Have you ever clenched your jaw? Or felt your shoulders be tight? Similarly, lots of women clench their pelvic muscles. This clenching and restriction of the muscles often make it difficult to conceive. Why? Because clenching or tightness of muscles decreases blood flow. And relaxation increases blood flow. When speaking about fertility, blood flow particularly to the ovaries to help produce good quality eggs, and to the uterus to help the quality of the lining to help get blood flow to the embryo, are essential (and often forgotten).
Continue reading to find out how to get more blood flow to the pelvic organs. And, at the end, you’ll see a link to a really great blog I came across on the importance of the pelvic muscles along with some exercises you can do to relax your pelvic muscles.
First, a little background. The female reproductive organs are tenuously located — the uterus in between the bladder and rectum and the ovaries hanging off the uterus attached by ligaments. Trauma to this area by a direct hit to the pelvis, emotional trauma, or surgical trauma can all cause minor restriction in these organs which are meant to be fluid. Often these constrictions will block the blood flow to the region. Signs and symptoms of blocked flow include: absences of menses, painful menses, prolonged menses, or lack of ovulation. In some cases, there can also be cysts on the ovaries and/or constant pelvic pain.
Because the female menstrual cycle needs to be in rhythm for fertility, the symptoms above are also common indicators of difficulty conceiving and carrying to term. Having a healthy set of ovaries and uterus require healthy blood flow to the area, followed by restored menstrual cycles free of pain and rhythmic abnormalities. Of course, ovulation, or the release of the egg from the ovum, is absolutely essential for conception.
Gynovisceral manipulation of the reproductive organs and stretching of the ligaments, will help to increase the blood flow, as well as restore fluidity of the internal organs. In theory, this would be great for fertility and pregnancy, right?
A small group of 48 women ages 28-42 that suffered from primary or secondary infertility, underwent Mercier Therapy (a gynovisceral manipulation technique) for at least two sessions.
Of the 48 women:
18 achieved pregnancy in the first 6 months post treatment
22 achieved pregnancy within the first year
8 did not become pregnant
Of the 40 women that achieved pregnancy, 32 used Mercier Therapy alone; six used IFV in addition to Mercier; and 2 used a clomid/IUI in combination adjunct to Mercier. From this, we can see that using gynovisceral manipulation to improve blood flow to the reproductive organs can be really helpful to health-fully conceiving AND that this therapy can be successfully used in combination with more conventional treatments for even greater success rates.
On the other hand, conventional therapies such as IVF and IUI are brilliantly able to compensate for the lack of appropriate reproductive organ function. Unfortunately, as advanced as reproductive science is, the success rates are still lagging behind. Most fertility clinics offer a 23-25% success rate for women under 40. Restoring function of the organs to as natural a state as possible has greater success — over 80% in women within a similar age group. An integrative approach could actually yield even great results- though studies are still needed in this field.
Gynovisceral manipulation, or Mercier therapy, is a technique that significantly helps to restore proper function to the reproductive system. (It’s similarly useful for men but that’s coming in a future post!). There are also some other ways to increase blood flow in this blog: http://goop.com/the-secrets-of-the-pelvic-floor/
Would you like to learn more? There’s a great documentary film about Fertility that I came across, which touches on Mercier therapy so I have decided to rent the film to do a local screening in the Bay Area! If you live in the Bay Area and don’t already get my newsletters, you should sign up.
Ready to start your Mercier Therapy? Schedule a preliminary consult and we can talk about whether it would be a good fit for you.