If you’re trying to become pregnant or plan to be soon, your eggs are an important topic. The truth is that the number of eggs you have is continuously declining. You were born with about 2 million eggs, which is as many as you’ll ever have. At puberty, you had about 40,000 eggs. As you approach the age of 40, your numbers will decrease to about 25,000, and at menopause, most women are down to about 1,000 eggs.
These declining numbers are a part of your biological clock ticking. However, when your clock ticks faster than it should, it can cause problems if you are trying to become pregnant. This is the case with Diminished Ovarian Reserve and Premature Ovarian Failure, in which the quantity or quality of your eggs have decreased enough to cause fertility problems.
While often confused with each other, Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR) and Premature Ovarian Failure (POF) are different conditions. Premature Ovarian Failure is the cessation of ovarian function and is often called premature menopause. It occurs in women before the age of 40. To be diagnosed with POF, you must have had no periods for at least four months, have low blood levels of the hormone estradiol, and high levels of FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone). With POF, you are likely to have symptoms associated with menopause, such as hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, vaginal dryness, and decreased libido.
Women with Diminished Ovarian Reserve tend to be in their late 30’s, but it can also occur in younger women. It is not complete ovarian failure, but described as declining quality and quantity of eggs. DOR is frequently a result of advancing age, but may have other causes. Beyond your age, DOR may be caused by chemotherapy or radiation, damage from surgery, autoimmune illness, hypothalamic issues, or it may be genetic. For the most part, the only symptom you may notice with DOR is a slightly shorter or changed menstrual cycle.
The Fertility Issue
Both Diminished Ovarian Reserve and Premature Ovarian Failure can cause fertility problems. Women with Diminished Ovarian Reserve can conceive, but their chances of success are lower than women with normal egg quality and quantity, whether through natural conception or assisted reproductive treatments. In addition, for women with Premature Ovarian Failure, it is fairly common to have phases of ovarian failure followed by times of ovarian function, during which they may become pregnant. And this is where BodaHealth can help.
Our acupuncture practitioners are highly trained in treating women with fertility issues, and research confirms that acupuncture is a good idea. A number of studies have determined that acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can affect your pituitary and hypothalamus glands to restore ovulation, decrease elevated FSH, boost estrogen, and regulate LH (Luteinizing Hormone).
Other research has documented that acupuncture increases blood flow to your reproductive organs to help regulate your cycle and improve the quality of your eggs. An analysis of several studies have concluded that acupuncture is actually superior to hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in effectiveness, as it decreases FSH, increases estradiol, and can lead to the resumption of menses.
How We Can Help You
If you have been diagnosed with or suspect that you have Diminished Ovarian Reserve or Premature Ovarian Failure, BodaHealth has a number of treatment strategies to help you. We understand that your highest priority is to restore ovarian function, improve the quality of your eggs, and ultimately to become pregnant. Here’s how we can help:
- At BodaHealth, women’s health and fertility are areas of special interest and experience. Our practitioners have comprehensive post-graduate training in obstetrics, and are dedicated to providing you the best care possible.
- Our practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine will work with you to develop a plan based on your unique health and fertility history. They will combine acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, dietary therapy, and stress relief with a goal of balancing hormones, boosting ovarian function, and increasing the quality of your eggs. At each treatment, they will assess your progress, and refine their treatments to your needs.
- The naturopathic doctors on our staff are able to assess your hormonal status through blood, urine, and saliva testing. Their goal is to uncover any underlying issues for your DOR or POF. If necessary, they are able to prescribe hormones to correct any imbalances that may be contributing to your infertility. In addition, they can assess your diet, lifestyle, or environmental factors. They are able to prescribe nutritional or herbal supplements, dietary changes, or lifestyle strategies to support your fertility and ovarian health.
- At BodaHealth, we have a long history of working with women who are undergoing assistive reproductive treatments, such as IVF. Our goal is to support those treatments to enhance your chances of success.
- We are committed to providing you with the best care possible throughout your pregnancy journey. Because there is an increased risk for miscarriage in women with DOR and POF, once you become pregnant, our focus is on decreasing miscarriage risk and supporting you throughout your entire pregnancy.
- At BodaHealth, our practitioners and staff recognize that dealing with fertility issues is stressful. Our treatments are meant to be relaxing, and our staff is caring and compassionate. We want you to feel like BodaHealth is your safe and happy place!
If you’ve been diagnosed with Premature Ovarian Failure or Diminished Ovarian Reserve, infertility isn’t necessarily a foregone conclusion. Contact us to find out how we can help you.