Here’s a typical story: Anne is 34 yrs old, trying to conceive for a year and has regular periods with ovulation occurring mid-cycle. She doesn’t hot flash or night sweat. After completing blood work at a reproductive clinic, Anne is told her FSH was 13.
Betty is 41yrs, trying to conceive for 2 yrs and her periods are slightly irregular with night sweats. Betty has no problem getting pregnant, but miscarries by week 9 of pregnancy. After having blood work drawn, her FSH is 16.
Though each case is different, they have one common element – high FSH. This frequently measured fertility marker is one of the scary, “conception days are numbered” diagnosis. Every couple dreads hearing “you have elevated FSH” talk with their reproductive doctor. The discussion usually includes the humbling and numbing “young with old eggs”,” limited eggs for conception”, “unchangeable situation” or “limited time for conception”. Most couples feel scared and blocked into a corner with their hopes crushed. FSH levels over 13 is a sign a couple will have less success with IVF. FSH over 20 (some clinics have a cut off rate of 16) usually cannot be stimulated by IVF protocols.
Elevated FSH does not have to box you in.
There is some interesting information which is not widely known by the public. There is an opportunity to change FSH and transform follicular growth and egg quality.
Currently high FSH is an indicator of a poor ovarian response to grow a follicle. Belief holds that high FSH is related to old or inadequate eggs that require excessive stimulation by the body to grow. There are less discussed component which can raise FSH, such as:
- Hypothalamic pulse issues: hypothalamic pumps out too much GnHR resulting in the pituitary secreting more FSH.
- FSH receptors issues: Possibly the follicle has FSH receptor issues resulting in the brain secreting more FSH to activate the receptors.
- GnRH hypersensitivity: The pituitary is overly response to GnRH and secretes more FSH.
- Estrogen issues: Not enough estrogen is produced at the level of the follicle to suppress FSH.
- Enzyme deficiencies: The follicle has reactive FSH receptors, but lacks enzymes to make byproducts in the follicle for the formation of estrogen.
These are also some explanations Western medicine does not fully understand nor take into consideration when evaluating a patient’s case.
Couples don’t realize that FSH can be lowered and egg quality can be optimized. There is hope: Egg quality can be optimized for potential conception and overall improved fertility. Factors such as, diet/environmental influences, nutrition and psychosocial all impact maturing follicles. By learning how to change these influences women can possible provide an environment where a follicle can grow correctly, resulting in a healthy embryo.
How does Chinese medicine help women with follicular issues?
- Minimize atresia – cellular death. There are many things that can cellular death such as exposure to chemicals.
- Optimizing follicular function – Such as poor corpus luteum pumping. Weak LH surges.
- Preserve follicles – by dietary changes and managing stress.
- Normalize hormonal levels E2, FSH, PR.
- Increase pelvic blood flow.
- Improve oocyte maturation.
Anne worked for 6 months with acupuncture and Chinese herbs and finally conceived after an IUI. She had a healthy girl. Betty was treated with acupuncture and Chinese herbs for 7 months and conceived naturally. With acupuncture and herbal support to prevent miscarriage, she delivered a healthy boy.
There is hope to reverse the impact on your follicles. With the knowledge and time you have the ability to change your reproductive health and improve your fertility. High FSH does not indicate you can’t conceive. Don’t feel blocked or lost. Seek other prospective views and transform your future.
Please note: The above philosophy is based upon the teachings of Brandon Horn; I have studied with Brandon and understand the treatment process. To hear Brandon talk about this topic, click here to learn more.
Call (914) 572-5137 today or click here to schedule an appointment & learn more about how we can help you.