Poor Egg Quality, Diminished Ovarian Reserve, & Elevated FSH
A women’s follicular development is very much influenced by the endocrine system. The hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and ovaries cooperative function greatly impacts our follicle quality, number of follicles produced, and ovulation. The hypothalamus produces GnRH (Gonadatropin-releasing hormone) to stimulate the pituitary to release FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) and LH (luteinizing hormone). In conjunction, the developing follicle produces estrogen, which signals an increase in LH production from the pituitary gland. The release of these hormones stimulates the follicle in the ovary to mature and triggers ovulation.
Our hypothalamus, pituitary, and ovarian function can change or be interrupted in function due factors like preexisting conditions, age, toxins, poor diet, and stress. However, the balance between the hypothalamus, pituitary, and ovaries can also be positively influenced to help prepare the body and reproductive organs for good quality follicular development, ovulation, implantation, and pregnancy.
Ovarian factors are the leading cause of infertility. Some conditions linked to ovarian dysfunction include
· Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
· Premature Ovarian Failure (POF)
· Diminished Ovarian Reserve, and
· Elevated FSH levels
Acupuncture, Egg Quality, & Ovarian Health
There is hope! Clinical research has proven that acupuncture & Chinese Medicine can successfully improve blood flow to the ovaries and uterus. By improving blood flow, acupuncture helps to improve ovarian function, follicular development, and endometrial development. Shannon has treated many women who have had diminished ovarian function or reserve, PCOS, and or elevated FSH levels. Acupuncture and TCM can improve follicular development, improve overall egg quality and maturation, and initiate timely ovulation.
Acupuncture and TCM can also help regulate the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis. Through working on the HPO axis, acupuncture helps to regulate the hormones responsible for increasing the number of follicles, improving follicular development, and initiating ovulation.
Research on Follicular Development, Ovulation, & Acupuncture
A recent study measured a control group of 19 women and an acupuncture group of 17 women. The control group received 50mg of oral clomiphene once per day for a total of 50 menstrual cycles. The acupuncture group received the clomiphene at the same dosage and rate plus regular acupuncture treatments. The researchers measured changes in ovulation, endometrial thickness, cervical mucus, pelvic fluid, and follicular development. The acupuncture group showed a significantly higher rate of both ovulation and conception than the group receiving medication only.
The researchers measured the effects of acupuncture and moxibustion on anovulatory infertility, a type of infertility caused by the lack of ovulation. Following the treatment regime, FSH, LH and E2 levels improved. In addition, the thickness of the endometrium increased and the follicle diameter increased. The higher pregnancy rates and objective testing resulted in the research team finding acupuncture and moxibustion successful in enhancing fertility for women with anovulatory infertility.
XU, Yin, and Miao ZHANG. “Efficacy observation on 40 cases of anovulatory infertility treated by acupuncture and moxibustion.” World Journal of Acupuncture-Moxibustion 23, no. 1 (2013): 40-43.