Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Acupuncture Anyone?

To acupuncture or not to acupuncture, that is the question.

I first started acupuncture mostly because it offered another option we hadn't tried and a bit of hope. I think M was counting on this low cost (by comparison) treatment fixing me right up so we could forget all about IVF.

My acupuncturist, D was nice enough and told me how he had helped lots of other women become pregnant and that everything would be okay. He has all the qualifications the state of FL requires (and FL has some of the strictest requirements in the U.S.).

I filled out the ridiculously long patient history form and described in detail my period. Clots, color and all. I think he knows more about my period than my gyn-y or RE! I began frequent treatments at first, nearly every day, then just twice a week.

D’s goal was to regulate my period, than he said everything else would fall into place. The thing is, I have fairly regular cycles, 25 days-28 days. But whatever. He didn’t like that my periods only lasts 2-3 days not a full 5 so he set about changing that.

Well, five months and about $2000 later, my cycle had not budged and my bleeding was basically the same. If there was any improvement, it was miniscule. D would ask for a full report each cycle and proclaim that I was improving. Um, how? The way I see it, it's an all or nothing scenario. Either you get pregnant or you don't, so I wasn't all that impressed.

Not to mention that I absolutely did not enjoy being poked with little needles, those suckers hurt if they hit a nerve and that happened about every other visit. I don't know if that's normal!?

If you’ve been following along, you’ve read all about my high FSH drama. I dropped out of acupuncture (not that I needed much of an excuse) at this time. I explained to D what I’d just found out and he encouraged me to seek treatment with western medicine. No reassurance was given that he could help correct this problem or that maybe acupuncture was responsible in some roundabout way for my most recent fertility road bump.

I spoke with my mom about the situation and she in turn spoke with a friend that is way into acupuncture and eastern medicine. This friend is a strong believer and has had much success treating his own MS with this sort of thing. He believes that it is possible to affect FSH both positively and negatively with acupuncture.

I spoke with D again and told him about this theory and he totally dismissed it. I don’t know who’s right, but I’m not planning on doing acupuncture with D anymore. I just can’t risk that he’s causing more harm than good, especially from someone who doesn’t show confidence in his own treatment.

I’ve tried to do as much research on acupuncture as the good Dr. Google allows. I’ve read everything from acupuncture is a sham to it seriously helps with IVF. My (former) acupuncturist also gave me a book called Acupuncture and IVF. This book claims that it can improve IVF’s success by as much as 40-60%. Now that’s something I’d love to buy into, but I’m a skeptic.

So, here is my question, should I pursue acupuncture with someone else for my upcoming IVF cycle?


jp said...

I did have a marked improvement over a recent four month period of acupuncture, however my acupuncturist emphasized the Chinese herbs, and although I asked about needles twice a week, he said no benefit would be gained from more needling (my first acupuncturist had me coming in for needling two and three times per week)- it seems the herbs helped my egg quantity go up a bit, and improved the quality some.

chicklet said...

Sorry, but I'm a skeptic. I did it during my IUI's and while I enjoyed the relaxation time, I felt like I could get that anywhere. I saw no marked improvement with anything body-related, and I got a BFN. Plus the guy drove me batty. For me, I'm not a fan. I don't think it can "hurt" but I don't know that it's "needed"?

soapchick said...

I've been doing acupuncture since last July and I love it. I have a really great acupuncturist (female) so that helps. If it can increase bloodflow to the uterus and ovaries than I'm all for it. We'll see if it helps during our IUI or IVF. We have male factor so it's difficult to know if my eggs are any better yet. If we get to IVF we'll be able to tell.

Barb said...

My TCM doctor also emphasized the herbs. The herbs scare me when mixed with western medicine though. :( So I don't know what to tell you. I think at the least, you should get a second opinion (from TCM practitioner) on whether the FSH could have been negatively affected by the acu. D doesn't sound all that great with fertility stuff in comparison. But you know all that stuff already. The lady i mentioned is well versed in Western medicine as well as TCM.

And she hit a nerve only twice the entire 3 months I did it. Most of the time I could hardly feel it.

Ahuva Batya said...

I think you need to find a new pin doctor. I was a bit of a skeptic, but started acupuncture for a period of time, and my cycles became more regular beginning the next month. I was pretty amazed. My acupuncture is a wonderful experience; it sounds like your doctor was not the most empathetic, and especially not the most skilled if he is hitting nerves. My vote is that you try again, but with a different person. *Disclaimer: despite my encouragement of acupuncture, I am still not pregnant. So there is that...