Treating Female Infertility and Improving IVF Pregnancy Rates With a Manual Physical Therapy Technique*

Belinda F. Wurn, PT; Lawrence J. Wurn, LMT; C. Richard King, MD; Marvin A. Heuer, MD; Amanda S. Roscow, MPT; Eugenia S. Scharf, PhD; Jonathan J. Shuster, PhD

In This Article

Study I. Treating Female Infertility With a Manual Physical Therapy Technique


Selection. The primary criteria for inclusion in this prospective study were (1) the inability to conceive following at least 12 months of unprotected intercourse, and (2) suspected or confirmed pelvic adhesions attributed to abdominal and/or pelvic surgery, infectious or inflammatory disease (eg, endometriosis, PID), miscarriage, or trauma within the abdominopelvic area. A total of 17 women were selected to receive a series of site-specific manual physical therapy treatments; 3 were lost to follow-up.

Gynecologic History. All 14 patients in this study had proven or clinically well-supported suspicion of adhesions. Medical diagnoses included:


Infectious/inflammatory disease (13) 92.8%
Abdominopelvic trauma (12) 85.7%
Abdominopelvic surgery (11) 78.6%
Endometriosis (7) 50.0%
Confirmed pelvic adhesions (5) 35.7%
Pelvic inflammatory disease (2) 14.3%


Characteristics. Study participants were a multiethnic, primarily white group, ranging in age from 25 to 44 years. The mean age was 33.5 (median, 32); and duration of infertility ranged from 1 to 20 years, with a mean of 4.9 (median, 4) years.


Largely on the basis of standard physical therapy practices, completion of a minimum of 20 treatment hours (or pregnancy during the course of therapy) was one of the few criteria for inclusion in the study.[24] None of the patients received concurrent infertility therapies during the treatment period.

Data Collection

Study patients were evaluated and treated between May 1998 and February 2002 and tracked for at least 1 year following therapy. This does not imply that failure to become pregnant within a year was deemed permanent infertility,[4] but in terms of facilitating fertility in a timely manner, 1 year sufficed for outcome assessment. Patients who became pregnant during treatment were tracked through expected delivery date. Follow-up data were obtained via questionnaires, telephone calls, letters, and email.

The final data set includes 14 patients who completed the recommended 20 hours of therapy or else became pregnant before completing therapy. Three patients were omitted because they did not respond to follow-up attempts.


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