| Gynecol Endocrinol 1992 Sep;6(3):171-81
Auricular acupuncture in the treatment of female infertility.
Gerhard I, Postneek F.
Department for Gynecological Endocrinology and Reproduction, Women's Hospital, University of Heidelberg, Germany.
Following a complete gynecologic--endocrinologic workup, 45 infertile
women suffering from oligoamenorrhea (n = 27) or luteal insufficiency
(n = 18) were treated with auricular acupuncture. Results were compared
to those of 45 women who received hormone treatment. Both groups were
matched for age, duration of infertility, body mass index, previous
pregnancies, menstrual cycle and tubal patency. Women treated with acupuncture
had 22 pregnancies, 11 after acupuncture, four spontaneously, and seven
after appropriate medication. Women treated with hormones had 20 pregnancies,
five spontaneously, and 15 in response to therapy. Four women of each
group had abortions. Endometriosis (normal menstrual cycles) was seen
in 35% (38%) of the women of each group who failed to respond to therapy
with pregnancy. Only 4% of the women who responded to acupuncture or
hormone treatment with a pregnancy had endometriosis, and 7% had normal
cycles. In addition, women who continued to be infertile after hormone
therapy had higher body mass indices and testosterone values than the
therapy responders from this group. Women who became pregnant after
acupuncture suffered more often from menstrual abnormalities and luteal
insufficiency with lower estrogen, thyrotropin (TSH) and dehydroepiandrosterone
sulfate (DHEAS) concentrations than the women who achieved pregnancy
after hormone treatment. Although the pregnancy rate was similar for
both groups, eumenorrheic women treated with acupuncture had adnexitis,
endometriosis, out-of-phase endometria and reduced postcoital tests
more often than those receiving hormones. Twelve of the 27 women (44%)
with menstrual irregularities remained infertile after therapy with
acupuncture compared to 15 of the 27 (56%) controls treated with hormones,
even though hormone disorders were more pronounced in the acupuncture
group. Side-effects were observed only during hormone treatment. Various
disorders of the autonomic nervous system normalized during acupuncture.
Based on our data, auricular acupuncture seems to offer a valuable alternative
therapy for female infertility due to hormone disorders.