Premature Ovarian Insufficiency
Premature ovarian insufficiency is also known as premature ovarian failure (POF). Premature ovarian failure is not having any eggs to fertilise. It is not a common problem in fertility cases and affects about 1% of women under 40 years of age.
A diagnosis of premature ovarian failure can be very emotional and difficult to accept. Knowing when a woman is actually suffering from premature ovarian failure is difficult to determine. Normally, a blood test will be taken to measure oestradiol, follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) LH and AMH levels.
If you've been diagnosed with premature ovarian failure, make sure the clinic has checked your AMH levels as well as oestradiol and FSH, as often they don't. If oestradiol and AMH levels are very low and FSH is high, then it may indicate exhaustion of the ovaries. However, if AMH levels are low to satisfactory and FSH levels are normal or slightly high, then it may be beneficial to have oestrogen supplementation (HRT) along with acupuncture and Chinese herbs to kick-start the ovarian function.
Acupuncture for premature ovarian insufficiency
Premature means before time and when a woman changes and enters menopause varies from woman to woman and from mother to daughter. In some cases that I have treated where a woman has been diagnosed as having premature ovarian failure, after having acupuncture and Chinese herbs, they have gone on to have a successful pregnancy. Therefore, premature ovarian failure maybe an over-exaggerated diagnosis where the woman maybe very deficient but with the correct supplementation they can be re-energized and have a successful pregnancy.
In most cases of premature ovarian failure, the woman is yin and blood deficient. Or there might be a blockage not allowing the free-flow of yin and blood.
Acupuncture has been shown in research to improve ovarian reserve levels in women. It may do this by increasing blood flow to the ovaries as well as regulating the pituitary ovarian axis. This is great news if you have low ovarian reserve and are looking to have a baby.
Supplements such as DHEA (75 mg) have also been shown to improve ovarian reserve in women.
Wang Y, et al. (2016) Electroacupuncture for reproductive hormone levels in patients with diminished ovarian reserve: a prospective observational study. Acupunct Med; 0:1–6. doi:10.1136/acupmed-2015-011014.