Threatened miscarriage, if due to an imbalance in the mother’s system (but not if due to genetic problems with the fetus), can often be overcome with application of herbs and possible adjunct therapy with moxa or acupuncture. The method to be used and the procedures to follow should be discussed early in the pregnancy so that appropriate steps can be taken should bleeding, fetal agitation, or early contractions occur. It is important to note that most cases of early miscarriage (sometimes called spontaneous abortion) are not related to an imbalance in the mother’s system but are rather a natural and fairly common event, possibly due to a development problem of the embryo. Later in the pregnancy, weaknesses in the mother’s system or excessive fetal movement, become a more prominent factor. There is a particular herb formula which forms the basis of most treatments aimed at avoiding miscarriage-but the formula is intended to be used mainly as a daily preventive therapy rather than an emergency treatment. Extensive testing in the Orient indicates that the formula is safe to use and it appears highly effective. There are several modified versions of the formula are used to address specific concerns and are probably of equal safety and efficacy during the latter part of pregnancy.
Copyright 2002 American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Published by Elsevier Science Inc., Printed on acid-free paper in U.S.A.

Role of acupuncture in the treatment of female infertility


Raymond Chang, M.D.[a,b] Pak H. Chung, M.D.[b] and Zev Rosenwaks, M.D.[c]

Objective: To review existing scientific rationale and clinical data in the utilization of acupuncture in the treatment of female infertility.

Design: A MEDLINE computer search was performed to identify relevant articles.

Result(s): Although the understanding of acupuncture is based on ancient medical theory, studies have suggested that certain effects of acupuncture are mediated through endogenous opioid peptides in the central nervous system, particularly B-endorphin. Because these neuropeptides influence gonadotropin secretion through their action on GnRH, it is logical to hypothesize that acupuncture may impact on the menstrual cycle through these neuropeptides. Although studies of adequate design, sample size, and appropriate control on the use of acupuncture on ovulation induction are lacking, there is only one prospective randomized controlled study examining the efficacy of acupuncture in patients undergoing IVF. Besides its central effect, the sympathoinhibitory effects of acupuncture may impact on uterine blood flow.

Conclusion(s): Although the definitive role of acupuncture in the treatment of female infertility is yet to be established, its potential impact centrally on the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis and peripherally on the uterus needs to be systemically examined. Prospective randomized controlled studies are needed to evaluate the efficacy of acupuncture in the female fertility treatment. (Fertil Steril 2002;78:1149-53. 2002 by American Society for Reproductive Medicine.)

Acupuncture as a therapeutic intervention has been extensively studied and is increasingly practiced in the United States. A recent survey of acupuncture released by an NIH Consensus Development panel (1) indicated that although there are inherent problems of design, sample size, and appropriate controls in the acupuncture literature, promising data exist for the use of acupuncture in treating nausea and vomiting (2), postoperative pain (3-5), addiction (6-9), and general pain syndromes (10-12). As a medical technique, acupuncture has also been reported as an adjunct in the treatment of various gynecologic problems (13-15).

Although conventional treatment options for female infertility have been well established, there have been few systematic reviews of complementary or alternative approaches to the treatment of infertility. In light of an increasing trend in the use of complementary and alternative medicine (16) and common inquiry and utilization of such approaches by patients suffering from infertility, we intend to review the existing scientific rationale and clinical data based on which acupuncture may exert an influence on the outcome of female fertility.

In examining the potential usefulness of acupuncture in enhancing female fertility, it is appropriate first to give some theoretical background for acupuncture. Although the theory of acupuncture stems from underlying traditional Chinese medicine premises that would define etiologies for infertility in terms of energy disturbance of imbalances, or organ deficiencies and excesses, we intend to review the existing literature by examining modern medical aspects of the central and peripheral modes of action of acupuncture as they impact on the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis and the pelvic organs, respectively. Moreover, the effect of acupuncture on anxiety and stress and ensuing potential indirect effects on female fertility will also be discussed.