Acupuncture helps woman conceive after miscarriages

September 4th, 2008 - 2:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Sep 4 (IANS) Rebecca Killmeyer lost all hopes of having a baby after problems surfaced during her first pregnancy and miscarriage in the second. Egged on by a faint possibility of future pregnancy, she enrolled for a study testing the impact of acupuncture on women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), at the University of Virginia Health System (UVAHS).

“To our great surprise we were blessed with a third pregnancy during the PCOS study,” said Killmeyer. “I’m absolutely certain the acupuncture treatments helped me ovulate regularly, which allowed me to become pregnant.”

“When I saw those tiny little needles coming at me I thought to myself, ‘I didn’t sign up for this!’ but I tried it and after a few minutes I was asleep on the table,” Killmeyer said. “The sessions were completely refreshing after a while.”

Five percent of reproductive age women are affected by PCOS. Symptoms can include small cysts on their ovaries, infrequent or irregular vaginal bleeding, male-pattern hair growth, and acne. Insulin resistance and pre-diabetes also can develop.

Killmeyer learned of her PCOS in 2005. Over the past five years she did not have regular, monthly periods. One month after she started acupuncture treatments she got a period and for the next three months, they continued.

“I had finished all my acupuncture treatments and was in the end stages of the study when I became pregnant,” Killmeyer said. “We had already scheduled our follow-up appointment with our fertility doctors when we found out we were pregnant.”

Lisa Pastore, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at UVAHS and principle researcher of the study, was hoping for positive results. She helps women with PCOS have regular menstrual cycles.

PCOS causes a hormonal imbalance, interfering with ovulation and ultimately, fertility. With several women in the study reporting pregnancies, Pastore believes acupuncture could be an important alternative, non-drug therapy for women with this disorder.

“Over the last year we have seen women who never had a regular menstrual cycle start having regular periods. We can also boast several pregnancies since the study began,” said Pastore.

“Now we would like to recruit more people to the study in order to complete the study. It is important for research to have enough participants to ensure that the results are scientifically credible and not due to chance.”

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