Acupuncture for Tubal obstruction

Obstruction of the fallopian tubes is a common cause of female infertility and is found in 11 to 15 per cent of couples suffering from infertility in Western countries.[1] The obstruction is usually caused by infections such as chlamydia or gonorrhoea leading to pelvic inflammatory disease, but may also be associated with endometriosis, abdominal surgery, ectopic pregnancy, ruptured appendix or tuberculosis infection. Diagnosis is via a hysterosalpingography (HSG).

Total blockage of both fallopian tubes is rare, and usually a result of infections. Obstruction due to fluids (hydrosalpinx) can affect one or both tubes and lower conception or implantation rates in IVF Partial obstruction of the tubes is more common, and is usually due to infection, surgery or endometriosis. Microsurgery to open the tubes is one option, although IVF – which bypasses the need for the fallopian tubes to be open – is more typical.

Treatment with acupuncture and Chinese medicine (TCM) can be effective in some cases of tubal obstruction. It will not be effective in cases where the tubes are severely damaged and fibrotic. However, in cases of partial tubal blockage and mild cases of hydrosalpinx, treatment can improve the tubal environment and avoid the need for microsurgery and IVF. Successful treatment generally takes at least two to three months and typically includes prescription of herbal medicines taken both orally and via enema.

 

References

[1] Sciarra, J.J. (1994). “Infertility: a global perspective. The role of pelvic infection.” ORGYN, (3): 12-15