It’s becoming more and more common for patients to ask me about treating low Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH). Let me begin by saying that over the years I have worked with many patients who have had low AMH levels and who have also successfully fallen pregnant naturally. It’s important to know that if you have low AMH levels, it does not mean that you can’t become pregnant and have a healthy baby. Whew! Now that we’ve established that, let’s talk a little about what AMH is and the role it plays in your reproductive health.
Anti-Mullerian Hormone, or AMH, is exactly what it sounds like—a hormone. It’s actually made in the reproductive organs of both men and women. The levels of this hormone throughout your lifetime provides information about your reproductive health. In unborn babies, AMH plays a role in the formation of their reproductive organs.
AMH may come into play if you’re trying to become pregnant, because higher levels of this hormone means that your ovaries that have a plentiful supply of eggs. AMH is measured through a simple blood test and if you’re thinking about or trying to become pregnant, it can provide helpful information regarding such things as:
- Your ovarian reserve, which is the number of eggs remaining in your ovaries. As you get older, the number of eggs decreases, and as that happens, your level of AMH also decreases.
- If you’re undergoing assisted fertility techniques, such as IVF, measuring your AMH may be used to help your doctor determine how well you might respond to fertility medications, and whether or not they may want to adjust your dosage or shift your IVF protocol.
- If you’re having problems getting pregnant, measuring AMH can provide information about whether or not you’ve gone through menopause, have certain conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, or help determine why you’ve stopped menstruating or have never started. However, low AMH does not necessarily mean that you are in perimenopause, it is simply used as another measuring tool to give your doctor information.
So, if you’re AMH levels are low, does that mean you can’t become pregnant? The answer is not necessarily. What it may mean is if you’re going through fertility treatments, you may need a higher dosage of medication to stimulate the release of eggs. If you’re trying to become pregnant naturally, the test just provides information as to ovarian reserve. The good news is that over the years that I’ve been working with women and fertility, I’ve found that acupuncture, Chinese medicine and other natural treatments can help women with low AMH levels become pregnant.
Many fertility doctors refer their patients to acupuncturists, and for a very good reason; it helps prepare your body for pregnancy, whether you’re going the assisted route or naturally. Acupuncture can help balance your reproductive hormones, regulate your menstrual cycles, promote ovulation and promote better blood flow to your reproductive organs. It can help prepare the lining of your uterus for implantation, and acupuncture is well-known for effectively treating stress, which is important while you’re trying to become pregnant.
In addition to acupuncture, there are many other tools to prepare your body for conception and pregnancy. I may add an herbal formula to your treatment plan, as herbs support and augment your acupuncture treatments. Acupuncturists are also highly trained in food therapy—using food as medicine, providing individualized dietary guidelines based on the principles of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).
A newer tool that I have found incredibly helpful in enhancing fertility is cold laser therapy. This is the use of low-level lasers and LED lights as a therapy to gently and painlessly penetrate deep into your tissues to promote healthy cellular changes. It works by increasing circulation to the treated area, decreasing inflammation and increasing cellular activity and the generation of news cells. Research has confirmed that cold laser therapy can help produce more viable eggs, especially in older women whose ovarian reserve may be declining. Cold laser therapy can help improve pregnancy outcomes for women who are undergoing assisted reproductive procedures or those who are trying to become pregnant naturally.
The bottom line is that AMH levels are just information about how best to support your fertility journey. And the good news is that there are some good, effective natural treatments that can help balance your reproductive hormones, support egg quality and prepare your uterus for implantation. If you’d like more information about AMH or have any questions about supporting your fertility with acupuncture and Chinese medicine, please give me a call!
Dr. Jeda Boughton is a Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Registered Acupuncturist in Vancouver. She is also a Registered Herbologist and the founder of BodaHealth.