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Most Infertility Patients Try Folklore, Nonmedical Treatments

Health News Digest,  Aug 31, 2009
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A study from The Ohio State University Medical Center showed that a majority of infertility patients used alternative therapies while attempting to become pregnant. The findings were published in a recent issue of The Journal of Reproductive Medicine.

Nonmedical treatments for infertility can range from dietary changes and herbal remedies to acupuncture, yoga or massage therapy. In some cases charms, cards or other objects have been handed down through a family’s generations to help enhance the chance of pregnancy. “The study speaks to people’s commitment to do everything within their power to conceive,” said Dr. Jonathan Schaffir, obstetrician at The Ohio State University Medical Center and lead author of the study. “Most of the nonmedical options are shown to be harmless but very few, if any, have been shown to actually benefit infertility.”

Of 133 patients who completed questionnaires, 62.2 percent indicated use of alternative therapies. The most common were religious intervention (33.8 percent), changes in sexual practices (28.6 percent), and dietary changes (21.8 percent). Patients using alternative therapies were younger than those who did not. The study showed no difference in use of such interventions by women of different income, education, length of infertility or parity.

While most alternative treatments, from acupuncture to massage, are not risky in themselves, patients should consider the expenditure of time and money needed. In some cases, patients may consider it worthwhile if the treatment helps them feel relaxed and in control of their situation.
Read more about the study.


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