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Maggie Ju (2014) Current opinion in acupuncture on stroke rehabilitation
The Journal of Chinese Medicine And Acupuncture Volume 21 Issue 2 September 2014 P9
Maggie Ju. (2015) What Part Does Acupuncture Play in IVF?
The Journal of Chinese Medicine And Acupuncture Volume 22 Issue 1 March 2015 P21
Maggie Ju (2020) The Potentiality of COVID-19 Treatment with Chinese Herbal Medicine in the UK
The Journal of Chinese Medicine And Acupuncture Volume 27 Issue 2 November 2020 P9
Tuesday, 11 June 2019
Infertility: Acupuncture is a valuable therapy for female infertility.
Key steps for fertility in women. Many ovarian follicles in ovaries in reproductive age women grow stimulated by FSH, but normally only one of them become mature and are released from the ovary each period cycle (we call it ovulation) triggered by LH. The egg released travels through a fallopian tube where fertilisation occurs when a sperm penetrating into the egg and then the fertilised egg will travel to the uterus and implant in inner lining of uterus where the fetus may grow. Thus pregnancy begins. If for any reasons, any of these factors are interrupted, it will result in infertility.
Women's infertility could be caused by many diseases, though some of it is without underlying causes or the underlying causes could not be found.
Causes of female infertility:
First of all, hormonal problem will cause anovulation. As we already know, hormones mentioned above are very important for fertility. Ovulation depends on the balance of these hormones; any disruption of the hormone balance can cause anovulation. These could be results of three levels: 1, Ovaries fail to produce mature eggs. In this case ovaries do not produce normal follicles causing immature eggs which cannot be ovulated. Polycystic ovary syndrome is the common condition of this category. 2, Hypothalamus does not function well. Hypothalamus is the start of hypothalamus-pituitary-ovarian axis. If hypothalamus fails to produce or release GnRH, the hormonal system will lose the balance, immature eggs will be produced. 3, Pituitary gland is not normal. FSH and LH produced by pituitary gland are very important hormones for egg development and maturation. Pituitary gland disorders will result in abnormal FSH and LH level causing ovulation problem.
Secondly, Scarred ovaries could lead to anovulation. For instance, surgery, endometriosis and pelvic infection might cause ovary scars in which case ovaries may fail to ovulate.
At last, other ovarian problems are responsible for anovulation, for example, premature ovarian failure.
Fallopian tube problems:
Fallopian tubes can become constant spasm, mild adhesions and complete blockage. One of the common causes for this is pelvic or abdominal infection that affects fallopian tubes. Other one is pelvic or abdominal surgery causing adhesions. The eggs cannot pass through the blocked tubes causing infertility.
Endometriosis causes infertility, because the overgrowth causes adhesion and it could scar ovaries, block fallopian tubes or disrupt egg implant in uterus, depending on where it grows.
Some uterus problems could result in infertility, such as fibroids, polyps probably because of obstruction of the uterus or fallopian tubes.
Cervical mucus problem:
Hormone imbalance, for instance, too little estrogen or too much progesterone causes abnormal cervical mucus which makes it harder to conceive.
Other risk factors:
Obesity is a growing issue in many countries. Body mass index (BMI) (kg/m2) is used for definition. According to world Health Organization (WHO) standard, a BMI of 18.5-24.9 is within a normal range; 25-29.9 is overweight and ≥30 is obese. Obesity has negative effects on many aspects of women’s health. Fertility is one of them. Obese women are more likely to experience infertility, they are more likely not to response to fertility treatment and there is high risk of miscarriage and low live birth rates. Obesity associates with infertility from the impact on many aspects. Previous studies have shown lower number of oocytes retrieved; poorer egg quality due to impaired oocyte maturation and fertilization; poorer embryo quality. The reasons for these are: obesity is related to alterations in various hormones, such as LH. In addition, obesity increases insulin, glucose, or free fatty acids and changes in some proteins. Obesity is also linked with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Systemic inflammation may contribute to the causes of infertility in obesity.
Obese women respond poorly to ovulation induction resulting in fewer oocytes harvested, they required higher doses of gonadotrophins and took longer to ovulate. They have lower pregnancy rates and increased risk of early pregnancy loss. Obesity is associated with a significant rise in failure in assisted reproduction. Weight loss makes menstrual cycles regular and increases the chance of spontaneous ovulation.
Drugs, such as chemotherapy drugs and anti-depressants may cause infertility.
Environmental factor: such as exposure to lead could compromise fertility.
Smoking, alcohol and stress are recognised as risk factors.
Age, Women's fertility is linked to age. After 35 year old, the fertility is declining significantly.
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