Fertility and Chiropractic

Many couples decide not to have children and go on to have a purposeful and fulfilling life, for other couples the idea of not being parents is devastating. Fertility is a billion dollar business in the US alone, but perhaps there is an alternative.

Current Infertility Statistics

Recent statistics show that 1 in 8 couples have trouble getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy. According the World Health Organization, worldwide infertility rates have remained unchanged for over 20 years.

In 2010, it was determined that 48.5 million couples worldwide have been unable to have a child. When considering these numbers, it is understandable that couples are spending between $12,000 and $15,000 for in-vitro fertilization. Even for couples with insurance, the out of pocket expense is still $5,000. This is not including other treatment options such as hormone therapy. Over $2 billion dollars are begin spent annually in the United States for various fertility treatments.

Causes of Infertility

According to Mayo Clinic, there are several reasons why a couple cannot conceive. Typically a third of the time it is male infertility. This can include abnormal sperm production or function, problems with the delivery of the sperm, overexposure to certain environmental factors or damage to the male sex organs due to cancer or its treatment.

Another estimated third of causes are issues with the female. This can include ovulation disorders, uterine or cervical abnormalities, fallopian tube damage or blockage, endometriosis, primary ovarian insufficiency or pelvic adhesions. Additional causes may be cancer and its treatment or other medical conditions that are typically a symptom of delayed puberty or absence of menses. Genetic abnormalities may also be a contributing factor.

The final third of infertility cases are issues with both the male and female or when no official cause is determined.

Common Allopathic Treatments

In the past 35 years, in-vitro fertilization has become the standard in fertility treatments with over 5 million babies being conceived. What isn’t discussed is the millions spent on failed procedures.

Other common answers to infertility include intracytoplasmic sperm injection, donor eggs, surrogacy or donor embryos. There are also fertility drugs, ovulation drug therapy such as Clomid or Serophene. Both of these are estrogen blocking drugs. Femara is injectable gonadotrophins, the GnRH (gonadotropin-releasing hormone) pump and bromocriptine. The purpose of these drugs are to encourage ovulation.

The Problems with These Treatments

As with all drug therapy, there are typically horrible side-effects. For instance, Clomid, the most commonly prescribed hormone treatment, has a 60-80% ovulation rate and about half of those will not be able to get pregnant. There are also side effects including hot flashes, blurred vision, nausea, bloating and headaches. Clomid can also cause changes in cervical mucus, which may stop sperm from getting to the uterus. So, the drug that helps ovulation may stop the sperm from getting to the egg. Unfortunately, the medical management of fertility will most likely include drug therapy or some invasive procedure.

In a study published by Dr. Leslie Bedell, he writes, “The use of synthetic hormones to both prevent and promote fertility has been shown to have severe and well documented toxic side effects for women. About 10 million women in the USA use the pill at any one time but from 3-50% stop using it within a year because of undesirable side effects. About 120 risks and side effects are associated with the combination (estrogen and synthetic progestin) some of which are life threatening, including not just heat problems but cancers of the reproductive organs, breast cancer, increased risk of diabetes, asthma, thyroid imbalance, and immune dysfunction.” In other words, the risks of the treatments are high and the results are not certain.

Biomechanical Causes of Infertility

To better understand how chiropractic care may influence fertility, consider just how many different bodily systems, mechanisms and muscles, joints, etc. that are involved in the reproductive cycle of both men and women.

The central nervous system is made up of the brain, spinal cord and the nerves that go out to the muscles, organs and glands. A misalignment in the spine may cause nerve interference with in turn may affect the processing of messages from the brain to those muscles, organs and glands. As such, a properly aligned spine is vital to a properly functioning nervous system. Since the nervous system controls all bodily systems, it plays a significant role in fertility.

A misalignment in the pelvis or sacrum may affect uterine tilt and a subluxation of the lumbar spine may interfere with ovarian or fallopian tube function. This is just the beginning. Hormonal balance is maintained by the endocrine system, and a problem with the central nervous system will affect this.

As for male fertility issues, the results are similar. Nerve interference or subluxations potentially affect the production and delivery of sperm. Any dysfunction of the nervous system may influence the reproductive system.

Is Chiropractic the Answer?

Dr. Madeline Behrendt, who has dedicated her career to educating the populace on the benefits of chiropractic care for fertility issues, authored an infertility series published in 2004. Dr. Behrendt states unequivocally that Chiropractic in and of itself is not a “cure” or treatment for infertility. However, what it does is correct distortions in parts of the body where the reproductive organs are located and this can sometimes have a positive effect on fertility issues.

For instance, a quick Google search of “Chiropractic and infertility” brought up a story shared in a forum for women struggling with infertility. The delightful title was: “Chiropractor Got Me Pregnant!” The post was by a woman that had one healthy son but was trying to conceive for 2.5 years. At a family gathering she expressed her frustration in not being able to get pregnant and her husband’s cousin, a Chiropractor, told her to come to his office. In 4 weeks, she was pregnant. Did he cure her infertility? No, he didn’t, but he did notice her pelvic tilt and adjusted her spine accordingly. Her body did the rest.

The Chiropractic Factor

Dr. Elyssa is dedicated to ensuring that your spine is aligned correctly, and your body is functioning properly. When operating at its best, your body was created to do everything naturally and without medical interference (pharmaceuticals or invasive procedures). While Chiropractic Care is not the cure for infertility, a properly functioning reproductive system is rarely infertile. To learn more about the benefits of chiropractic care and the benefits of making it part of your family’s wellness lifestyle click below to schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Elyssa today.

Resources: Dr. Claudia Anrig-The Wellness Family

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