Trying To Conceive Myth #2 – Infertility is Always Due to the Female*

Trying To Conceive Myth #2 – Infertility is Always Due to the Female*

In clinical practice, there tends to be an over emphasis on treating female infertility. Instances occur in which the male can remain untested only for him to be later identified as the greater contributing factor. Approximately one third of infertility cases can be attributed to the male and 7% of the male population will be affected by infertility.

There are a number of causes of male infertility. They are categorised as being either, pre-testicular, testicular or post-testicular. Example of each are as follows:

Pre-testicular: smoking; recreational drugs; alcohol; and strenuous bike riding.

Testicular: age; genetic defects; abnormal chromosomes; trauma; and previous health conditions (cancer, mumps or malaria etc).

Post-testicular: Infection and obstructions.

Sperm quality can be assessed with an andrology test. This generally consists of three main enquires. These are sperm count, morphology and motility.

Sperm count: Measures the concentration of sperm in the semen.

Morphology: Assesses the amount of sperm which are considered to be of normal shape.

Motility: Considers the sperm’s ability to move.

If you are experiencing infertility, it is advisable to consider asking for an andrology test. It is a cheap and easy way to exclude a significant potential cause. Moreover, if a problem is found, it may be easily treated. This is especially true for morphology and motility cases. After approximately three months of treatment, significant improvement can be experienced. In contrast, low sperm count is difficult to treat, but it can be however over-come with assisted reproductive procedures such as ICSI.

*This is the second of a list of 13 myths concerning conception which was compiled by Dr Minna Geisler from The Waterstone Clinic in Ireland.

 

Trying To Conceive Myth #1 – Getting Pregnant Will Be Easy*

Falling pregnant is not necessarily easy. Given infertility is a topic which is usually not openly discussed, its prevalence in those amongst us, largely goes unnoticed. Consequently, it is more common than many realise. One in six couples in Australia will experience difficulties conceiving. A formal diagnosis of infertility can be given once a couple has been trying for one year without success. Though, on the positive side, most healthy couples manage to conceive within three months of trying.

The causes of infertility can be attributed to factors involving both females and males. 40% of cases are the result of sperm problems, and equally, 40% are due to problems within the female reproductive system. 30% of cases involve issues with both sexes.

A healthy couple has a 20% chance of conceiving in any one given cycle. So, it is more than likely that a few attempts will be required. Given this, when is advisable to seek help? Before racing down the path of treatment, it is best make sure the process of falling pregnant is understood. For example, it is important to know when ovulation occurs and the optimal timing of intercourse. If you are however under the age of 35, it is advisable to seek assistance after one year of trying. Those over 35, should do so after six months. If there is a known condition which may affect fertility, then seeking help sooner is advisable.

*This is the first of a list of 13 myths concerning conception which was compiled by Dr Minna Geisler from The Waterstone Clinic in Ireland.

Trying To Conceive – The Top 13 Myths

After being in clinical practice for a number of years, I have heard a multitude of myths concerning fertility. Some of these may appear to be plausible, whilst others border on the ridiculous. Dr Minna Geisler from The Waterstone Clinic in Ireland has put together a list of the top most frequent fertility myths. In the coming blogs, I have decided to individually address each of these myths and add in a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective where it is applicable.

Dr Geisler’s list is as follows:

  1. Getting pregnant will be easy
  2. Infertility is always due to a problem with the female
  3. After stopping using the pill, it will take a while to conceive
  4. 4. It is best to have sex at the same time as ovulation
  5. Lifting the legs in the air after sex will increase the chances of conception
  6. 6. It is best to wait for your temperature to raise before having sex
  7. IVF is the only treatment option
  8. Given I already have a child, it is safe to assume it will be easy to conceive again
  9. Relax and take your time, IVF will allow you to conceive at any age
  10. Body weight has no influence on someone’s fertility
  11. Levels of exercise have no effect on fertility
  12. Stress does not play a role in infertility
  13. Only women need to take folic acid.

Fertility Treatment: One Size Does Not Fit All

Fertility TreatmentPatients, who have been successfully treated, regularly refer others who are experiencing the same problem. This on this surface seems straightforward. Common sense suggests that if a condition can be treated easily for one patient, then it can also be easily treated for another. This however is not necessarily the case.

Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine are by nature highly idiosyncratic. This means there are a multitude of variables involved in its application. Effective treatment requires specific custom designed acupuncture and/or herbal medicine prescriptions which exactly match each patient’s individual situation.

To add further difficulty, Chinese Medicine is an effective energetic medicine. The system of diagnosis is designed to identify the underlying energetic imbalance which is causing the illness/symptoms.

All this leads to a somewhat unusual situation. A condition, as we understand it in western medical science, can be caused by more than one energetic imbalance. So, two patients who presented with, for example an absence of a menstruation could be successfully treated using very different approaches. To add to the complexity, one of these patients may have received a treatment very similar to someone else who was experiencing a totally different condition (such anxiety and depression). There is a saying in Chinese Medicine which translates to say, there are multiple approaches to treat a single condition, and there are multiple conditions which can be treated with the one approach.

Given this, it is easy to see how treatment outcomes can be very different between two friends who seek treatment for what appears to be the same fertility problem. If you are interested in finding out how acupuncture and/or Chinese Herbal Medicine can help you conceive, phone Dr Kirk Wilson (PhD) on 9231 3377.

Trying To Conceive: The Need For Closure

Depositphotos_37593465_xsTrying to conceive can be a difficult journey. There is no more difficult time compared to when you have run out of treatment options. Each IVF clinic has their cut off age where they no longer recommend treatment. If age is not your concern, then there are only so many IVF cycles you can undergo until your doctor will recommend alternatives such as a donor. The donor option is one that does not rest well with everyone. So, what is the answer? Are there other options? Is there any hope? Can someone feel comfortable with giving up knowing other treatment options were not attempted?

The Fertility & IVF Acupuncture Clinic sees many patients who are confronted with these difficult questions. These patients are recommended to undertake a treatment program which is designed to test if any improvement is possible. A commitment of about five to six months is ideal, though there is no pressure to see it through. If a patient feels they have resigned themselves to not conceiving, they do not need to offer any explanation to cease treatment. In the absence of a positive outcome, the next best goal is to assist the patient in realising they have done all they could. This no doubt will reduce future regrets and second-guessing.

If you are having difficulty conceiving and/or you are running out of treatment options, consider acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. Dr Kirk Wilson (PhD) from the Fertility & IVF Acupuncture offers no obligation consolations for those who are considering treatment. To make an appointment phone 9231 3377.

Trying To Conceive: Patience Is A Virtue

patienceOne of the most difficult parts of trying to conceive is having the patience to see it through until a positive outcome is achieved. Health professionals who treat infertility address this problem with their patients on a daily basis. Feelings of frustration are no doubt exacerbated by the fact that by the time most couples have sought treatment, they are already fed up with trying. Patients at the Fertility & IVF Acupuncture Clinic are encouraged to hold strong and press on with their treatment, for two main reasons. These include:

Time Needed To Correct An Imbalance
Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine are treatments which are designed to rectify energetic imbalances. This can take time. It is thought that the longer the energetic imbalance has been present, the more treatment will be required. Given these energetic imbalances often manifest as subclinical symptoms, most patients are unaware of how long the imbalance has been present. This can lead to an uncertain time horizon for treatment.

Probability Of Conception
Once the acupuncture and/or herbal medicine has reinstated an energetic balance, time is still required to conceive. A healthy woman has a one in five (20%) chance of falling pregnant in any given menstrual cycle. Despite being balanced and healthy, a run of unlucky probability may mean a positive pregnancy test may take time.

If you are having trouble conceiving and you would like to find out if acupuncture and/or Chinese Medicine could help, please phone Dr Kirk Wilson (PhD) on 9231 3377.

Endometriosis: Part 6 – Why Is Treatment Important?

endometriosisIn an earlier blog post it was pointed out that endometriosis is the growth of the endometrium (the lining of the uterus) outside of the uterus. For a more detailed explanation, refer to the previous blog titled “Endometriosis: Part 1 – What Is It?”. Given endometriosis is outside of the uterus, and not causing a problem within the uterus, then it may be assumed there is no risk of a problem. There are however two possible ways endometriosis can still affect fertility.

Obstructions

The female reproductive system is made up of more than just the uterus. Blockages in these other areas can be detrimental to fertility. The most obvious one being, the potential blockage of the fallopian tubes.

Cytokines

In the most recent research there is a growing body of evidence suggesting that within the peritoneal fluid of women who have endometriosis, there are increased levels of cells called cytokines. These cells are suspected of playing a role in endometriosis related to infertility. Though further research is needed for clarification. Researchers are uncertain of the critical point where the severity of the endometriosis will indicate a fertility related issue with the cytokines.

This blog was the final instalment on this series focusing on endometriosis. If you have any questions or you would like to have your endometriosis treated, please phone Dr Kirk Wilson (PhD) from the Fertility & IVF Acupuncture Clinic on 9231 3377.

Endometriosis: Part 5 – Treatment (Chinese Medicine Approach)

Chinese MedicineChinese Medicine (acupuncture and herbal medicine) is an effect modality of treatment for endometriosis. It is most suitably used to reduce the symptoms associated with endometriosis and as a preventative treatment to lessen the chances of it reoccurring.

Treating The Symptoms Of Endometriosis

Chinese Medicine is frequently used to treat all the common symptoms associated with endometriosis. It is very effective in managing the pain. This includes pain in the abdomen, back and pelvic regions. It also is used to regulate the menstrual cycle; reduce heavy bleeding; reduce prolonged spotting; and restore a regular 28-day cycle. The gastrointestinal symptoms such a loose stools and bloating are also treatable with Chinese Medicine.

The Limitation Of Chinese Medicine

Despite it’s effectiveness in treating the symptoms of endometriosis, Chinese Medicine is not the best method of treatment to have it removed. The most efficient and effective way to do this is via surgery. Chinese medicine is well suited to limiting the growth of endometriosis, however in my clinical experience, I am yet to witness a case where it has caused it to be removed.

Prevention Of Reoccurrence

Once endometriosis has been surgically removed, Chinese Medicine should then be used to prevent the endometriosis from returning. This is done by rectifying the underlying energetic imbalance which caused the endometriosis.

The next blog will be the final instalment in this series on endometriosis. It will cover the reasoning as to why it is important to treat endometriosis. If you suffer from endometriosis, and you would like to seek treatment, please phone Dr Kirk Wilson (PhD) from the Fertility & IVF Acupuncture clinic on 9231 3377.

Endometriosis: Part 4 – Treatment (Medical Approach)

Endometriosis acupunctureEndometriosis does not always require treatment. Mild case may not need any treatment at all, and if left untreated, can improve. Though most cases will remain unchanged without treatment and may even get worse. Western medical science has two approaches in treating endometriosis, drug therapy and surgery.

Drug Therapy

Drug therapy can be used to treat the symptoms associated with endometriosis. This approach is mostly employed for the purposes of pain relief. It involves prescribing over-the-counter pain relief medication (such as panadol) or non-steroidal anti-inflammatories. Alternatively, drug therapy can involve hormonal treatment. This approach is designed to suppress the menstrual cycle. In turn, this will have the affect of slowing the growth of the endometriosis. The most common drug prescribed for this purpose is the contraceptive pill.

Surgery

Keyhole surgery (otherwise known as laparoscopy) can be used as either a method of diagnosis (to locate the endometriosis) or as a form of treatment. When used as a form of treatment it involves surgically cutting out the endometriosis or the use of a laser to burn the endometriosis. The surgical approach is needed when there are cysts on the ovaries. Without surgery, it is unlikely these will resolve on their own (and they cannot be treated using drug therapy).

In the next blog (Part 5), the treatment of endometriosis will be discussed from the perspective of Chinese Medicine. In the meantime, if you have any questions, or if you are think about seeking treatment for your endometriosis, contact Dr Kirk Wilson (PhD) on 9231 3377.

Endometriosis: Part 3 – The Causes

EndometriosisLittle is understood in regards to the causes of endometriosis. Each case has its own unique characteristics and in turn probable causes will vary on a case-by-case basis. Despite this, there are two key risk factors which are more commonly associated with endometriosis. These are family history and retrograde menstruation.

A woman is seven to ten times more likely to get endometriosis if they have a relative who has the condition. The closer the family relationship with an endometriosis sufferer, the greater the chance a female will also get endometriosis.

Retrograde menstruation is also a common risk factor for endometriosis. This involves the flow of menstrual blood heading back into the vagina through the fallopian tubes and into the pelvis area. This blood contains endometrial tissue. For the majority of women, this tissue will break down and be reabsorbed and no symptoms will be experienced. For those with endometriosis, this tissue may start to grow.

There are a range of other symptoms which may be associated with endometrioses. These include: the arrival of a menstrual cycle before the age of 11 years; recurring menstrual cycles of less than 27 days; delay in childbirth; falling pregnant at a young age; the use of alcohol; and low body weight.

If you have any questions in regards to treating your endometriosis, contact Dr Kirk Wilson (PhD) from the Fertility & IVF Acupuncture Clinic on 9231 3377. The treatment of endometriosis will be addressed in next week’s blog.