Depressed. Trying to conceive? A natural solution.

How depression and anxiety affect fertility

Depression/stress and fertility – the classic catch 22. Stay with us and learn why pharmaceutical management of depression may be a poor choice and how to solve this situation naturally with the help of non-drug interventions including acupuncture.

Couples with infertility report increased anxiety and depression. Infertility has every potential to cause significant stress and suffering. I unmanaged depression can have a devastating effect on a couple’s relationship and on their success in becoming parents.

Depression can affect the fertility of both men and women. I can affect man’s sexual function, sperm quality. Just the last year a large clinical study found that men who have major depression are less likely to conceive a child. Another study on women with severe depression found 38 per cent fewer conceptions per month.

Are antidepressants safe?

Antidepressants can be unsafe when trying for a baby. Research showed the link between the use of antidepressants and male infertility. Women undergoing anti-depressant treatment were more likely to have a miscarriage.

Perinatal depression and anxiety effects on the baby

Perinatal depression and anxiety in mothers can affect the development of the child during the first 18 years of life. Specifically, it affects social-emotional, cognitive, language, motor, and adaptive behaviour development. It is important to seek help early.

What is the safest way to manage your depression when trying to conceive?

A number of studies have explored the possible negative effects of antidepressants on a healthy pregnancy and on a baby. However, we lack information on how these drugs affect fertility. So if you in a position to choose your treatment, discuss non-pharmaceutical depression management with your doctor. There are a few effective non-drug interventions available like

  • Acupuncture,
  • Counselling and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy,
  • Exercise (cardio and yoga)

We recommend that you combine at least two of the above interventions.

Acupuncture is both safe and effective therapy against depression when trying for a baby

Acupuncture may be your non-drug alternative therapy of choice when trying to conceive. Reduced stress and anxiety are some of the well-known fertility acupuncture’s benefits. Majority of our fertility acupuncture patients report feeling more relaxed.

In 2019 our Australian colleagues from the University of Western Sydney investigated if acupuncture is a suitable treatment for depression. They summed up trials from Asia (China, Korea) and English speaking countries in a systematic review and meta-analysis.

The study authors concluded that acupuncture had significant benefits for patients with depression. The average successful acupuncture treatment involved about two to three sessions per week. Patients had this natural treatment for several weeks. Acupuncture may be used as a complementary treatment alongside antidepressants or a stand-alone therapy for less severe depression. Not to mention, acupuncture can help to speed up your fertility journey.

Our approach

We care for couples experiencing a range of depression-related symptoms: low moods, niggling pains, insomnia, digestive disorders, low libido, no energy.

We are proud of our natural, holistic, integrative, and most scientifically up to date approach to acupuncture treatment.

Would you be willing to discover how acupuncture can help your situation? Get in touch now.

Acupuncture helps depression: cytokines

How acupuncture helps with depression

Recent research discovered that depression is not only a psychiatric condition – it has a physiological manifestation in the brain. Scientists found that depressed patients have higher levels of cytokines. Cytokines are proteins which have an ability to switch on inflammation in your body. These proteins can turn the brain into sickness mode – feeling down, lethargic, sleepy.

Acupuncture effective treatment for depression

This scientifically justified therapy showed promising results in patients who are diagnosed with depression, and especially, in patients with treatment resistant depression. Recent systematic review and meta-analysis suggests that acupuncture combined with antidepressant medication is effective, has an early onset of action, safe and well-tolerated over the first 6-week treatment period. Moreover, this treatment combination appears to result in greater therapeutic efficacy than SSRI therapy alone.

How acupuncture helps and why you should consider it

Previous experimental studies found that acupuncture can reduce cytokine levels in chronic headache patients. Research on rodents has shown that it can reduce cytokine levels in the brain.

One of the ways how acupuncture regulates your body is through the vagus nerve. This important nerve connects the organs to the brain. Via the Vagus nerve acupuncture can directly reduce the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. And long term treatments can increase levels of anti-inflammatory cytokines. To achieve this benefit you need 3 or more months of regular treatment. This is not only beneficial for depression. Inflammation has been linked to heart disease, increase the risk of cancer, affect your sleep, it makes it hard to lose weight, increases bone loss, damages your gums. Reducing inflammation can benefit your health significantly.

Currently, there are a few theories explaining the therapeutic effects of this time-tested therapy for depressed patients. Cytokine theory is one of the most promising theories explaining how acupuncture treats depression.

Transcranial current stimulation

Transcranial current stimulation

Transcranial direct current stimulation and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS Therapy) are a trending subject of current studies.

The newly discovered benefits of these therapies include pain relief, treatment for sleep disorders, depression, cognitive enhancement (including speeding up learning, creativity enhancement, and improving mathematical abilities, etc.).

Are these transcranial therapies really novel? The treatment seems to be strikingly similar to scalp electroacupuncture, which we use safely and effectively for decades.

Numerous studies support scalp acupuncture for the treatment of conditions such as

And the cranial electro-acupuncture we offer is much more cost-effective compared to transcranial therapies

  • US$300 is a cost of a typical transcranial magnetic stimulation session
  • NZ$70 (US$57) cost of a typical acupuncture session in New Zealand

Brain mapping techniques are becoming cheaper and more accessible. This leads to more studies and a better understanding of the human brain. The more detail brain maps open opportunities to design new treatments for numerous other conditions transcranial current stimulation, transcranial magnetic stimulation as well as with electro-acupuncture.

The image: fibers of the White Matter