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Acupuncture and chinese therapy

(32 Posts)
Dragini Tue 02-Aug-11 13:14:02


Do any of you have any experiences with chinese therapies in the quest for ttc?

I've been ttc #1 for years and years, and had all the usual tests etc - despite my elderly womb (I'm 39) it looks like it's working ok in theory. DH's SA is broadly ok, although I think it might sometimes be a bit too p!ssed to go in the right direction...we haven't ventured down the IVF route as yet.

In an attempt to get a kickstart I've been to a chinese herbalist, who thought my womb was "too cold to make babies" and suggested a 3 month and pretty expensive course of acupuncture and revolting herbal tea. Initially I got all excited and expected something to happen in month 1. I have noticed some changes in my body (AF flow, CM - TMI!) but I'm now 2 months into the course and am driving myself even more loopy with constant ov and symptom spotting. AF got me yesterday, and when the chinese 'dr' asked me how I was (when laid back and waiting for the needles to go in), I admitted that I was sad because AF had arrived and I feel like time is running out. I was so upset with his response - he actually laughed out loud angry. Now, I know I should ask him what I should expect to happen, but his english isn't exactly great and I think sometimes I come out of those conversations more confused than when I went in.

Can any of you MN'rs offer any help? Do I need to be patient? Is this treatment likely to change my physiology beyond the treatment plan, or is this the last month that I could get pg with the chinese man's help? Am I wasting my time entirely?

Help please!!!!!! Any thoughts would be appreciated <3

ciwi Tue 02-Aug-11 14:23:24

Hi I am no expert but I have been seeing an acupuncturist for a few months now since I miscarried in March. The woman I see is lovely and listens to what is going on in your life as a whole as it can all impact on the treatment they offer and your general wellbeing, she treats me differently depending on how I am at that time. Does your acupuncurist spend time at the beggining of the appointment asking you how you have been emotionally and physically? Personally I think you need to find a better acupuncturist, if he doesnt take your upsets and worries seriously I would honestly look for someone else. Sorry I can't be of more help but I do think acupuncture is helpful but you also need to feel completely comfortable with the person providing the treatment.

nocake Tue 02-Aug-11 14:33:07

Chinese herbalists aren't regulated or monitored so you have no idea what is in the herbs they are giving you. There have been cases where they have been found to contain toxic herbs and chemicals. If you're ttc I would stay well clear as you want to stay 100% healthy.

As for acupuncture, there is no scientific evidence that it works but if it is a relaxing experience, as described by ciwi, then you will get some benefit from it via the placebo effect. Her suggestion, that you find a better therapist, is a good one.

Dragini Tue 02-Aug-11 15:58:59

Thanks for the input ladies. I think intially I just though "what the hell" and thought the acupuncture (oh and massage, I forgot about that bit) would be a bit of a treat and that I'd feel a bit more like I was in control if I was actually doing something. But then those stupid hopes got up again, the symptoms started again and I've gone all looney tunes again after all!

Of course what I really wanted was a loads of big fat positive stories about bfps within 10 days of treatment ending but that would just be silly, wouldn't it...

eurochick Tue 02-Aug-11 16:06:19

I am having acupuncture with an acupuncturist who specialises in fertiity issues. I think she is very good and has given me some useful advice.

I was initially pretty sceptical about acupuncture but went while I waited for the wheels of the NHS to grind on in order to feel that I was doing something. From the first month, there were noticeable changes - my luteal phase got a day longer and my period was less clotty. My periods have become quite a bit more regular too. I've been going for about 4 cycles now. I'll stick with it for a bit longer. But I don't have a BFP yet.

Dragini Tue 02-Aug-11 16:32:48

Thanks eurochick. I'd suggest we could be needle buddies - but that sounds awful! How long has your acupuncturist suggested you keep going for?

Dragini Tue 02-Aug-11 16:38:02

ciwi - do you fancy joining me as needle buddies too? :-S

eurochick Tue 02-Aug-11 16:41:40

She hasn't mentioned. I'm thinking I will get to 6 cycles and then take a view on whether to continue.

There are quite a few people on here having acupuncture. If you are not happy with your treatment, change your acupuncturist. I don't get any massage or herbal tea, just the needles. And I have recently started taking agnus castus on her suggestion.

VintageNancy Tue 02-Aug-11 18:59:58

I couldn't read and not post even though I haven't told anyone either on Mumsnet or IRL (well except for DH of course!) but.... I got a BFP this week after 3 months of acupuncture.

Now, I'm not necessarily putting it down to the treatments, as after 9 months of TTC it might have just been my time, but it did relax me and my periods did seem less clotty too as eurochick mentioned.

However my acupuncturist did annoy me quite a lot at various times - she actually said it wouldn't work this month as I missed the last week of the cycle (I've been seeing her weekly which is adding up cost-wise to say the least!). And another month she told me I'd miscarry if I was pregnant because I was taking part in a marathon walk that I'd been training for for months.

So I'm toying with the idea of not going this week and not going back any more and just telling her we've stopped TTC. Which is true! I'm not sure what the deal is with acupuncture in pregnancy either - I expect it could help with sickness etc.

I think you have to feel 100% comfortable with whoever is treating you. For her faults, mine would always start the appt with a consultation, see how I was feeling, how my energy was, where I was in my cycle etc. And I always left feeling completely relaxed. Plus it helps you feel like you're doing something positive for your own fertility.

Hope that ramble helps a bit!

BagofHolly Tue 02-Aug-11 21:11:48

You're 39. You've been at this souless, horrid ttc game for years. IMO it's not the time to even consider unregulated, unproven therapies which may well be utterly nonsense at best. If you want a baby you need to act aggressively NOW, and head for IVF/ICSI at a clinic with a good success rate in older women. Have a look at the HFEA website for the statistics. A good steer would be UCH, ARGC and Lister. Given that the single biggest factor in fertility is maternal age, you shouldn't waste a SECOND longer. Sorry if that makes uncomfortable reading but having walked in your shoes i refuse to collude in anything ineffectual.

Dragini Wed 03-Aug-11 11:44:01

vintagenancy Wow!!!! That's fabulous. Thanks for the advice too - but big grin to you on the bfp, congrats and good luck!

bagofholly ouch, that's defiinately uncomfortable reading but of course you are 100% correct. Think I'll finish this cycle (which is already paid for anyway) and use the next few weeks to work on DH and start counting the pennies for IVF sad.

VintageNancy Wed 03-Aug-11 12:22:55

Thank you dragini smile I am still a bit shocked by it.
I think that acupuncture shouldn't be used in isolation but alongside NHS treatments. I didn't get to the stage of going for any tests or investigations but had I got to Nov with no progress I definitely would have done.

eurochick Wed 03-Aug-11 13:46:48

I was about to say the same as Nancy - it doesn't have to be an either/or - you can pursue hospital treatments alongside acupuncture (if finances allow). You should always tell drs about any herbs you are taking though, in case they interfere with any drugs you are given e.g. agnus castus and clomid do not mix because they basically do the same thing. Most of the women my acupuncturist sees are having the acupuncture alongside fertility treatment.

PieMistress Thu 04-Aug-11 12:50:12

Hi, I am finding this interesting reading. Following a m/c in May my cycles have been totally WTF WTF WTF! With lots of spotting and a very short luteal phase sad Do you think this is something an acupuncturist might be able to help me with?

farfallarocks Thu 04-Aug-11 13:00:45

I think accupuncture, reflex and complimentary therapies generally can help if you are basically ok but need a bit of tweaking. So it won;t don anythign if you have blocked tubes or there is something structurally wrong. But I had a short luteal phase after the pill. Apparently this is very common indeed as is a short luteal phase after pregnancy and miscarriage. Accupuncture has helped to lengthen it a bit and to make my periods more normal, read, longer/heavier.

now it could just be time and regulation but I think it may have helped. I certainly find it relaxing so on that basis alone it can do no harm.

ciwi Thu 04-Aug-11 13:01:59

I think so pie i went after a mc and she was very confident she could regulate my cycles. I was bleeding every 2 weeks but then had 2 normal cycles, did spot in between but think it was ov bleeding as I got a bfp on the 2nd cycle. There is no way of knowing that my cycles wouldnt have settled anyway but there is no harm trying and it's not too expensive (£35 a session). As i said earlier though it is important to find one that you feel comfortable with, mine was recommended to me but you can look them up on a website to make sure they are registered.

PieMistress Thu 04-Aug-11 13:13:48

Thanks guys, I have an appt booked for Monday when I will be CD11. Does it matter which day in your cycle you go on? I always used to ov on CD17 but then after the m/c it's pushed it back to CD12. Part of me is wondering if I should just wait a couple more cycles and see if things go back to 'normal' themselves but, at 39, I don't really know if I should wait?

I've always had a lp erring on the side of short (11 days) and managed to conceive DS with this BUT, it has been 10 days for the past 2 cycles following my m/c (with the spotting starting at 8dpo!!).

I have been recommended a local acupuncturist to me and have read on other forums of ladies that have used him when TTC. I couldn't find any negatives however about acupunture when TTC etc, and just wanted to make sure I wouldn't be doing more harm than good by going to one?

Thanks for the advice (and sorry for post hi-jack!). I am also a terrible sleeper so hoping it might help with that too (which in turn, might help regulate my hormones!)

ciwi Thu 04-Aug-11 13:25:21

It won't do any harm and imo its worth giving it a go unless paying for it is a real struggle. They should be able to help you with sleeping too. They do treat you differently in the first and second half of your cycles, with me the second half was to stimulate flow and get my af to come on time but they may treat you differently as your af seems to come too soon. The first half of your cycle is to nurture or something and help the lining develop. good luck x

eurochick Thu 04-Aug-11 13:33:37

When they want to see you in your cycle will depend upon what they are trying to achieve. I am ovulating and have a fairly regular cycle so mine was doing one session in the first half of my cycle and one in the luteal phase. However, my day 21 blood tests show that my progesterone levels are a little low (although high enough to confirm ovulation) so she has moved to two session in the first half of my cycle to try to increase blood flow to the ovaries pre-ov to try to make me release a more mature egg with a corpus luteum that will release higher levels of progesterone to support a pregnancy.

I can't see that it could do harm to anything other than your wallet.

farfallarocks Thu 04-Aug-11 13:43:32

Yes, mine likes to see me before ovulation for the same reasons as Eurochick.
i think with short luteal phase and spotting before AF, low progesterone might be the issue. very similar to me actually. So CD11 is a great time to go. Good luck!

PieMistress Thu 04-Aug-11 13:49:21

Awww thanks for the very helpful replies! I have had a CD21 test done (they did it at 3dpo because they insisted I went at CD21 so it wasn't accurate (it was 26) then I went back at 10dpo (because of the weekend) and i'd just got a bfp so probably wildly inaccurate - it was 41?). But I then had a m/c at 7 weeks sad

I do think my progesterone levels are a bit low though. I don't get any PMS symptoms at all (is that a sign?) and i've had a lot of random spotting (both pre and post m/c) I don't so much mind the cost if it will help! I've actually got an appt with my GP tomorrow (thanks fallfallarocks for your info on the other thread about tests) so will see how that goes and then see the acupuncturist on Monday night.

PieMistress Thu 04-Aug-11 14:42:44

PS - I just had a random thought. I lost 80% of my sense of smell when I was pregnant with DS. CT scan revealed nothing sinister and the consultant couldn't explain why (just 'one of those things') so maybe the acupuncturist might be able to do some magic !

eurochick Thu 04-Aug-11 15:12:28

I'm not sure piemistress. I get hellish PMS symtoms most cycles but my day 21 test only showed a progesterone level of 30.

PieMistress Thu 04-Aug-11 16:49:33

Thanks euro, there goes my theory! Do you know what the symptoms of low progesterone are? Is 30 the cut off figure for ovulating?

mistlethrush Thu 04-Aug-11 17:02:37

I found a chineese herbalist from the register of chineese herbalists - so there are registered practitioners out there.

I went because I wanted to get the remains of the chemo out of my body to give myself the best chance possible in the 5 months Consultant (and I) had set for naturally TTC before going down the IVF route. Herbs came in paper bags, weighed out for me from lots of different bottles and had to be brewed up - really disgusting. Anyway - against all odds, I conceived naturually just before the date set for IVF stuff to start. I continued to visit and got fourtnightly accupuncture - where I left on my own little cloud 9, having gone in breathless and miserable.... Ds is now 6 smile

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