How Elevated FSH Affect Fertility?
- Background: Elevated FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone) can be defined as a FSH value of > 10 mg/dl on day three of woman’s menstrual cycle. FSH is one of the two “gonadotropins” secreted from the pituitary gland to regulate the function of the ovary (Luteinizing Hormone, or LH, being the other). FSH stimulates the ovaries’ production of estrogen and promotes development of the follicles. The estradiol produced by the ovaries signals the brain to decrease the production of FSH. When there is not enough estrogen produced by the ovary, the brain doesn’t receive the signal and FSH production remains elevated. FSH levels predict low fertility when they are abnormal. Also, the cut off values are very laboratory dependent and your FSH can vary from cycle to cycle.
- Ovarian reserve is defined as the health of the ovaries and the eggs they contain. As a woman ages, the amount of eggs in reserve naturally decreases and her FSH levels increase. The underlying causes of High FSH may include extreme stress, diminished blood flow to the ovaries, or lack of ovarian response to pituitary production of FSH. Typically, symptoms of High FSH may include hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, infertility, irritability, menstrual irregularity, decreased libido, and headaches. Many women with high FSH are told there is nothing that Western medicine can do to improve their chances of conception and most are advised to try in vitro fertilization (IVF) with assisted hatching, coculture, and donor eggs.
How Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture Can Reduce Elevated FSH Levels?
- Chinese medicine and acupuncture doesn’t believe in elevated FSH levels or poor ovarian reserve. It views these symptoms as a result of poor reproductive health rather than an inability to conceive. This is why women, who have previously been told they are too old, poor responders, and have no options due to elevated FSH, can become pregnant after their bodies achieve a state of balance and their reproductive health is restored.
- In Elim clinic, we use a combination of various methods (i.e., acupuncture, Chinese herbs, Cupping, and Nutritional guidelines) to restore your reproductive health and balance your system, which will increase your chances of conceiving both naturally and through artificial reproductive technologies.
- Acupuncture can positively benefit the patients: to increase the blood flow to the ovaries to nourish the developing follicles and create better egg quality and stronger embryos, to normalize the function of the Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Ovarian axis to regulate and improve the body’s natural hormonal production, which in turn improves ovarian function and egg quality, and to relax the body and reduces stress levels. Elevated stress can prohibit conception by blocking blood flow to the reproductive organs and causing an imbalance in hormonal production, thus resulting irregular menstrual cycles, lack of ovulation, high FSH levels, poor ovarian production, and diminished egg quality.
- Chinese herbs can positively benefit the patients to build strong, nutrient-rich blood for the ovaries which will better nourish the developing follicles and create better egg quality and stronger embryos, and to normalize the function of the Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Ovarian axis to regulate and improve the body’s natural hormonal production which in turn improves ovarian function and egg quality.
- Nutritional guidance is customized for each patient based on the health of her kidney, liver, and spleen functions, which control our reproductive health. We generally recommend incorporating foods that encourage estrogen production, and decrease spicy, hot foods which burn up the estrogen of the body. Organic foods and cooling foods, like chlorophyll and wheat grass juice, are also recommended. A diet rich in dark green leafy vegetables and low sugar helps as well.