The Connection Between Chiropractic and Fertility
By Dr. Molly Casey
Did you know that nine percent of the population deals with infertility issues? It doesn’t sound like a big number, but if you are among this nine percent, it feels very big -- at least that’s what I’ve observed with my patients who have struggled with infertility. Wait, what? Chiropractic care and infertility? Yes, you read it right. Chiropractors help patients with their overall health -- those struggling with infertility issues included. Because it takes two to conceive, it’s important to remember that this information is just as applicable to men as it is to women.
Many documented cases exist of chiropractic helping couples become pregnant, the flashpoint to research being the 2003 publication of 15 case studies by Madeline Behrendt, D.C., in the Journal Vertebral Subluxation Research. From that point on, the chiropractic and infertility communities began eyeing each other, searching for a connection like they were homecoming king and queen.
There are a number of different reasons why one may be infertile, including improper nervous system function, poor nutrition, and high stress. At some level, conceiving a baby is considered a stress on the body. Your body knows that if conception occurs, it’s going to have to grow this little human for the next nine months. Your body is smart, and if it perceives the stress as a threat to the mother or fetus, it won’t conceive. It’s almost like a flight or fight mechanism. How many stories have you heard of couples conceiving after they were told they couldn’t have children? The pressure was off and then, cha-ching!
One common treatment for the problem of infertility is In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). The egg is fertilized outside the body and then implanted into the woman’s uterus. Unfortunately, it often doesn’t succeed in one try and there are injections of hormones and other drugs that women must take during the process. Worth mentioning is the cost: About $10,000 minimum per each attempt.
Though some people have great success with IVF, it’s wise to know that any time we take a process that occurs within the body and alter it with our man-made ways, there will be a higher risk for abnormalities to occur. Additionally, the side effects of the injections (mood swings, pain, headaches, bloating and more) can be perceived as more stress on an already stressed body.
Do patients actually see chiropractors seeking help to increase their fertility? The answer is yes and no. Many seek chiropractic care for wellness purposes and don’t realize the effect it may have on the body. While chiropractic doesn’t cure infertility, it does reduce stress and interference in the body and, more specifically, the nervous system. Chiropractic promotes health from the inside out. Chiropractors most often encourage healthy nutrition, an active lifestyle and frequently guide patients through the process of decreasing other stressors . All of these factors can have a direct effect on one’s ability to conceive. Regular chiropractic care can affect your breathing, blood vessel dilation and digestion. These positive effects may help move a fertilized egg into fallopian tubes. In addition, if one’s pelvis is twisted there can be pressure on reproductive organs that may stress them. If you’re a research junkie, take a look at this article reviewing chiropractic research and its approach to infertility.
If a couple is struggling with infertility, both the male and female should be getting adjusted. In approximately 40 percent of infertile couples, men are partly or solely contributing to the issue. Wellness for couples who are trying to conceive is a routine matter for most chiropractors, and definitely for us at The Joint. If wellness is something you or someone you know desires, come in and discover the many benefits of routine chiropractic care!
Dr. Molly Casey is a Doctor of Chiropractic who practices in the Los Angeles area. She works twice a week at The Joint Chiropractic in Glendale, CA.