What is FSH?
Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) is produced by the pituitary gland. This reproductive hormone communicates with the ovaries to produce follicular growth so a healthy egg can be released and there is potential of conception. The more responsive the ovaries are to FSH, the less the amount required to stimulate normal follicular growth.Typical symptoms of a high FSH may include: hot flashes, night sweats, and/or vaginal dryness. You may feel like you are in the beginning stages of menopause. We start by looking at underlying reasons for poor egg quality and a high FSH.
To determine if your FSH is elevated, a blood test is taken on day 2 or 3 of your menstrual cycle. It takes about 120 days before the egg is actually released from the follicle. This is why we recommend a treatment course of at least three months, if time allows. Even in women with low ovarian reserve, we often see FSH levels decrease as a result of consistent treatment and lifestyle adjustments.
During this critical growth phase, acupuncture and Chinese herbal treatments can improve the health and quality of the egg by stimulating blood flow to the reproductive organs, greatly improving your odds for finally holding your baby in your arms.
*Please use caution when selecting a practitioner if you have this condition. Make sure they are highly recommended, specialize in fertility treatment and are a board certified fellow with the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine (ABORM). You can visit the website at www.aborm.org for more information.
What is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)?
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a hormonal disorder that affects the hormones, the ovaries, and the eggs which are developing within the follicle. Symptoms of PCOS usually include irregular periods, late or absent ovulation, excessive facial and body hair, obesity (though many PCOS patients are thin), skin thickness and persistent acne. A blood test may read elevated testosterone and LH levels. Vaginal ultrasound will demonstrate ovaries with many immature follicles that resemble a ‘string of pearls’.
Acupuncture and Chinese medicine have been shown to be effective at treating PCOS. By using Chinese Herbs, acupuncture and proper nutrition, these symptoms improve, your cycles will become regular and your overall health will also be better. Nutrition is particularly important for women with PCOS not only to regulate your cycle, but to prevent diabetes. Call to schedule a consultation, with one of our reproductive specialists, to find out if acupuncture can make a difference for you.
What is Premature Ovarian Failure (POF)?
Premature Ovarian Failure is the loss of ovarian function and estrogen production in women under the age of 40. Not only does POF affect your fertility, the lack of estrogen can also cause other significant health issues. Approximately, 1 in every 1000 women between the ages of 15-29 and 1 in every 100 women between the ages 30-39 are affected. Many times the cause of POF is unknown. Some possibilities for the loss of ovarian function may be due to a less than normal amount of follicles, a dysfunction of the ovaries, or autoimmune disease.
POF is often called premature menopause. Although the symptoms may be similar, the conditions are quite different. Menopause is a natural condition that usually occurs as we age, resulting in follicle depletion and the actual end of menstruation. Women with POF may skip their period for a few months and then have normal cycles for a few months. They may also have hot flashes or night sweats, insomnia, mood swings, vaginal dryness, loss of energy, diminished libido, painful intercourse and bladder control problems. FSH Levels are above 40 mlU/ml (post- menopausal range), yet 50% of women may ovulate at any given time and 5-10% may become pregnant.
A combination of gonadotropin medications that are commonly used in fertility clinics to stimulate the ovaries and prepare for IVF, along with traditional Chinese medicine, can offer hope for women with this condition. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine have been shown to be effective at treating the symptoms associated with POF. When these symptoms are improved, your fertility will improve and your overall health will also be better.