What is ovarian reserve?
In a nutshell low ovarian reserve is the number of ova (eggs) in the ovaries. Ovarian reserve is directly affected by the production of the Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) by the pituitary glands. FSH stimulates the growth of eggs in the ovaries. The issue with ovarian reserve arises as women age. With age, the number and quality of eggs decrease. When women are younger, they have a large ovarian reserve, and a little FSH is enough to stimulate their growth. However, more FSH is required as the ovarian reserve deteriorates with age.
What are the implications of a low ovarian reserve? The poor quality and low number of eggs directly translate to reduced fertility. While female infertility is caused by various factors such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), endometriosis, and weak digestion, low ovarian reserve is one of the main causes of infertility in older women. The good news is that acupuncture offers holistic treatment for low ovarian reserve.
What is the Role of Acupuncture?
The objective of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is to stimulate the body’s natural healing process. This involves identifying the underlying problem and treating it to restore reproductive health.
How Acupuncture May Help:
- Stimulation of acupoints helps increase circulation in the pelvic region, including the uterus and ovaries. Increased blood flow leads to improved growth of healthier eggs.
- Acupuncture has a calming effect that relieves stress and mental strain. Improved emotional/mental health can positively affect FSH production, which in turn improves fertility.
- Acupuncture aims to increase the amount of energy available and decrease cellular damage.
- Acupuncture and TCM follow an individualised treatment methodology that identifies specific patterns. This improves the outcome of the treatment.
- Acupuncture also supports and improves the effectiveness of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and other assisted reproductive technologies.
Scientific Research on Acupuncture for Low Ovarian Reserve
According to a study published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Research, acupuncture is an effective and safe treatment for low ovarian reserve. The findings show that acupuncture increases the number of eggs, basal endocrine levels, and the quality of embryos. The authors concluded that TCM treatment could “improve the clinical pregnancy rate in patients with decreased ovarian reserve during in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer cycles.”
As women age, their ovarian reserve naturally decreases, and with it their chance of conception. If you are having trouble conceiving and would like to find out more about how acupuncture may help you, contact us at Centre of Balance Hamilton. Our practitioners have a lot of experience treating fertility patients and will write an individual treatment plan for you.
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Zheng, Y., Feng, X., Mi, H., Yao, Y., Zhao, Y., Li, J., … & Deng, X. (2015). Effects of transcutaneous electrical acupoint stimulation on ovarian reserve of patients with diminished ovarian reserve in in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer cycles. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Research, 41(12), 1905-1911.