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Millions of couples around the globe have great difficulty conceiving. ‘Infertility’ implies the potential to conceive, as distinct and separate from ‘sterility’. Infertility can be defined as the “inability for a couple to conceive after one year of regular unprotected intercourse”.(1) It implies the potential to conceive, as distinct from sterility or recurrent early pregnancy loss—although all three scenarios result in the same distressing outcome for a couple wishing to have children.
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 75% of women trying to conceive before the age of 30 will fall pregnant within one year. After the age of 35, only 66% will fall pregnant within one year, and after age 40, only 44%.(2)
Infertility has now become a major health issue, affecting one couple in five in the US, one couple in every six in Australia and one couple in every seven in the UK.(3)
Common causes of infertility include: ovulatory dysfunction (10 to 20 percent), sperm disorders (35 percent) and pelvic dysfunction such as endometriosis, adhesions or tubal disease (30-40 percent), abnormal cervical mucous (5 percent) and unidentified factors (10 percent). (4)
Other factors known to influence fertility for either parent include: macro and micronutrient status, allergies to certain foods, insulin resistance, nerve dysfunction, thyroid dysfunction, adrenal exhaustion, improper exercise and exposure to environmental toxins and chemicals. Fifty one synthetic chemicals are now identified as hormone disrupters, which could disrupt the chain of hormone release which must happen for ovulation, fertilisation and implantation of the embryo.(5)
While some of these theories are more substantiated than others, it is becoming increasingly obvious that deleterious lifestyle factors have a cumulative effect on reproductive capacity.
How Would Nerve Dysfunction or Vertebral Subluxations Influence Fertility
Think of your brain as a computer. It coordinates, via your nervous system, both organ and cell function. Nerve messages can be impaired by spinal subluxations which occur when there are misalignments of one or more vertebrae. This results in altered joint motion and nerve irritation which lessens organ function and general health. In essence the body moves further and further away from homeostatic balance which challenges clear coordination of the body’s central intelligence.
The nerve messages that initiate and sustain reproduction (or any vital function) may in turn be compromised. It is both the severity of the subluxation and the length of time it has been left uncorrected that dictates the decline in body function.
Parental health prior to conception is one of the many factors to influence a successful reproductive outcome. Restoring and or balancing the function of the reproductive organs through the removal of vertebral subluxations, which may have been comprimising the nerve messages that initiate and sustain reproduction, and allowing an individual body to recreate its ‘body order’ may help to optimize a woman’s ability to conceive.
While chiropractors adjust the spine to remove nerve interference, it is your individual body that recreates ‘body order’. As chiropractors, we take no credit for the magnificent design or intelligence of the human body.
Allopathic treatments for infertility include medication, surgery and assisted reproductive technologies all of which can take a toll on a woman’s overall health. While Artificial Reproductive Technologies ARTs are exceedingly popular, more and more couples are curious as to whether there are any short or long-term health affects for parent or offspring. Unfortunately, the safety and efficacy of these ARTs are rarely discussed. In the blog Looking at Artificial Conception – we examine some of the potential health affects of IVF? My intention is to build the health literacy of fertility challenged couples regarding the safety of assisted procedures. Enabling them to empowered health choices.
More and more we are seeing couples searching for natural, cost effective and safe therapies to enhance their reproductive success. There are many proactive and holistic models available, including chiropractic, Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture, naturopathy and homeopathy. When discussing the issue of infertility with Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners, they agreed that their clinical experience had shown there to be various levels of infertility. For some couples there are many chemical, nutritional and physical aspects that need to be addressed to aid natural fertility, whilst other couples need to simply focus on one or two key elements.
As evidenced in a review of ten case studies (6), chiropractic care seems to offer a safer, more cost effective alternative. In nine of the cases examined in the referenced paper, chiropractic adjustments allowed the woman to conceive with no further allopathic treatments.
Clinical features; This review includes case studies of eleven female patients, ranging in age from 22 to 42, with a mean age of 32. Their pregnancy histories included: one natural childbirth, two miscarriages, two failed in vitro fertilizations, and three failed artificial inseminations.
After receiving chiropractic care, there were 11 successful pregnancies.
Chief complaints that these women presented to the chiropractic office with included: low back pain (one), infertility (eight), dysmenorrheal (two), ulcerative colitis (two), ankle pain (one) and neck pain (one).
The women became pregnant within a period of one to 20months after receiving chiropractic care.
Conclusion: chiropractic care may facilitate changes that result in improved function and physiology of the reproductive system and result in successful pregnancies and birth.
By restoring function through the removal of nervous system interferences, chiropractors could offer a low cost and effective alternative to expensive fertility treatments. Allowing the nervous system to effectively integrate the chemical, physical and emotional information between the brain and reproductive system will improve the chance of conception.
These case studies show the positive outcomes as a result of chiropractic care provided to patients experiencing infertility. The ten case studies examined in the previously mentioned paper suggest that regardless of the type of chiropractic technique used, when subluxations of the vertebral column were adjusted, there was simultaneous improvement in the function of the reproductive organs and the function of the endocrine system.
These case studies demonstrate a need for more research to study the effect that chiropractic care can have on a couple struggling with infertility issues.
More and more research is being undertaken all the time and provides encouraging results for families across the globe.