Complementary Therapies in Medicine, Engredea News & Analysis
Nov. 30, 2011 12:32am
A meta-analysis published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine found that 60% of infertile women became pregnant after taking Chinese herbs for four months, while only 30% became pregnant after taking drugs or undergoing in vitro fertilization for a year.
“Efficacy of Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine in the management of female infertility: A Systematic Review” published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine, Volume 19, Issue 6, December 2011. The study was conducted at Discipline of General Practice, School of Population Health & Clinical Practice, The University of Adelaide, South Australia 5005, Australia.
To assess the effect of Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine (CHM) in the management of female infertility and on pregnancy rates compared with Western Medical (WM) treatment.
We searched the Medline and Cochrane databases and Google Scholar until February 2010 for abstracts in English of studies investigating infertility, menstrual health and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). We undertook meta-analyses of (non-)randomised controlled trials (RCTs) or cohort studies, and compared clinical pregnancy rates achieved with CHM versus WM drug treatment or in vitro fertilisation (IVF). In addition, we collated common TCM pattern diagnosis in infertility in relation to the quality of the menstrual cycle and associated symptoms.
Eight RCTs, 13 cohort studies, 3 case series and 6 case studies involving 1851 women with infertility were included in the systematic review. Meta-analysis of RCTs suggested a 3.5 greater likelihood of achieving a pregnancy with CHM therapy over a 4-month period compared with WM drug therapy alone (odds ratio = 3.5, 95% CI: 2.3, 5.2, p < 0.0001, n = 1005). Mean (SD) pregnancy rates were 60 ± 12.5% for CHM compared with 32 ± 10% using WM drug therapy. Meta-analysis of selected cohort studies (n = 616 women) suggested a mean clinical pregnancy rate of 50% using CHM compared with IVF (30%) (p < 0.0001).
Our review suggests that management of female infertility with Chinese Herbal Medicine can improve pregnancy rates 2-fold within a 4 month period compared with Western Medical fertility drug therapy or IVF. Assessment of the quality of the menstrual cycle, integral to TCM diagnosis, appears to be fundamental to successful treatment of female infertility.
Yes, acupuncture is a great resource for a pregnant woman or a woman who is thinking of becoming pregnant to consider. Acupuncture can be effectively used when planning pregnancy, for women who are currently pregnant, for those preparing for birth and finally for those ladies who have entered the postpartum phase of their pregnancy.
There is growing research that suggests that acupuncture leading up to and during implantation phase helps improve implantation chances. This is especially true for IVF and the current recommendation is to receive acupuncture within 24 hours before egg transfer and within hours post egg transfer to improve odds as best as possible. Odds continue to improve when acupuncture is a regular part of any program leading up to IVF and the transfer itself.
While acupuncture is more readily known as being a part of programs addressing issues of infertility it is important for a woman to know that acupuncture is a very low to no risk, high reward resource that supports a woman’s overall quality of life, including during pregnancy. Acupuncture can be helpful for many of the discomforts a woman may experience throughout the course of pregnancy including pain, swelling, constipation among other issues that do not need to be a normal or acceptable part of a woman’s pregnancy. Everspring Health offers acupuncture as a part of a holistic program that is customized to the needs of the client.