Acupuncture Reduces High FSH Levels
Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) is regulated by the pituitary gland under influence from the hypothalamus. It is an important indicator of fertility.
FSH stimulates the ovaries to grow and mature multiple follicles, which contain eggs. As one follicle becomes dominant and matures, it releases oestradiol.
The normal level of FSH is between 3.5-12.5pmol/L (1.5-5.5ng/mL) in the follicular/yin phase around day 2-3 of the menstrual cycle. The level of FSH increases with age. A high FSH means that the egg isn't maturing enough to release oestrogen, which switches off FSH production. If levels of FSH become higher than 15pmol/L, then the woman will likely be infertile as her eggs are maturing. Post-menopausal women have high levels of FSH.
When undergoing IVF, levels of FSH need to be below 12pmol/L, although this level varies from clinic to clinic, with some fertility clinics excepting a level below 15pmol/L. As fertility drugs use FSH, a high level means that the ovaries are less likely to response to the drugs leading to a failed IVF cycle.
Recent research has shown that acupuncture is able to reduce high levels of FSH in women. This improves fertility both naturally and during an IVF cycle.
Zheng et al. (2015) Effects of transcutaneous electrical acupoint stimulation on ovarian reserve of patients with diminished ovarian reserve in in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer cycles. J Obstet Gynaecol Res, Volume 41, Issue 12, 1905–1911.