Can Manual Physical Therapy Help Reverse Female Infertility?

For couples who are struggling to conceive, infertility is often a very sensitive subject. There are about 6.7 million women in the US who are having difficulties getting pregnant (2006-CDC). A ten-year retrospective review in 2015 assessed the effectiveness of manual physical therapy for the treatment of female infertility and found substantial positive results.

The study looked at data gathered from 2002-2011, which included around 1,392 infertility-treated patients. It specifically included those associated with single or multiple causes of infertility: 1) elevated 10 mIU/ml or higher FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) 2) fallopian tube occlusion 3) endometriosis- when the lining of the uterus expands outside the uterus causing extreme pain, excessive bleeding, infertility 4) polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)-a disorder affecting the female hormone

Using an individualized physical therapy treatment plan called the CPA (Clear Passage Approach) procedure, patients were treated. This procedure was personalized to meet the patients’ unique needs and to treat particular restriction and immobility sites within the body of each patient. In order to increase the mobility of soft tissue structures, the procedure included integrated manual therapy procedures based on eliminating adhesions and removing mechanical blockages. In order to help restore the normal physiological activity of organs with diminished motility, visceral stimulation has also been used.

By inducing a local tissue response and thus the contact with higher control centers in the brain that have the ability to positively influence the behavior of the ovary and uterus, the application of these particular manual therapy modalities is thought to stimulate the central nervous system, thus influencing the production and regulation of hormones.

The research compared manual physical therapy care with normal, traditional therapies for female infertility to previously reported success rates. The findings were staggering. Researchers found that the patency of the fallopian tube of at least one fallopian tube was 60.8 percent effective with the implementation of the CPA manual therapy approach. When compared with the success rates reported in the literature, “it was observed that the CPA performed as well as or at higher rates of success than surgery did.” The pregnancy rate was also very successful for those patients with at least 1 open fallopian tube, with a 56.64 percent overall pregnancy rate following CPA treatment.

The success rate for pregnancy after CPA treatment was 42.8 percent for those women with endometriosis (n=558). The pregnancy rates were even higher at 55.4 percent for those who underwent IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) after CPA treatment. These outcomes have also been equivalent to, or better than, conventional medical treatments reported in current literature.

It has also been shown that manual therapy lowers elevated FSH levels and increases pregnancy rates by almost 50 percent. Researchers agree that there are no medical therapies to date that reflect standard care for women with elevated levels of FSH and need more comparative findings for investigation.

The overall pregnancy success rate was 53.57 percent of the 59 women with PCOS. The use of metformin was the only important and clear contrast with the norm of treatment literature. Similarly, CPA had substantially higher pregnancy rates than with metformin alone. There were no statistically relevant findings published. The least successful pregnancy rates were recorded for unexplained infertility and POF. This is most likely due to a lack of subject size in these particular patient cases and/or no published medical treatment, further warranting the need for a potential inquiry.

In conclusion, in cases such as obstructed fallopian tubes, endometriosis, hormone dysregulation, and PCOS, manual physical therapy has been shown to reverse female infertility. It is great to know that manual therapist specializing in pelvic health have therapeutic value in helping to transform the lives of women dealing with infertility, with all the traditional choices accessible.

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