Acupuncture For Testosterone

by Benjamin Bunting BA(Hons) PGCert

ben bunting BA(Hons) PgCert Sport & Exercise Nutriton  Written by Ben Bunting: BA(Hons), PGCert. Sport & Exercise Nutrition. L2 Strength & Conditioning Coach.

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Have you ever considered using accupuncture to combat low testosterone levels? 

This article will look in to the treatment and its side effects to understand whther or not it is something worth pursuing. 

Read on for some useful information. 

Acupuncture Explained

Acupuncture is a practice of inserting thin needles into specific points of the body to relieve pain. The process involves stimulating nerves in the body to release chemicals, called neurochemicals, which regulate neuroendocrine functions.

These chemicals change the way a person experiences pain, and they stimulate the release of other chemicals and hormones. The result is improved energy balance, which promotes physical health. While it may seem like a foreign process, this treatment is actually quite effective.

Needles used for acupuncture are small, thin and disposable, and usually resemble hair. Despite their appearance, these needles are not painful. They may have slightly arrowhead tips and are about three to 10 millimeters long, though some procedures require longer needles.

The insertion is not painful and most patients don't feel the needles at all. Instead, patients may experience slight ache or heaviness afterward. The procedure is also completely non-invasive and doesn't require anesthesia.

The process involves the insertion of these needles in specific acu-points. The needles are usually made of stainless steel, although gold is also used. The theory behind acupuncture involves the body's meridian systems (or 'channels') that allow Qi (chi) to flow freely.

Is Accupuncture Effective?

There has been some debate regarding the effectiveness of acupuncture for erectile dysfunction. While phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors have been the standard of care for ED, other treatments have gained popularity as well.

Acupuncture is an ancient form of traditional Chinese medicine that is thought to treat erectile dysfunction which can be associated with low testosterone. 

Testosterone Research

The researchers of this 2016 study published in the Accupuncture in Medicine journal used a PADAM induced rat model to determine the effect of acupuncture and moxibustion on testosterone levels.

The rats received injections of the herb cyclophosphamide, which reduces their levels of testosterone. The rats were then divided into four groups of ten and then treated with either moxibustion or electro-acupuncture.

The researchers noted that electro-acupuncture gave the most promising results, but that moxibustion had better results.

Premature Ejaculation

Although it may not be effective for all penis-related problems, electroacupuncture may improve men's sexual function. Among other benefits, electroacupuncture has shown some improvment towards the symptoms of premature ejaculation.

A 2020 study published in the Chinese Journal of Physiology looked at whether low frequency electroacupuncture would improve sexual behavior and ejaculation in male rats.

Their results suggest that low frequency electroacupuncture could improve sexual function and ejeculatory performance when compared to higher frequency electroacupuncture and the control subjects.

However, a later discussion that featured in the Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine of 2021 highlights that while accupuncture is gaining popularity to help treat sexual dysfunction, there's a lack of conclusive, quality evidence to support its use.

Women's health

Acupuncture has also been associated with an improvement in women's health. Despite the lack of extensive evidence, acupuncture could be a valuable adjunct therapy for women suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

A 2019 study compared the effectiveness of Tung's accupuncture against more conventional treatments including the use of cyproterone acetate/ethinylestradiol to treat PCOS.

The experiment analyzed the effects over the short term and long term with a 12 week follow up. The results demonstrated that there was very little difference between each of the two therapies. 

Both groups examined showed benefits accross body mass index and frequency of menstruation and the number of polycystic ovaries. 

Side Effects of Accupuncture

Among the unintended consequences of acupuncture are adverse events. While these are rare, they can occur. In some cases, they may be life-threatening.

Although it is not clear why they occur, they may have been attributed to other factors. Listed below are some common AEs and their causes. These may be a good starting point for further research.

An article on a recent study of 651 patients with acute viral hepatitis found that four were caused by acupuncture performed by non-medical acupuncturists. Another case study reported 36 consecutive patients who underwent acupuncture treatments over a year and all showed evidence of hepatitis. The senior health officer found the clinic to be "far from satisfactory".

One case report involved a patient who underwent acupuncture for chest pain. She experienced shortness of breath after receiving a session. The acupuncturist used needles that were 5 cm long, which may cause a pneumothorax. The patient was treated with more acupuncture, which may have aggravated the situation. Shortness of breath was reported during the return trip home. 

However, it has been said that accupuncture can have very low rates of adverse effects when conducted within qualified and licensed practices of the West.

Conclusion

There is a lack of conclusive or extensive evidence supporting this form of therapy, yet what is available does at least seem promising, but many more clincial trials are required. However, acupuncture may turn out to be an effective alternative to standard treatments and has few side effects.

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