FSH stands for follicle-stimulating hormone, which is produced and released by the anterior pituitary gland. In women, FSH helps control the menstrual cycle and the production of eggs by the ovaries. The amount of FSH varies throughout a woman’s menstrual cycle and is at its highest just before she releases an egg (ovulates).
FSH and Ovarian Reserve
A baseline FSH blood test on day 3 of the menstrual cycle gives an overall indication of the ‘ovarian reserve’, which is the capacity of the ovary to provide eggs that are capable of fertilization resulting in a healthy pregnancy.
Elevated FSH generally represents a reduced egg supply and it may also reflect a compromise of egg quality. Generally FSH levels are expected to be below 10 IU/L (1-9 IU/L) in women with reproductive potential (levels of 10-15 IU/L are considered borderline). Many fertility clinics require that FSH levels are below a certain level (usually 11 or 12) as a pre-requisite for IVF treatment.
High FSH and TCM
High FSH is frustrating, but it is only a figure. From Traditional Chinese Medicine’s perspective, we look at the underlying reasons for poor egg quality and a high FSH Experience has shown that women with acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine treatment can have their FSH levels reduced or stabilised to allow them embark on IVF treatment, or have their chances increased to have a natural pregnancy.
Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can help:
to restore the body’s natural balance and optimize reproductive health
to restore the ovarian function, thicken uterine lining, correct hormonal imbalance, and reduce FSH level
to regulate menstrual cycle, promote ovulation, and improve egg quality
to reduce stress and create a welcoming environment inside uterus for eggs to fertilised and implanted.
It takes about 120 days before the egg is actually released from the follicle. We highly recommend at least 3 months of acupuncture and/or herbal medicine treatment, allowing the system to be brought back to its optimal function.