Acupuncture for High FSH

Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) is one the key endocrine elements in the menstrual cycle. High FSH levels are generally said in western medicine to be indicators of the menopause and they occur when the pituitary gland, not receiving the correct feedback from the ovaries sends out more of this particular hormone. For patients wishing to embark on IVF, it is often a pre-requisite for the fertility clinics that the FSH reading is below a certain level. This tends to be around 11 or 12 but can vary depending on age and personal circumstance. Many women with high FSH levels are told that there is nothing that the clinics can do for them to help this.

Chinese medicine does not always view high FSH levels as indicative of the start of menopause. They can be, and this would be a diagnosis of deficiency of yin (which is all the fertile, nourishing energy required to make goods eggs). However there are other aspects of the menstrual cycle, such as the circulation of blood in the uterus or the emotional state of the patient through the link between hypothalamus and pituitary gland with the ovaries that can play a part. This is the reason why FSH levels can seemingly fluctuate so much.

Successful treatment with acupuncture and herbs can reduce FSH or stabilise levels to allow IVF treatment to commence or to increase the chances of a natural pregnancy.

At The London Acupuncture clinic the practitioners are specialists in this area and can often help reduce FSH levels. Daniel Elliott has published on this subject and a the copy of the article can be downloaded here. (Article reproduced by kind permission of the Journal of Chinese Medicine –

Case Study 1

S was looking to conceive but had a FSH level of 22. She had previously had her fallopian tubes tied and one ovary removed, so an IVF pregnancy would be the only possibility. She also suffered from endometriosis and was generally an anxious person.

From her Chinese diagnosis, which was of yin deficiency, blood stagnation and of unsettled emotions (heart qi stagnation), S had all of the causes of high FSH combining together for the reading. She received acupuncture and herbs for 6 months. In this time her period changed considerably with less pain and signs of clotting in the menstrual blood, there was signs of better ovulation in the that the cervical mucus went back to how it was when she was a teenager and emotionally she was less up and down. Her FSH reading went down to 12 at which time IVF could be recommenced. The case continues…