AUSTIN, Texas, April 21, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Gone are the days when alternative medicine was considered to be "hip" or just a bunch of hocus-pocus. Today, more and more doctors are combining modern technology with holistic medicine to combat a variety of conditions from migraines to menstrual cramps. Just as alternative treatments such as acupuncture and massage have helped those ailments, doctors are also finding that they may even give fertility a nudge.
Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive despite 12 months of regular unprotected sexual intercourse. According to the National Survey of Family Growth, infertility affects more than 7 million people across the nation. That number represents 12 percent of women of childbearing age and one in eight couples.
At Vivere-Austin Surgery Center and Fertility Laboratory, Kenneth Moghadam, M.D., offers hope in the form of advanced reproductive techniques including in vitro fertilization (IVF). He is also passionate about helping his patients modulate stress and cultivate balance in life while trying to get pregnant. Dr. Moghadam is a board-certified reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist at Vivere-Austin. He is also medical director and founder of the Austin Fertility Institute.
According to Dr. Moghadam, there are several clinical studies that link chronic stress to infertility. "We now know that the more stress women experience while trying to get pregnant, the harder it is to get pregnant," he said. "In general, infertility patients experience a great deal of stress before they even enter our door. Many of them have tried for months or even years to conceive—without success.
"We give them hope in the form of proven medical modalities," he added. "However, all of the tests and treatments can further heighten expectations, and the emotional fall is even deeper if they don't conceive right away. It's not realistic to ask my patients not to stress. Alternative therapies such as yoga and meditation are pathways to relieve anxiety."
Valentina Pollard, 32, knows all too well the highs and lows associated with trying to conceive. Thanks to Vivere-Austin and holistic medicine, she is now the mother of not just one healthy baby, but three. Her fertility journey was not an easy one by any means.
"We started trying to have a baby when I was 28 and my husband Blake was 31," Valentina said. "We were young and healthy, and Blake thought we would get pregnant right away. I was a social worker for an adoption agency, so I know it doesn't always happen overnight."
After several months of trying to conceive, Valentina talked with her obstetrician/gynecologist and was prescribed Clomid to stimulate ovulation. "Month after month went by and still I was not pregnant."
Valentina says the next step was eight cycles of intrauterine inseminations followed by exploratory surgery. She was diagnosed with severe endometriosis, a leading cause of infertility in women. Valentina decided to call Sadie Minkoff, a licensed acupuncturist and co-founder of Sage Acupuncture in Austin, to find out if traditional Chinese medicine might help to improve her chances of becoming pregnant.
"At that time, I was in a high stress job and our efforts to become pregnant were also a cause for stress. My anxiety level was high," Valentina said. "My desire to be a mother consumed every moment of every day. I couldn't help it. I didn't live by the calendar day—I lived by the cycle day.
"Each month when I got my period I would experience absolute heartbreak," she said. "Acupuncture was the only thing that helped me to relax."
"Acupuncture is becoming less and less controversial in the treatment of infertility and other reproductive disorders," Minkoff said. "In my practice, I have seen acupuncture's remarkable effect on reducing stress and restoring balance, coupled with its positive influence on pregnancy rates."
It is thought that acupuncture's impact on pregnancy success rates comes in part from its effect on ovarian and uterine blood flow. "This renewed circulation flushes the reproductive organs with oxygen, nutrients and hormones improving follicular growth as well as the uterine environment and making it receptive to embryonic implantation," Minkoff said.
After more than a year of trying to get pregnant, Valentina's gynecologist referred her to Dr. Moghadam. Only one IVF cycle was required and on June 24, 2011 Valentina delivered twin girls Daphne Rose and Poppy Camille. Less than two years later, the Pollards experienced a joyful "surprise" pregnancy—without the help of modern medicine—and welcomed Violet Dauphine to their family on August 14, 2013.
Valentina says her children are a testament to what can happen when you combine cutting-edge techniques with natural methods. "Dr. Moghadam and Sadie helped me achieve my dream of being a mom."
Although there is no clinical evidence to prove that alternative therapies can cure infertility, they may in fact play a huge role in relieving stress. "I believe that taking a complete approach to patient care – addressing the body, mind, spirit and emotions – enables patients to stick to the treatment plan longer. In general, couples that find ways to modulate stress while undergoing advanced reproductive techniques overwhelming stay in treatment longer and will eventually become pregnant," he said.
In addition to taking advantage of local resources like yoga classes and relaxation therapy, Dr. Moghadam encourages has patients to find ways to reduce stress and cultivate balance in life. In addition to exercise and a healthy diet, he also recommends good "sleep hygiene," which means avoiding caffeine close to bedtime and anything that can disrupt a good night's rest.
Learn more about the benefits of combining holistic medicine with modern technology at the Fertility Tranquility Spa Day on Saturday, May 17, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Vivere-Austin Surgery Center, 2200 Park Bend Drive, Austin. This free event will include complimentary services such as massage therapy, aromatherapy, facials, fertility yoga and acupuncture as well as breakout sessions on Fertility 101, Nutrition for Fertility, and Lifestyle Factors. To register, visit AustinSpaDay.com.
About Vivere Health, LLC
Vivere Health, LLC is the leading expert in the nation for building, managing and enhancing multi-specialty Ambulatory Surgery Centers and laboratories for comprehensive reproductive health and more. Founded in 2010, the company partners with physician specialists nationwide to develop Centers of Excellence, which are customized to the individual needs of physician partners and their patients. Along with its physician partners, Vivere Health is dedicated to the highest quality patient care and outcomes and is helping shape the future of women's health and reproductive medicine.
Vivere Health is headquartered in Franklin, Tenn., and includes locations in Austin, Dallas, Houston, New Orleans and Winter Park, Fla. For more information about Vivere Health, please visit www.viverehealth.com.
Contact: Dana Raykovich
SOURCE Vivere Health, LLC