Ovarian reserve – acupuncture holds a promise

In this study, researchers investigated how acupuncture influenced ovarian reserve in women who had low ovarian reserve or “very few eggs left”. They used a kind of acupuncture with no needles, where very gentle electric impulses are used to stimulate acupuncture points. This study has shown improved the hormone levels including Anti-Müllerian Hormone (AMH). AMH test is a test often used by IVF clinics to estimate response to the IVF drugs. Researchers observed increased number of eggs collected with IVF. The embryo quality was also improved. Consequently, women who had acupuncture had better IVF pregnancy outcomes.

The study was published in The Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Research.

Are you interested in learning how your fertility can be optimised with acupuncture?  Contact Dr Vitalis Acupuncture in Auckland.

Abstract/summary of the study:

J Obstet Gynaecol Res. 2015 Dec;41(12):1905-11. doi: 10.1111/jog.12810. Epub 2015 Oct 12.
Effects of transcutaneous electrical acupoint stimulation on ovarian reserve of patients with diminished ovarian reserve in in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer cycles.
Zheng Y1,2, Feng X2, Mi H2, Yao Y2, Zhao Y2, Li J2, Jiao J2, Gong A2, Sun W2, Deng X1.
Author information
Abstract
AIM:
The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of transcutaneous electrical acupoint stimulation (TEAS) on ovarian reserve in patients with diminished ovarian reserve undergoing in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer.
MATERIAL AND METHODS:
A total of 240 patients were randomly divided into the Han’s acupoint nerve stimulator TEAS treatment (TES), comforting false Han’s placebo (FHP), artificial endometrial cycle treatment (AEC), and control (CON) groups.
RESULTS:
Fifty-six patients in TES, 56 in FHP, 54 in AEC, and 60 in CON fulfilled the study, respectively. Antral follicle count and anti-Müllerian hormone levels were increased, whereas the estradiol level, follicle-stimulating hormone level, and follicle-stimulating hormone/luteinizing hormone ratio were significantly decreased after treatment in the TES and AEC groups. After treatment, the number of oocytes retrieved and average number of embryos transferred were higher in the TES and AEC than in the CON and FHP groups. Clinical pregnancy rate in the TES group was markedly higher than values obtained for the other three groups.
CONCLUSION:
TEAS and AEC treatments could improve basal endocrine levels in patients, and increase the number of oocytes retrieved and high-quality embryos. TEAS treatment could improve the clinical pregnancy rate in patients with decreased ovarian reserve during in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer cycles.
© 2015 Japan Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Reproductive acupuncture vs medication for anovulation

Interested know how reproductive acupuncture scores against medication at improving ovulation and ovarian health?

One of the causes for anovulation is luteinised unruptured follicle syndrome (LUFS). LUFS affects 5%-10% of healthy women of childbearing age and 25%-43% of women with infertility. This syndrome is more common among women diagnosed with endometriosis.

Most commonly LUFS is diagnosed during series of ultrasound scans. In women with LUFS the dominant follicle will grow bigger than usual (up to 4 centimetres). The follicle will undergo the luteinisation process, but it will not rupture during the midcycle to release the mature egg. Progesterone secretion will increase, the endometrium will undergo the secretory changes. Your won’t be able to see any difference in your period. The menstrual flow will be no different to healthy menstrual cycle; but, obviously, if oocyte is not released, fertilisation and pregnancy cannot happen. Pathogenesis of LUFS is poorly understood. The main treatment is ovulation induction with hCG hormonal injection or Chlomiphene. These treatments are a risk of hyperstimulation syndrome and other side-effects.

A recent literature review on acupuncture’s effect on LUFS has been published in Journal Of Acupuncture and Tuina Science. And if offers a safe and effective alternative. Read more

Hyperprolactinemia: reproductive acupuncture holds a promise

hyperprolactinemia-prolactinomaHyperprolactinemia can be a significant obstacle for women trying to get pregnant, and reproductive acupuncture may be one way to address the condition in some women. Previous research has shown that acupuncture influences prolactin levels in women undergoing IVF. We have studies showing acupuncture can reduce prolactin levels (auricular acupuncture using NADA protocol).

This study is interesting, because the researchers were looking at natural conception rates; and women who had acupuncture treatment showed significant difference – they were more fertile. Acupuncture plus standard treatment resulted in 43% pregnancy rate vs 20% of standard treatment alone. Bromocriptine has some nasty side-effects, including dizziness, nausea, confusion, even hallucinations and uncontrolled body movement. Women undergoing acupuncture treatment had much better response to the drug, but also had fewer side-effects.

Obviously, this is a small study; and further research looking into hyperprolactinemia and acupuncture are needed. The abstract of the study is below.

Read more

Can acupuncture help 35+ year old pregnant women reduce pregnancy risks

pregnant maternal age

Can acupuncture help 35+ year old pregnant women reduce pregnancy risks?

Women of this age, are a high risk for developing stillbirth and fetal growth restriction among other complications.

This study, published in journal of Physiology, researchers from University of Manchester, UK concluded that the blood flow to placenta may be the reason for increased risks. Acupuncture increases the blood flow to uterus. Use acupuncture in pregnancy as preventative measure to reduce the risks for the developing baby.

Read more

PCOS: acupuncture normalises ovarian volume and AMH

Obstetricia-Gynecologica-pcos-amh

Acupuncture helps to normalise both ovarian volume and AMH in PCOS patients. These changes are beneficial for fertility.

Both acupuncture and exercise help to normalise overactive sympathetic nervous system in PCOS patients. Acupuncture, however, is much more effective.  Furthermore, as shown by this study, exercise has no effect on AMH nor ovarian volume.

Read more

PCOS insulin resistance – Acupuncture can help

PCOS insulin resistance acupuncturePCOS can improve with acupuncture treatment. More research looks into the mechanism of it. One of the lead researchers in PCOS and acupuncture Dr Elisabet Stener-Victorin from Sweden has long suspected that acupuncture may play a role in regulating blood glucose levels and helping with insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is one of the features of PCOS. This study put the theory to test.

The study revealed acupuncture increases whole body glucose uptake during and after stimulation in women with polycystic ovary syndrome.  See the abstract and a full text of the study below.

Read more

Acupuncture improves receptivity of endometrial lining in IVF Frozen Embryo Transfer

Frozen embryo transfer acupuncture

IVF Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) patients benefit from Acupuncture. This helps us understand how Acupuncture benefits fertility.

Electro stimulation on acupuncture points leading to the IVF transfer improves the quality/receptivity of the uterine lining. A study published in the latest issue of peer-reviewed British Medical Journal (Acupuncture in Medicine) found the rates of embryo implantation, clinical pregnancy and live birth rates were higher in patients who received acupuncture leading to the transfer. They also found significant measurable changes in the endometrium (uterine lining):

  • Acupuncture improved the chances of triple-line pattern endometrial lining. It has been shown in studies that triple-line pattern is associated with good IVF outcome.
  • Endometrial perfusion (blood supply to the uterine lining) is an important factor in the process of implantation. The study found greater endometrial and subendometrial vascularisation following a series of acupuncture treatments leading to embryo transfer.
  • Acupuncture improved HOXA10 expression. Higher HOXA10 is associated with greater endometrial receptivity and good pregnancy outcomes. HOXA10 expression is lower in the uteri of women with hydrosalpinx, PCOS, and endometriosis.

How much acupuncture should you have to see those enhancements to your fertility? Women in this study had six acupuncture sessions per cycle for three menstrual cycles.

See the abstract of the study below. Read more

Stress reduces sperm quality, is acupuncture the answer?

Stress sperm acupunctureImpact of stress on female infertility and pregnancy has been well documented. Below study, published in journal of Fertility and Sterility, shows shows male reproductive health is similarly affected by it. The researchers are confident the correlation between stress and sperm parameters is clear.

Acupuncture has been shown to improve sperm quality, it has also been shown to help with stress. Researchers at the Georgetown University Medical Center have shown that acupuncture interferes with the very mechanism of stress.

Effects of work and life stress on semen quality

Read more

Embryo implantation failure – acupuncture increases number of implanted embryos

embryo-implantationSuccessful implantation is an absolute prerequisite for a successful pregnancy. The process by which a blastocyst is accepted by endometrium is involved and requires interplay of many systems.

The researchers of this study have discovered acupuncture can optimise this subtle uterine environment by modulating cytokines; and therefore it can increase the implantation rate.

Abstract:

J Huazhong Univ Sci Technolog Med Sci. 2014 Feb;34(1):91-8. doi: 10.1007/s11596-014-1237-9. Epub 2014 Feb 6.
Effect of acupuncture on CXCL8 receptors in rats suffering from embryo implantation failure.
Author information: Gao WN1, Yang W, Liu YF, Tang X, Guo Y, Wang LJ, Zhang MM, Huang GY.
Institute of Integrated Traditional Chinese Medicine and Western Medicine, Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China

To observe the effect of acupuncture on CXCL8 receptors (CXCR1 and CXCR2) in rat endometrium experiencing embryo implantation failure, 72 pregnant rats were randomly divided into four groups: normal group (N), embryo implantation failure group (M), acupuncture treatment group (A), and progestin treatment group (W). Then the rats in each group were equally randomized into a day-6 (D6) group, a day-8 (D8) group, and a day-10 (D10) group. The rats in group M, group A, and group W were treated with mifepristone-sesame oil solution on day 1, while the rats in group N were injected with the same amount of sesame oil. Meanwhile, “Housanli” and “Sanyinjiao” were selected for acupuncture. From day 1 to the time of death, the rats in group A were fastened up and then acupuncture was administered while the rats in group N and group M were only fixed, and the rats in group W were given progestin. The number of implanted embryos was calculated. The expression of CXCR1 and CXCR2 in rat endometrium was detected by immunohistochemistry, Western blotting and real-time PCR. Compared to group N, the average number of implanted embryos, the protein and mRNA expression of CXCR1 (D6, D8 and D10), and the protein and mRNA expression of CXCR2 (D8 and D10) in rat endometrium were significantly decreased in group M. Compared to group M, there was significant elevation in the average number of implanted embryos, the protein expression (D6, D8 and D10) and mRNA expression (D8) of CXCR1 in rat endometrium of group A, and the protein expression (D8 and D10) and mRNA expression (D8) of CXCR2 in rat endometrium of group W. These findings indicated that acupuncture can increase the number of implanted embryos in rats of embryo implantation failure, which may be relevant with up-regulation the expression of CXCR1 and CXCR2 at maternal-fetal interface of rats with embryo implantation failure.

Acupuncture more effective than clomophene in treatment of pcos

clomophene pcos acupunctureThis study by Beijing Hospital of Obstetrics and Gynecology has shown acupuncture to be superior to clomophene on ovulation and pregnancy rates in treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome.

Other studies have shown that unlike Clomophene, acupuncture can have long term effect on PCOS by reducing the sympathetic nervous tonus. Apart from study methodology issues, another limitation of this study is that it only looked into the short term effect, but didn’t evaluate the effectiveness over a longer term. However, this is another study adding to the body of evidence. The study was published in the journal of Zhongguo Zhen jiu (Chinese Journal of Acupuncture & Moxibustion [2013, 33(11):961-964]).

Efficacy and safety evaluation of acupuncture combined with auricular acupoint therapy in the treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome

Department of Acupuncture and Physical Therapy, Beijing Obstetrics and Gynecology Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing 100026, China. geyongchun1981@sina.com
Zhongguo Zhen jiu = Chinese Acupuncture & Moxibustion [2013, 33(11):961-964]
Type: Journal Article, English Abstract (lang: chi)

OBJECTIVE: To compare the efficacy differences between acupuncture combined with auricular acupoint therapy and clomiphene oral administration in the treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

METHODS: One hundred cases of PCOS were randomized into two groups, 50 cases in each one. Acupuncture combined with auricular acupuncture group (group A): acupuncture was applied at Guanyuan (CV 4), Zhongji (CV 3) and Zigong (EX-CA 1), once daily; auricular point sticking was applied at Spleen (pi, CO13), Endocrine (neifenmi, CO18), Uterus and Kidney (shen, CO10), the plaster was changed once a week. Clomiphene group (group B): oral clomiphene was prescribed at the 5th day of the menstrual, for 5 consecutive days, totally 3 menstrual cycles was needed. The ovulation induction, pregnancy and menstruation resuming of patients in the two ‘ , The totally effective rate was 90.00% (45/50) in group A, which was group were observed and compared.

RESULTS: The totally effective rate was 90.0% (45/50) in group A, which was superior to 86.0% (43/50) in group B (P<0.05); the ovulation rate and pregnancy rate were 68.0% (34/50)and 64. 0% (32/50) in group A, which were superior to that of group B (all P<0. 05); the menstruation resuming rate was 94.00 (47/50) in group A, which was superior to 88.00 (44/50) in group B (P<0.05). No adverse effect was observed in group A, while in group B, varying degrees of nausea, vomiting, headache and dermatitis were observed in 29 cases, ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) like polycystic ovary was observed in 14 cases under the B ultrasound. CONCLUSION: Acupuncture combined with auricular acupoint therapy has a better effect than clomiphene in the treatment of PCOS without any adverse effects.

PCOS Acupuncture: the most comprehensive paper to date?

pcos-acupuncture-effectA very thourough, well refferenced study exploring the mechanism and effects of acupuncture on PCOS.

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013; 2013: 762615.
Published online Sep 2, 2013. doi: 10.1155/2013/762615
PMCID: PMC3773899
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: Effect and Mechanisms of Acupuncture for Ovulation Induction
Julia Johansson 1 and Elisabet Stener-Victorin 1 , 2 ,*
Author information ? Article notes ? Copyright and License information ?
This article has been cited by other articles in PMC.

Abstract
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), the most common endocrine disorder among women of reproductive age, is characterized by the coexistence of hyperandrogenism, ovulatory dysfunction, and polycystic ovaries (PCO). PCOS also represents the largest part of female oligoovulatory infertility, and the management of ovulatory and menstrual dysfunction, comprises a third of the high costs of PCOS treatment. Current pharmacological and surgical treatments for reproductive symptoms are effective, however, associated with negative side effects, such as cardiovascular complications and multiple pregnancies. For menstrual irregularities and ovulation induction in women with PCOS, acupuncture has indicated beneficial effects. This review will focus on the results from randomized controlled acupuncture trials for regulation of menstrual dysfunction and for inducing ovulation in women with PCOS although there are uncontrolled trials with nonetheless interesting results. Animal experimental studies will be further discussed when they can provide a more mechanistic explanatory view.
Read more

Acupuncture superior to Metformin for PCOS

acupuncture-pcosAcupuncture showed considerable advantages over the metformin for obese PCOS patients. Acupuncture was shown to be more effective then metformin at improving menstrual freqency, reducing body mass index and waist to hip ratio. It also had fewer side-effects.

Effectiveness of Abdominal Acupuncture for Patients with Obesity-Type Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: A Randomized Controlled Trial
To cite this article:
Yan-Hua Zheng, Xin-Hua Wang, Mao-Hua Lai, Hong Yao, Hua Liu, and Hong-Xia Ma. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. -Not available-, ahead of print. doi:10.1089/acm.2012.0429.

Online Ahead of Print: May 15, 2013 Read more

Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine in treatment of Endometriosis

This study demonstrates that acupuncture has a synergystic effect with Chinese Herbal medicine in treatment of Endometriosis. Furthermore the effect of acupuncture and herbal medicine was found to be superior to a pharmaceutical medicine Danazol. The abstract of the study is below.
Acupuncture Chinese medicine Endometriosis

Acupuncture enhances the effects of Chinese herbal Medicine in treatment of Endometriosis

J. Shi, Z. B. Z. Ge*
, Y. Jin,Y. D. Li and J. Zhou** The 1st Affiliated Hospital, School of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, 310003, Zhejiang, China
*Sir Run Shaw Hospital, School of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, 310016, Zhejiang, China
**College of Food Science and Biotechnology, Zhejiang Gongshang University, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, 310012, China. Corresponding Author Email: juezhou2006@yahoo.com.cn

ABSTRACT

The present study was aimed to investigate whether acupuncture could significantly enhance the efficacy of Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) in treating endometriosis model rats. A total of 40 female Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats with body weight of 200 ±20 g were included. Operational transplantation was used with animal models. The rats were randomly divided into 5 groups: sham-operation control group (Group A), model group (Group B), CHM combined with acupuncture group (Group C), CHM group (Group D), Danazol group (Group E) with 8 rats in each group. During the treatment, two rats in Group B and one rat in Group E passed away. When the treatment ended, all the left rats were sacrificed. The samples of peritoneal fluids, serum and the ectopic endometrium were taken. The serum levels of cancer antigen 125 (CA-125) and interleukin 18(IL-18) in the peritoneal fluids were detected using enzyme-linked immune-sorbent assay. The cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) mRNA expression levels in the ectopic endometrium were measured by Real-time PCR. The results showed that in the rats from Groups A, C, D and E, the serum CA-125 levels, COX-2 mRNA expression in the ectopic endometrium and the IL-18 levels in the peritoneal fluids were significantly lower than those of Group B (P<0.05). The serum CA-125 levels and COX-2 mRNA expression in the ectopic endometrium of the rats in Group C were significantly lower than those of Group D (P<0.05), while there was no significant difference between Group C and E (P>0.05). The levels of IL-18 in the peritoneal fluids of the rats in Group C were markedly lower than those of Group D and E (P<0.05). It is then concluded that acupuncture treatment can improve the effects of CHM in treating endometriosis model rats. Key words: Chinese herbal medicine acupuncture; endometriosis Reference: The Journal of Animal & Plant Sciences, 23(1): 2013, Page: 298-303 ISSN: 1018-7081

You can find a copy of the study here.

Study: Herbal formula helps oligoasthenospermia

Zhonghua Nan Ke Xue. 2012 Dec;18(12):1105-7.
[Compound Xuanju Capsule combined with vitamin E improves sperm chromatin integrity].
[Article in Chinese]
Song B1, He XJ, Jiang HH, Peng YW, Wu H, Cao YX.
Abstract
OBJECTIVE:
To investigate the clinical effects of the combined therapy of the Chinese medicine Compound Xuanju Capsule and vitamin E on sperm chromatin damage in idiopathic oligoasthenospermia.

METHODS:
We assigned 50 infertile men with seminal abnormality to a control group (n = 26) and a trial group (n = 24) to receive vitamin E and the combined therapy of Compound Xuanju Capsule plus vitamin E, respectively, both treated for 3 months. Before and after the treatment, we detected semen routine parameters and sperm DNA fragmentation indexes (DFI) by computer aided semen analysis (CASA) and sperm chromatin structure assay (SCSA), and compared them between the two groups.

RESULTS:
There was no obvious difference between the percentage of progressively motile sperm in the trial group and that in the control group (21.55 +/- 8.68 vs 21.47 +/- 11.53, P > 0.05). The trial group showed a significantly decreased sperm DFI after medication as compared with pre-medication (29.57 +/- 12.19 vs 34.09 +/- 10.32, P < 0.05). CONCLUSION: The combined therapy of Compound Xuanju Capsule and vitamin E can effectively improve seminal quality and reduce sperm chromatin damage in infertile men with idiopathic oligoasthenospermia. PMID: 23405792 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Acupuncture during ovarian stimulation improves pregnancy outcomes in women undergoing IVF

This systematic review on Acupuncture and IVF is especially interesting. The studies of the well researched German protocol show acupuncture to be effective on the day of embryo replacement. This systematic review shows that acupuncture during ovarian stimulation also plays significant role in increasing the pregnancy outcomes of IVF.


The role of acupuncture in assisted reproductive technology.
Zheng CH, Zhang MM, Huang GY, Wang W.

Abstract
The aim of this paper was to provide reliable evidence by performing a systematic review and meta-analysis for evaluating the role of acupuncture in assisted reproductive technology. All randomized controlled trials that evaluated the effects of acupuncture, including manual, electrical, and laser acupuncture (LA) techniques, on the clinical pregnancy rate (CPR) and live birth rate (LBR) of in vitro fertilization (IVF) or artificial insemination were included. The controlled groups consisted of no acupuncture and sham acupuncture groups. The sham acupuncture included sham acupuncture at acupoints, sham acupuncture at non- or inappropriate points, sham LA, and adhesive tapes. Twenty-three trials (a total of 5598 participants) were included in this paper. The pooled CPR from all acupuncture groups was significantly higher than that from all controlled groups, whereas the LBR was not significantly different between the two groups. However, the results were quite distinct when the type of control and/or different acupuncture times were examined in a sensitivity analysis. The results mainly indicate that acupuncture, especially around the time of the controlled ovarian hyperstimulation, improves pregnancy outcomes in women undergoing IVF. More positive effects from acupuncture in IVF can be expected if a more individualized acupuncture programs are used.

Full text of the study can be found here.

IUI plus Acupuncture = higher success rate

iui-acupuncture-european-journal
Acupuncture and herbs increased IUI success rate from 39.4% to 65.5% in this study. The difference in the success rates is even more interesting, considering that the control group, who didn’t receive acupuncture was on average 2.3 years younger. The control group was 37.1 years old and the treatment group was 39.4. Normally, you’d expect much lower pregnancy rates in 39 year olds.

Acupuncture and Chinese herbal treatment for women undergoing intrauterine insemination
Keren Sela, Ofer Lehavi, Amnon Buchan, Karin Kedar-Shalema, Haim Yavetz, Shahar Lev-ari

Unit of Complementary Medicine, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Affiliated to the Sackler Faculty of Medicine,

Tel Aviv University, 6 Weizmann St., Tel Aviv 64239, Israel

Fertility Research Institute, Tel Aviv Medical Center, Affiliated to the Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel

Aim: To assess the effect of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM, acupuncture and medicinal herbs) as a therapeutic adjuvant to ovulation induction with intrauterine insemination (IUI) procedures and evaluate its contribution to pregnancy and “take-home baby” rates.

Materials and methods: A comparative retrospective study was carried out in a university – affiliated municipal hospital. All women undergoing artificial insemination by donor spermatozoa (AID) and concomitantly treated with TCM were invited to participate. The enrolled women underwent weekly TCM in parallel with medical therapy. The treatment lasted between 2 and 36 cycles (equivalent to a time period ranging from one month to one year). The control group was comprised of women who underwent AID without TCM and whose data were retrospectively retrieved from hospital files. Pregnancy was assessed by human chorionic gonadotropin findings in blood 12–14 days after IUI. The birth rate was calculated during follow-up.

Results: A total of 29 women aged 30–45 years were enrolled in the study. The historical control group included 94 women aged 28–46 years.

Results over an average 4-5 months cumulative period:
1. Acupuncture and herbs plus IUI; average age 39.43 years
2. Control group – IUI (DI) only; average age 37.12 years

Women who combined TCM with the procedures for undergoing IUI had significantly higher pregnancy (OR = 4.403, 95% CI 1.51–12.835,
p = 0.007) and birth rates (OR = 3.905, 95% CI 1.321–11.549, p = 0.014) than the control group.

Conclusions: TCM appears to be beneficial as an adjunctive treatment in IUI procedures. Randomized controlled trials are needed to further assess the role of acupuncture and herbs in this setting.

Full text of the study here: Acupuncture and Chinese herbal treatment for IUI

Herbs for semen non-liquefaction

This study shows that Chinese herbs are helpful for semen non-liquefaction. Shengjing Tablets used in this study include nine TCM/herbal ingredients.

Zhonghua Nan Ke Xue. 2012 Jun;18(6):568-70.
[Shengjing tablets for semen non-liquefaction: a clinical study of 100 cases].
[Article in Chinese]
Yang XF, Guo LH, An LH, Pan ZH, Sun L, Ma K.
Source
Department of Andrology, The Third Hospital of Zhengzhou University, Henan, Zhengzhou 450052, China. xfyang97045@yahoo.com.cn
Abstract
OBJECTIVE:
To investigate the efficacy and action mechanism of Shengjing Tablets in the treatment liquefaction.
METHODS:
We randomly assigned 150 patients with semen non-liquefaction to receive Shengjing Tablets group, n = 100) and vitamin E capsules (control group, n = 50) for 2 courses of 45 days each, followed by observation liquefaction time and other semen parameters.
RESULTS:
After the first course, 68 of the patients in the treatment group 20 responded and 12 failed to respond; and after the second course, 84 were cured, 9 responded and 7 failed to respond, effective rate of 93.0%. In comparison, only 8 of the controls were cured, 8 responded and 34 failed to respond after medication. There were statistically significant differences between the two groups (P < 0.01). Meanwhile, the treatment showed obvious improvement in sperm motility and concentration. CONCLUSION: Shengjing Tablets may shorten the time liquefaction, and can be used as a safe and effective therapy for semen non-liquefaction.

Acupuncture for threatened miscarriage

BMC Complement Altern Med. 2012 Mar 22;12(1):20. [Epub ahead of print]
Acupuncture as a therapeutic treatment option for threatened miscarriage.
Betts D, Smith CA, Hannah DG.
Abstract
ABSTRACT:
BACKGROUND:
Threatened miscarriage involves vaginal bleeding in a pregnancy that remains viable. This is a common early pregnancy complication with increased risk factors for early pregnancy loss, preterm premature rupture of membranes (PPROM), preterm delivery, low birth weight babies and maternal antepartum haemorrhage. Currently there are no recommended medical treatment options, rather women receive advice that centres on a ‘wait and see’ approach. For women with a history of unexplained recurrent miscarriage providing supportive care in a subsequent pregnancy improves live birthing outcomes, but the provision of supportive care to women experiencing threatened miscarriage has to date not been examined.
DISCUSSION:
While it is known that 50-70 % of miscarriages occur due to chromosomal abnormalities, the potential for therapeutic intervention amongst the remaining percentage of women remains unknown. Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies have the potential to provide supportive care for women presenting with threatened miscarriage. Within fertility research, acupuncture demonstrates beneficial hormonal responses with decreased miscarriage rates, raising the possibility acupuncture may promote specific beneficial effects in early pregnancy. With the lack of current medical options for women presenting with threatened miscarriage it is timely to examine the possible treatment benefits of providing CAM therapies such as acupuncture.
SUMMARY:
Despite vaginal bleeding being a common complication of early pregnancy there is often reluctance from practitioners to discuss with women and medical personal how and why CAM may be beneficial. In this debate article, the physiological processes of early pregnancy together with the concept of providing supportive care and acupuncture are examined. The aim is to raise awareness and promote discussion as to the beneficial role CAM may have for women presenting with threatened miscarriage

Electro-acupuncture enhances sperm motility in rats

sperm-fertility-acupuncture-spermatogenesis
This study published in journal of Spermatogenesis contributes to understanding of how acupuncture improves sperm parameters. The researchers found that acupuncture improved Sertoli cell functions. This has enhanced germ cell proliferation. The result is improved motile sperm count. The study design could not evaluate other sperm parameters.

Spermatogenesis. 2012 Jan 1;2(1):53-62.
Electroacupuncture enhances spermatogenesis in rats after scrotal heat treatment.
Gao J, Zuo Y, So KH, Yeung WS, Ng EH, Lee KF.
Abstract
Spermatogenesis is regulated by a cascade of steroid regulated genes in the testis. Recent studies suggested that acupuncture may improve fertility in men with abnormal semen parameters. Yet, the underlying mechanisms in which acupuncture enhances spermatogenesis remain largely unknown. Here we used a scrotal heat-treated rat model to study the effect of electroacupuncture (EA) on recovery of spermatogenesis. In this model, spermatogenesis was disrupted by 30 min scrotal heat treatment at 43°C. Ten sessions of EA were given at Baihui (GV20), Guanyuan (CV4), Zusanli (ST36) and Sanyinjiao (SP6) from day 9 to day 36 post-treatment. Sperm motility and production, morphology of the germinal epithelium by Johnsen’s scoring, germ cell apoptosis by TUNEL staining, proliferation by proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) staining, as well as serum testosterone and inhibin B levels by immunoassays were evaluated on day 0, 1, 9, 25, 37, 46, 56 and 79. When compared with the heat-treated (H) group, the heat-treated plus EA (H(+)EA) group showed a significant increase (p < 0.05) in PCNA-positive cells and inhibin B levels on days 37 and 46, and a higher Johnsen's score till day 56. On day 79, motile spermatozoa could be found in the vas deferens of H(+)EA group only. Consistently, there was a trend of improved motility and increased number of motile epididymal spermatozoa in the H(+)EA group than the H group; while apoptosis of germ cells and serum testosterone levels were similar between the two groups. Taken together, EA enhanced germ cell proliferation through improvement of Sertoli cell functions. This may facilitate the recovery of spermatogenesis and may restore normal semen parameters in subfertile patients.

Acupuncture improves menstrual frequency and decreases androgens in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

Electrical and manual acupuncture stimulation affects estrous cyclicity and neuroendocrine function in a DHT-induced rat polycystic ovary syndrome model

Yi Feng1,2, Julia Johansson1, Ruijin Shao1, Louise Mannerås Holm1, Håkan Billig1, Elisabet Stener-Victorin1,3
DOI: 10.1113/expphysiol.2011.063131

Abstract? Both low-frequency electro-acupuncture (EA) and manual acupuncture improve menstrual frequency and decrease circulating androgens in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). We sought to determine whether low-frequency EA is more effective than manual stimulation in regulating disturbed estrous cyclicity in rats with PCOS induced by 5?-dihydrotestosterone (DHT). To identify the central mechanisms of the effects of stimulation, we assessed hypothalamic mRNA expression of molecules that regulate reproductive and neuroendocrine function. From age 70 days, rats received 2-Hz EA or manual stimulation of the needles five times/week for 4–5 weeks; untreated rats served as controls. Specific hypothalamic nuclei were obtained by laser microdissection, and mRNA expression was measured with TaqMan low-density arrays. Untreated rats were acyclic. During the last 2 weeks of treatment, seven of eight (88%) rats in the EA group had epithelial keratinocytes, demonstrating estrous cycle change (p= 0.034 vs. controls). In the manual group, five of eight (62%) rats had estrous cycle changes (ns vs. controls). mRNA expression of the opioid receptors Oprk1 and Oprm1 in the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus was lower in the EA group than in untreated controls. mRNA expression of the steroid hormone receptors Esr2, Pgr, and Kiss1r was lower in the manual group than in the controls. In rats with DHT-induced PCOS, low-frequency EA restored disturbed estrous cyclicity but did not differ from manual stimulation group, although electrical stimulation lowered serum testosterone in responders, those with restored estrus cyclicity, and differed from both controls and the manual stimulation group. Thus, EA cannot in all aspects be considered superior to manual stimulation. The effects of low-frequency EA may be mediated by central opioid receptors, while manual stimulation may involve regulation of steroid hormone/peptide receptors.