Welcome to my blog, discover acupuncture with Dr Maggie Ju

Qualified as a medical doctor in Western medicine in China with a Medical degree from Beijing, China and a PhD degree from the UK. Many year research and clinical experiences. This blog is for information only.

Tuesday, 23 August 2022

Fallopian tubes, tubal infertility and acupuncture

The role of fallopian tube is in reproduction

The fallopian tube is a part of the women’s reproductive system. It plays an essential role in gamete transport, fertilization and the early development of the embryo. The tube contains inner lining and smooth muscle wall. In the inner lining there are two major cell types are the ciliated and secretory cells. The fallopian tube goes through cyclical changes responding to estrogen and progesterone levels. The ciliated cells are low in height during the menstrual periods of the cycle, increasing during the follicular phase to reach their maximal height in the periovulatory period. Around the time of ovulation, the secretory cells reach peak activity. In the luteal phase, both cell types reduce in height.

When an egg is release, it takes about 8 hours to reach the site within fallopian tube where fertilization occurs and embryo is accommodated there for 72 hours. Once progesterone dominance begins lumen opens and the embryo is transported to the uterus.

Tubal infertility and acupuncture

The fallopian tube is essential on sperm, egg and embryo transport and dearly embryo development and it is very important for women who desire to get pregnant naturally. In IVF procedure, the fallopian tube is circumvented. The fallopian tube is not a concrete tunnel. The tube wall is flexible and consisted of smooth muscles which are responding to monthly cyclic hormone changes. Sometimes the tube can be obstructed by debris in the tube and tube muscle spasm. Women with spasm tube will find it difficult to get pregnant.

Fallopian tube smooth muscle contraction is induced by sympathetic nerves. Acupuncture reduces sympathetic activity and relaxes tube muscles and the debris in the tube is flushed away by the tubal fluids. This makes the obstructed tube reopen. In this case, pregnancy occurs quickly after acupuncture treatment.

Risk factors of tubal infertility include increased age, cigarette smoking history of endometriosis and history of pelvic inflammatory disease which were significantly associated with tubal infertility.

Tubal infertility with acupuncture treatment

Fallopian tubes which are the pathway where eggs travel to the uterus are very important for normal fertility. They play a key role in picking up eggs and transporting eggs, sperm and embryo. The fallopian tubes are the places where eggs are fertilised. Fallopian tubes are vulnerable to infection and surgical damage. This may affect tube function and cause infertility. If the tubes are blocked, this will cause infertility. Falllopian tube obstructions are the most common cause of female infertility, accounting for 30%-40% of cases.

Causes of tubal infertility: Pelvic infection is a major cause of tubal infertility. Infective tubal damage can be caused by sexually transmitted diseases, for example Chlamydia trachomatis accounts for half of the cases of acute inflammatory pelvic infections in developed countries. Tubal damage can also occur after miscarriage, termination of pregnancy, puerperal sepsis, or insertion of an intrauterine contraceptive device. Pelvic endometriosis rarely causes complete tubal occlusion. Endometriosis associated adhesions likely cause tubal distortion. Previous laparotomy is a risk factor for tubal infertility. In addition, ectopic pregnancy and uterine fibroids can also damage the tubes.

Tube obstruction may occur at any part along the course of the tube. Tube occlusions may be caused by tube spasm, infection and surgery. Tube spasm likely occurs in the proximal and middle part of the tubes. Distal part of the tube (which is close to the ovary) occlusion is likely caused by pelvic infection. If your tubes were damaged, the body healing procedure will be initiated automatically in order to repair the damage. If you have a wound in your hand, you can see the repairing process clearly which is inflammatory process. The body was trying to repair and regenerate to heal the wound. There was a similar process going on if your tubes were damaged.

Patients with tubal infertility have reduced chance of natural conception, depending on the extent of tube damage. Transcervical cannulation is good option for proximal tube occlusion. Other surgical procedures could be another option. The disadvantage of surgery is that it can cause scar tissue and adhesion. The tubes may become blocked again, cause new pelvic infections and risk for ectopic pregnancy.

Apart from surgical treatment option, acupuncture is a good choice that can be very effective without causing additional scars and infection. Acupuncture increases reproductive system blood flow, reduces inflammation; as a result, it releases tube spasms, reduces scar tissues and helps healing process. This may get blocked tubes open again. There were a few case reports in Chinese that tubal infertility with acupuncture treatment, pregnancy rate was up to 72%.

References

R.A.Lyons et al (2006)Human Reproduction Update, 12: 363–372

Papaioannou S Hum Rreprod (2004) 19:481-5

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