As we age, fertility declines; it’s as simple as that. Medical literature is replete with references that indicate that a woman’s 35th birthday marks the decline of her fertility as she moves toward menopause. However, the age of this “marker” can vary from woman to woman.
Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH)
Reproductive endocrinologists and other infertility specialists have created specific criteria to measure declining reproductive ability as women age. There are several methods, but perhaps the most commonly accepted measure of age-related decline in fertility is to determine the level of FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) in the blood, early in the menstrual cycle.
As a woman ages, her eggs have a more difficult time maturing. Thus, the pituitary gland must create more and more FSH to stimulate follicle growth with each passing year. When physicians note this increase in FSH levels, they have a good indication that fertility is declining, and a measurement to quantify that decline. FSH levels are a primary test for a woman’s ability to conceive and carry a birth to term naturally, and by IVF if she plans to use her own eggs. Women with high FSH levels may be encouraged to adopt, or to use eggs from another woman (called donor eggs). If the body’s endocrine system could be adjusted to turn back time and proper FSH levels could be restored, a woman would presumably have a better chance for a full-term pregnancy, whether naturally or through assisted reproductive techniques.
Clear Passage Physical Therapy and High FSH
Successful reproductive activity and hormone levels depend on a medically recognized communication loop between the ovaries (in your pelvis) and the pituitary and hypothalamus glands (in the center of your head.)
Housed within a well-protected cavity of the sphenoid bone in the center of your skull, the pituitary gland is considered the “master gland” of female reproduction. While physicians recognize that a communication loop occurs among this gland, the hypothalamus that borders it and the ovaries, several feet away, the exact mechanism of that intricate communication loop remains a mystery. That loop, called the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis, is largely responsible for whether or not a woman can bring a fertilized egg to maturity, during the process of reproduction.
The physical therapists initially thought that they could not affect hormone levels because it was assumed that the communication loop had nothing to do with the biomechanics of bodily structures. However, they have come to question that assumption as more and more women treated with POF become pregnant and deliver healthy full-term babies, despite having very high or menopausal FSH levels before therapy.
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