What does follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) do?
The picture below shows how the four main hormones that your body produces during your menstrual cycle interact with each other. FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) is produced by the pituitary gland to stimulate the growth and development of ovarian follicles. Under the influence of oestrogen, one of these follicles will grow large enough by ovulation time to be released as an egg that can be fertilised by sperm.
A high FSH often indicates that you have a low oestrogen level, which can impede the growth and development of your eggs and endometrium (uterine lining). Testing for high FSH should occur in the first 3 days of your cycle and is usually done to assess your ovarian reserve and egg quality.
I’ve heard that FSH levels don’t matter
It is true that there is no clear agreement in western medicine about whether FSH is a clear indicator of declining ovarian function. Some clinics regard a high FSH reading as the end of the road, while other clinics have the perspective that FSH levels are a measure of the current functioning of the ovaries. Yet other clinics suggest that FSH levels are frequently more misleading than they are helpful, and that the only real test of how a woman’s ovaries will respond to treatment is to put them through the full IVF stimulation process. They suggest that FSH levels are at best a rough indicator of what will happen.
We find that there is clear clinical evidence that FSH levels can vary month to month, and do indicate current level of functioning. Most importantly, we find that they can be influenced and improved by treatment.
What can I do about it?
Research as well as clinical experience has shown that both Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture can improve blood flow to the ovaries and uterus, regulate the ehormones FSH & LH (luteinising hormone), increase oestrogen and progesterone and normalise the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle.