How can acupuncture help hormone balance, ovulation and egg quality?
Acupuncture regulates hypothalamus-pituitary-ovarian axis and helps hormone balance.
The female reproductive system is controlled by the hypothalamus-pituitary-ovarian (HPO) axis. This feedback loop begins with gonadotrophin-releasing hormone being released from the hypothalamus, resulting in the secretion of the gonadotrophins (LH and FSH) from the anterior pituitary, which in turn controls estrogen and progesterone production in the ovaries. Estrogen and progesterone play a central role in female fertility by stimulating growth, differentiation and maturation of follicles, preparing the endometrium for implantation and maintaining embryonic development. Altered levels of hormones and other factors that are involved in maintaining control of the HPO axis can have negative effects on fertility and pregnancy
Acupuncture promotes the release of beta-endorphin in the brain, which regulates gonadatrophin releasing hormone from the hypothalamus, follicle stimulating hormone from the pituitary gland, and oestrogen and progesterone levels from the ovary.
How to you know your egg quality is good or not? It is difficult to know your egg quality until IVF through which eggs can be seen. There are many factors that help estimate egg quality:
ovarian reserve tests including AMH, antral follicle count and FSH test, higher AMH and antral follicle count show good ovarian reserve. FSH from blood test less than 10 iu/l is good.
factors related to your menstrual cycles including cycle length, premenstrual spotting, ovulation day, peak estradiol and peak progesterone. Shorter cycles, spotting and low estradiol and progesterone indicate egg quality may not be good enough.
women’s age: most women under age 35 would have good quality of eggs.
pregnancy loss followed by difficulty to conceive again; This indicates that your egg quality is deteriorating.
IVF results which tests egg quality.
Acupuncture with or without TCM. Minimum 3 month acupuncture could improve egg quality.
Off pills, acupuncture helps resume ovulation
Oral contraceptive pills were developed over 40 years ago and they become the most common approaches of contraception in many countries. About 100 million women worldwide currently rely on this method for contraception. Do you know what the components of contraceptive pills and how they work? Most commonly used pills are called combined oral contraceptive (COC) pills which contain estrogen and progestogen. There are progestogen only pills available as well. These pills mainly inhibit ovulation by disturbing hypothalamus pituitary gland ovary axis ovary function and altering hormone balance. For most women their period will return within a few months once off the pills. But for some women, it might take longer to get their ovaries function again. This is understandable. For example if you fix one of your knee joints for a few months or longer. The knee joint may not function well and the related muscles will shrink and loss their function. When you release the knee, you have to work really hard and do lot of exercises to get the joint and muscles function well as normal again. When you are on pills your ovarian function is suppressed and they will not ovulate immediately. Some women’s ovary may be more sensitive to the pills. Once you are off pills, the ovaries have to work hard to regain their function. This takes some time. If they fail to do so, follicles may not develop and ovulation may not occur.
What you can do to help your ovary function? Acupuncture can help resume ovary function by improving ovary blood flow and regulating hormone balance as mentioned above without taking more medications.
Chang K and Tian SL Zhen Ci Yan Jiu (2012) 37:15-9