Low AMH and Acupuncture and Your Fertility
Let’s talk about that in a second. First off, I need to give you some information on Low AMH.
If you have been trying to get pregnant, you have probably heard of AMH (Anti-Mullerian Hormone. AMH can partially measure ovarian reserve.
If your AHM is normal, that can make you feel like you have plenty of time to get pregnant. Yay!
But, if it turns out that your AMH is low, it can feel pretty frustrating, daunting, or even scary. It can feel like time is running out, and THAT can feel hopeless and disempowering.
Just to back up – the AMH hormone is produced by the small follicles in a woman’s ovaries – it is used as a marker of oocyte (eggs before they fully form!) quantity.
A typical AMH level for a fertile woman is 1.0–4.0 ng/ml. This number decreases as you age, and the average AMH by 40 years old is 1.3 ng/ml.
If it is under 1.0 ng/ml, AMH is considered low and can indicate diminished ovarian reserve. That can mean not enough eggs to get pregnant.
Low AMH Means Fewer Eggs. Or does it?
A low AMH result by itself actually doesn’t mean very much. If you test women who are of a healthy ovarian age, you could have low AMH but also have normal ovarian health.
Your age, antral follicle count (AFC) and AMH all need to be combined and factored all together to determine your actual potential DOR (diminished ovarian reserve).
So if you are young and have been diagnosed with low AMH, there is a decent chance that you shouldn’t pay too much attention to it unless other tests have been run.
If you have low AMH and you are over 40 years old, there is a better indication that your ovarian reserve is starting to drop a bit.
But you may have more time than you think!
What Causes Low Ovarian Reserve?
Most of the time, the cause of diminished ovarian reserve is unknown. From a Western medical perspective, it is often related to simple age and genetic changes. Some specific things can cause or contribute to diminished ovarian reserve including:
- Previous ovarian surgery
- Exposure to toxic chemicals
- Chemotherapy or radiation.
Can You Do Anything About Diminished Ovarian Reserve?
From a Western medicine perspective, if you truly do have diminished ovarian reserve reproductive technology is your only solution. But what if I told you that Eastern medicine has long-possessed regimens that can improve a woman’s chance of getting pregnant, even when the ovarian reserve is low?
The practice of Chinese medicine and acupuncture has long been focused on improving QUALITY of life and health. It is very different than Western medicine, which has an amazing capacity to save your life in a pinch, but often struggles when it comes to quality of life. The unique focus of Chinese medicine can lend itself quite nicely to getting pregnant!
Research, Case Studies, and Success Stories
You may think, “So does working with an acupuncturist help? It seems an impossible feat.”
When explaining what can feel impossible, I always like to turn to research articles.
Here is a case study published by an acupuncturist who treated a case of very severe infertility. This patient had gone through many rounds of IVF that all failed. The patient got pregnant at 43, after treatment of six months of acupuncture and herbs.
Here is another research article that combines data from multiple studies, which shows a two-fold greater likelihood that a woman will get pregnant after taking Chinese herbal therapy appropriate for infertility for a four-month period. This was compared with Western medicine drugs alone.
One of our recent cases of treating very low AMH (below 0.6!) has involved a six-month treatment plan. The patient was struggling with short, 25-day cycles and ovulating too early. This doesn’t give the egg enough time to mature and increases the chance of a miscarriage in the event of a pregnancy.
She is roughly halfway through her program. She is now having 28-day (versus 35) cycles and ovulating on her own on Day 14 instead of Day 10. This is absolutely a huge change.
Her lowest basal body temperatures have also increased from a very low 97.2 degrees to 97.6 degrees. Temperatures under 97.5 consistently can indicate metabolic issues such as hypothyroidism that can make it difficult to get pregnant!
Using acupuncture for low AMH is looking good for this patient.
How We Track Success:
With all of our fertility patients, we have them track basal body temperature. This can reveal hidden issues that may be keeping you from getting pregnant.
Temperature being too low, too unstable, or not rising or falling at the correct times can call cause issues getting pregnant. Ovulating too early or late can also be seen. These issues all indicate specific problems we can work on together.
We also can visually SEE the basal body temperature chart change and improve as we work together. Being able to see progress can be very helpful for women who are feeling super stressed out trying to get pregnant!
Working with Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs for Diminished Ovarian Reserve
Using acupuncture for low AMH, and also using Chinese herbs are options that many might not consider.
Unlike fertility treatments like IUI, IFV, trigger shots, progesterone, etc., the side effects of acupuncture and Chinese herbs are very minimal. Typically, this just involves a little bit of soreness and some rare bruising. Most patients find acupuncture and herbs to be surprisingly comfortable and effective.
If you are working on your fertility, consider booking your new patient consult. It is free. If you are located in Richmond, Virginia, feel free to schedule your free acupuncture consultation.