having a child. When that ability or outcomeis threatened, it many times creates a belief in themselves that somehow they are not whole or not good enough or that something is seriously wrong with them.
These feelings and reactions are extremely common and should be addressed by a trusted counselor or therapist who can help the individual work through what it is about this situation that they can control. So many times when people feel there is another option, some of the burden is lifted and good news results. At our clinic it is common to have people say to us when they leave their consultation, "I feel somuch better now." Its as if a cloud has been lifted. We also receive calls each week from people who have been trying to conceive for a year or two, and after they make an appointment, find out that in fact they have conceived and subsequently have to cancel their appointment.
Just knowing that there areother options can be empowering. No one likes to be backed into a wall and told there is no other way out.
The emotionalstate is also extremely important when it comes to miscarriage, specifically recurrent miscarriage. Miscarriage can be an extremely disheartening and emotional experience for a couple. And when it happens over and over and they experience the highs and lows at such extremes, it really takes a toll on their overall health and wellbeing.
When a couple miscarries, it is important for them to be supported and any negative emotions cleared so that they can accept a new pregnancy into their lives. Women have told me of their extreme pain after a series of miscarriages, and how they have associated conflicting beliefsandpent-up emotions about having a child.Sometimes, theyeven want the same child back again. Letting go ofwhile still loving her pregnancies that were miscarried allows a woman to make room for a new pregnancy to enter into her life and make it through to full term. One woman told me that she was somehow trying to get the old pregnancy back and that she finally realized that this was impeding her ability to accept a new little soul into her life.
Another woman shared with me that she found out (after multiple miscarriages) that she was conflicted about having a child, and when she became committed to our program instead of sporadically following our advice, she let go of the conflict and it opened the door for a viable pregnancy to occur.
Emotions and the mind are so powerful. You simply cannot separate body and mind, as this connection is always there. The mind is always affecting your physiology and your physiology can affect your mind. The relationship is so intermingled that one cannot be separated from the other and therefore, it is important to address an individual's health as a whole while addressing fertility issues as well.
Influence of Acupuncture on the pregnancy rate in patients who undergo assisted reproduction therapy: Paulus, et.al. Fertility and Sterility Vol: 77, No. 4, APRIL 2002
In this study, acupuncture was only given just before and after embryo transfer. The group thatreceived the acupuncture achieved 60 % more pregnancies than did the control group that did notreceive the acupuncture.
Effect of acupuncture on sperm parameters of males suffering from subfertility related to low sperm quality: Siterman et.al. Arch Androl, 39(2):155-61 1997 Sep-Oct
In this study, both sperm quality and quantity were increasedthrough acupuncture.
Effects of acupuncture and moxa treatment in patients with semen abnormalities. Gurfinkel et.al. Asian J Androl. 2003 Dec;5(4):345-8
In this study, men receiving acupuncture had significant increases in the percentage of normal-form sperm compared to the control group that did not receive acupuncture.
A Randomized Study Evaluating Acupuncture as an Adjunct to IVF
Rodolfo Quintero, M.D., Wendy Yu, L.Ac., Brandon Horn, L.Ac., J.D., Daoshing Ni, D.O.M., Barry Schifrin, MD., Brian Acacio, M.D.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Glendale Adventist Medical Center (GAMC) and the Eastern Center for Complementary Medicine, Glendale, CA
Conclusions: Our study shows a significantly lower amount of gonadotropins used when IVF is combined with standard acupuncture. A 70% pregnancy rate was also achieved with standard acupuncture and IVF, compared to 25%. Larger prospective trials are necessary.
Acupuncture & IVF Poor Responders: A Cure? P.C. Magarelli,
D.K. Cridennda. Reproductive Medicine & Fertility Center, Colorado Springs, CO
Conclusions: Significant increases in pregnancy outcomes were confirmed by this study and the data uniquely supported the advantage of acupuncture in patients with normal PI. Finally, this study is the first to demonstrate that the use of acupuncture in patients with poor prognoses (elevated Peak FSH, longer history of infertility, poor sperm morphology) can achieve similar pregnancy rates to normal prognosis patient.
Worrying Doesnt Help Matters: Women Who Are Very Concerned About Medical Or Professional Implications Of Their IVF Cases Are Less Likely To Get Pregnant
(Klonoff-Cohen and Natarajan, The Concerns During Assisted Reproductive Technologies (CART) scale and pregnancy outcomes, Fertility and Sterility, Vol.81, No.4, April 2004.)
Researchers at the University of California San Diego found that patients who worry about certain aspects of their assisted reproductive technology are likely to produce fewer eggs and have a lesser chance of becoming pregnant than others who are more unconcerned.
In this prospective study, 151 women completed questionnaires at their initial clinic visit and at the time of their IVF or GIFT procedure. The questionnaires, developed from a survey of the scientific literature on stress and IVF, focused on concerns specific to IVF and GIFT- side effects, surgery, anesthesia, pain recovery, finances, missing work, and having a baby.
Women who were concerned about the medical aspects of the procedure had 20% fewer eggs retrieved and 19% fewer eggs fertilized than women who were less inclined to worry about it. Women who were very concerned about missing work had 30% fewer eggs fertilized. Those who were very concerned about finances associated with the procedure had a very high risk of not delivering a live infant. Results were adjusted for different variables that could also play a part in predicting ART success: age, race, smoking, and type of infertility, number of previous attempts to become pregnant, and number of children already born.
Marian Damewood, MD, President of ASRM, commented, "While no one has elucidated the physiological relationship between women's concerns and the outcomes of their ART cases, we know that stress has a number of negative systemic effects. Worry about missing work and fears surrounding ART medical procedures are definitely stress-inducers. By the time patients arrive at ART, theyve been through months or years of diagnosis, treatment and the emotional pain of infertility. We need to do what we can to alleviate patients concerns and make the ART experience easier - giving them more information and creating more scheduling flexibility is a good place to start."
Acupuncture and fertility
If you are struggling to conceive naturally, acupuncture can be of great benefit. Failure to conceive, even after months or years of trying, does not automatically mean complete infertility. If, and when, a woman conceives depends on a range of factors, both physical and psychological. A woman can experience irregular cycles, pre-menstrual pain, amenorrhea, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), Premature Ovarian Failure (POF), endometriosis, fibroids, or hormonal irregularities. These conditions can impede your ability to conceive. Chinese Medicine and acupuncture can restore balance to the system.
Acupuncture and In Vitro Fertilization
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 9 million American women are currently using Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) services to help them cope with fertility issues. Of available ART services, one of the most widely used is In Vitro Fertilization, or IVF. This consists of harvesting a woman's eggs and fertilizing them outside her body. The embryo that results from this fertilization is introduced into the womans uterus to develop as a normal pregnancy.
In vitro fertilization is used in cases of fallopian tube blockage, low sperm count, abnormal cervical factors, immunologic factors affecting either partner, infertility after tubal surgery, infertility after treatment for endometriosis, and for unexplained infertility. This procedure was first successfully used in the United States in 1981. A recent widely published German study found that using acupuncture with IVF achieved a 42% clinical pregnancy rate compared to only 26% in the control group not receiving acupuncture. When acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are used in conjunction with IVF, clinical experience suggests the pregnancy rate can be raised. To view the study, please visit:
How does Chinese medicine help improve IVF success rates?
- Improves the function of the ovaries to produce better quality eggs
- Regulates the hormones to produce a larger number of follicles
- Increases the blood flow to the uterus and increases the thickness of the uterine lining
- Relaxes the patient and decreases stress
- Helps prevent uterine contractions
- Lessens the side effects of the Western drugs used in IVF
- Strengthens and regulates the patient's immune system
- Improves male semen to create better quality and quantity of embryos
- Decreases the chance of miscarriage
For best results, acupuncture, Chinese herbs, and Chinese dietary and lifestyle therapy should be used before, during, and after IVF. Chinese medicine can help prepare both partners before IVF to strengthen the function of the ovaries, regulate the immune system, reduce stress, and improve the quantity and quality of sperm and the quality of the seminal fluid. This is accomplished in the female partner by treating any menstrual irregularities, such as amenorrhea, PMS, endometriosis, uterine myomas (a.k.a. fibroids), or heavy bleeding due to lack of ovulation. Such preparatory treatment usually lasts 3-6 months. After successful implantation of the embryo has taken place, Chinese medicine can also be used to help prevent miscarriage.
Acupuncture During Pregnancy
Once a woman has conceived, acupuncture and Chinese medicine can be further used to maintain a healthy pregnancy. Acupuncture can help reduce the symptoms of morning sickness, high blood pressure, fatigue, constipation, pre-eclampsia, stress, anxiety and insomnia. In later stages of pregnancy, acupuncture can turn a breech baby to a normal position, and can be used to induce labor when a woman is past her due date.
Medical Acupuncture &Nutrition, Inc.
487 Winn Way, Suite 111
Decatur, GA 30030
3841 Holcomb Bridge Rd
Norcross, Ga, 30092
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Dr. Yu Kang, L.Ac. is available to give workshops and lectures on acupuncture and alternative medicine at your company, group, church or organization. Topics include stress reduction; weight loss; acupuncture for infertility; diabetes, high blood pressure, menopause and pain management.
Dr. Yu Kang treats patients injured in auto accidents and is featured in Your Legal Guide
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