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Ten-year Study of Manual Physical Therapy to Treat Female Infertility


Infertility affects from 6% to 11% of women in the United States, with similar rates in developing countries. The cause stems from a range of medical conditions, including fallopian tube occlusion, endometriosis, elevated levels of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), and premature ovarian failure, a general classification of unexplained infertility. Single treatments remain elusive, leaving women to wait-and-see or go through expensive, exhausting and painful IVF treatments. This study shows a novel solution using physical therapy.

This study, published in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, tracked the rates of successful treatment of infertile women using manual physical therapy to address underlying adhesive disease leading to infertility. Access to full study at the bottom of this posting.

Physical Therapy Fertility Study Results

The participants of this retrospective study included 1392 female patients who were treated in a clinic setting between the years of 2002 and 2011. Each woman had varying diagnoses of infertility, including occluded fallopian tubes, hormonal dysfunction, and endometriosis, and some women were undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF).

The therapy used a specific manual physical therapy called Clear Passage Approach (CPA), which focused on “restoring mobility and motility to structures affecting reproductive function.” This protocol targets adhesive collagen-cross links that make up adhesions, a primary contributor to underlying causes of infertility. By decreasing adhesions that bind the organs, the body is able to respond appropriately, thus repairing mechanical blockages and improving hormone levels.

Results / Improvements demonstrated in the condition(s) causing infertility were measured by improvements in tubal patency and/or improved hormone levels or by pregnancy.

  •  The results included a 60.85% rate of clearing occluded fallopian tubes, with a 56.64% rate of pregnancy in those patients.
  • Patients with endometriosis experienced a 42.81% pregnancy rate. The success rate was 49.18% for lowering elevated levels of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), with a 39.34% pregnancy rate in that group, and 53.57% of the women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) achieved pregnancy.
  • The reported pregnancy rate for patients who underwent IVF after the therapy was 56.16%.
  • The results also suggested that the treatment was effective for patients with premature ovarian failure (POF).

Conclusion / The manual physical therapy represented an effective, conservative treatment for women diagnosed as infertile due to mechanical causes, independent of the specific etiology.

Source: Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 2015;21(3):32-40. Study authors: Amanda D. Rice, PhD, is the director of clinical studies; Kelseanne P. Breder, BA, is an intern. Both are in the research department at Clear Passage Physical Therapy in Gainesville, Florida. Kimberley Patterson, PTA, is a therapist; Leslie B. Wakefield, DPT, is a physical therapist; Evette D. Reed, PT, is a physical therapist; and Belinda F. Wurn, PT, is a clinical director. All are located in the clinical department at Clear Passage Physical Therapy. C. Richard King, III, MD, is the medical director of Clear Passage Physical Therapy. Lawrence J. Wurn, LMT, is a therapist in the clinical department and the research director in the research department at Clear Passage Physical Therapy.

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