Research: CHANG and colleagues, The

Listed in Issue 88

Abstract

CHANG and colleagues, The Institute of East-West Medicine, New York, NY 10021, USA, review (69 references) the role of acupuncture in the treatment of female infertility.

Background

The object of the review was to identify existing scientific rationale and clinical data in the use of acupuncture for infertility.

Methodology

A Medline search was performed to find relevant articles.

Results

Studies have suggested that certain effects of acupuncture are mediated through endogenous opioids in the central nervous system, particularly beta-endorphin. Because these neuropeptides influence gonadotropin secretion, it seems logical to hypothesize that they may interfere with the female menstrual cycle. Although studies of adequate design, sample size, and appropriate control on the effects of acupuncture on ovulation are lacking, there is one prospective randomized controlled study examining acupuncture in women undergoing IVF. Besides its central effect, the inhibitory effect of acupuncture on the sympathetic nervous system may increase blood flow to the uterus.

Conclusion

Although a definitive role for acupuncture in the treatment of female infertility is yet to be established, the effects both on the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis and on uterine blood supply warrant further study.

References

Chang R, Chung PH, Rosenwaks Z. Role of acupuncture in the treatment of female infertility. Fertility and Sterility 78 (6): 1149-1153, Dec 2002.

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