Female Mechanical Infertility: How Pelvic Health Physiotherapy can help
Updated: Mar 11, 2019
As women, we have the amazing and divine ability to create, grow and birth human life. As you know many factors contribute to this including hormones, reproductive cells, systemic health, environmental factors, medical history, lifestyle, and stress. Becoming a little more well known are how structural or mechanical factors of and around the reproductive organs and neuroendocrine system can also influence a woman’s innate gift - this is where Pelvic Health Physiotherapy can help!
The Reproductive System: Structural issues such as uterine or ovarian cysts or fibroids, endometriosis, abdomino-pelvic visceral &/or myofascial adhesions from traumatic, inflammatory or surgical sources, and fallopian tube occlusion can all challenge a woman’s fertility. By reducing these structures’ movement, circulation and waste removal capacity the local environment can become non-optimal for conception or carrying to term.
The Nervous System & Hormone Balancing: The main driver of our body’s fertility hormones and part of our stress response is the hypothalamic-pituitary gonadotropic (HPG) axis. The hypothalamus is part of our primitive brain that connects our nervous system to our endocrine (hormone) system via the pituitary and then to the adrenal glands and ovaries. Additionally, the thyroid gland is intricately connected to the pituitary and thus also plays a role in fertility. Any dysfunction in alignment, mobility, blood flow, and lymphatic drainage of these glands and their encapsulating structures (i.e. cranium, spine, neural/ dural tube, and abdominal musculature and fascia) can negatively influence the neuroendocrine system, possibly resulting in hormone imbalances and fertility challenges.
Treatment & Hope: Traditionally focusing on bladder, bowel and sexual health, Pelvic Health Physiotherapy has more recently started to assist in the successful care and treatment of reproductive health, including mechanical infertility in women.
Through specific manual therapy performed directly on the reproductive organs (uterus, ovaries, and surrounding/ connecting structures), female infertility has shown to be reversed by 39-61% in cases such as occluded fallopian tubes (1, 2), endometriosis, hormone dysregulation, premature ovarian failure and polycystic ovarian syndrome (1). Studies have yet to be done looking at how similar manual therapies performed on structures of the neuroendocrine system may further assist in these successes. However, it is theorized that they too can only optimize the body’s innate ability to reestablish balance and flow, especially in the case of infertility.
Andrea uses a cohesive blend of treatment techniques including gentle joint mobilization, craniosacral therapy, myofascial release, visceral manipulation, and mindfulness including Yoga and other therapeutic exercises, in a protocol-free, functional and individualized approach to optimize the function and mobility of these structures - ideally assisting to reverse female infertility.
Rice et al. (2015). Ten-year Retrospective Study on the Efficacy of a Manual Physical Therapy to Treat Female Infertility. Altern Ther Health Med. 2015 Feb 17. pii: at5233. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25691329
Wurn et al. (2008). Treating fallopian tube occlusion with a manual pelvic physical therapy. Altern Ther Health Med. 2008 Jan-Feb;14(1):18-23. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18251317
Disclaimer - Everything shared is for informative purposes only. It is not intended for assessment, diagnosis or treatment purposes. If you feel there needs to be further investigation, please seek out a qualified health care professional for a proper assessment.