Improve FSH, Fertility and Hormone Levels Naturally
High FSH is not a cause of infertility. Rather, it is an indicator of subfertility or infertility – often associated with advanced reproductive age. At each menstrual cycle, the ovary (in the pelvis) signals the pituitary (in the cranium) to release follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) to help follicles mature into eggs suitable for implantation. As a woman ages, her ovary requires more FSH to produce these eggs. FSH levels of 9.9 mIU/ml or higher on days 2-5 of the menstrual cycle generally indicate subfertility or infertility, either due to loss of ovarian function, or because menopause has occurred. Read more about FSH at NIH.gov.
In a landmark study of 1392 infertile women treated at Clear Passage clinics over 10 years, 39% of women diagnosed infertile with high FSH became pregnant. Of these, 90% had natural pregnancies and 10% became pregnant via IVF (see our Pre-IVF page for more details if you plan to undergo IVF). Many physicians consider our success in this area remarkable, because no other option in medicine exists to help these women have the child of their dreams.
Premature Ovarian Failure (POF)
POF, a cessation of the ovary’s normal function, has been estimated to occur in one in every 100 women between the ages of 30 and 39. (Woad et al., 2006) Some women with POF stop menstruating, while others may have short cycles with early or no ovulation. Some women’s periods stop for several months and they may experience other menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes or decreased lubrication. Symptoms may occur over one to two months or may set in gradually over several years.
We have had limited success treating this condition. We are willing to treat women diagnosed with POF, but at this time we have limited data on our success rates treating this population.
When we first began treating infertile women with our manual therapy, the Wurn Technique®, we discovered that we could help the mechanics of sperm meeting egg by decreasing the ‘mechanical’ blocks to that process (adhesions, blocked fallopian tubes, tightness or stenosis at the cervix, endometriosis).
We did not think we could treat hormonal conditions like high FSH, PCOS and premature ovarian failure “old eggs”. For this reason, we regularly turned down applicants diagnosed with hormonal factors but no mechanical problems.
Our patients helped us realize that we could assist more conditions than we had originally thought when a woman diagnosed “menopausal” (we were treating her painful adhesions) became pregnant naturally right after therapy. This woman had been refused IVF the three months prior to coming to us, due to very high FSH levels. Yet, she became pregnant naturally the first month after a five-day course of therapy at Clear Passage; she had a successful natural pregnancy and live birth. Then, she became pregnant naturally again two years later and delivered her second child. Subsequent clinical trials revealed that this was not a fluke. In one study, 15 of 16 women with high FSH we then treated became pregnant or showed FSH improvement (most quite significant). In the much larger study (Rice et al., 2015), 39% (48/122) of patients with high FSH levels became pregnant after treatment. Of these, 43 had natural pregnancies, and 5 were by IVF. it is quite promising to see these results in a population of women who were considered hormonally infertile prior to therapy, and very good news for women approaching menopause who want to conceive.
As physical therapists, our job is to look at the physical mechanisms that confront us. Clear Passage uses a “whole body approach” that addresses a patient’s problem area in relation to its neighboring structures. We initially thought that we could not change hormone levels because we assumed that the communication loop between ovary and pituitary was blood-born and, thus, out of our scope of expertise. Once again, our patients and medical advisors helped us find a new path to success.
We continue to see success in this area, as described above and documented in peer-reviewed medical literature. We believe this success is due to our work at the major attachments of the ovaries and dural tissues that surround the pituitary gland. The dura is a fascial sweater that surrounds the spinal cord, from the bottom of the tailbone at the coccyx to the base of the skull. From there, it enters the skull, then surrounds the brain and all the tissues within it. This includes the sphenoid bone, which houses the pituitary-hypothalamus. Sheaths of the dura also surround and infuse with the pituitary itself.
We have come to believe that the tissues within the skull (including the pituitary) react to adhesive pulls similarly to other tissues in the body. Housed within a well-protected cavity of the sphenoid bone in the center of the skull, the pituitary is considered the “master gland” of female reproduction. Successful reproductive activity and hormone levels depend on a medically-recognized communication loop between the ovaries (in the pelvis) and the pituitary and hypothalamus glands (in the center of the head). However, the exact mechanism of that intricate communication loop remains a mystery. The loop, called the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis, is largely responsible for whether or not a woman can create an egg capable of conception. We find that when we treat the dura and its attachments all the way into the brain, we often witness dramatic improvements in FSH levels – and many natural, full-term pregnancies in women diagnosed hormonally infertile.
Following the discovery described above, at the urging of research gynecologist Richard King, M.D., we began treating women with diagnoses of high FSH. We gathered data by tracking changes in FSH levels for these women before and after therapy. These pilot studies returned good success rates, with significant decreases in FSH levels (or pregnancies) in well over 80% of the pilot studies we conducted. (Wurn et al., 2009) In the pilot studies, we saw natural pregnancies in older women including one of whom came to us at age 44 with an FSH of 33.
Because our results in hormonal conditions have been so positive, we now accept women with hormonal infertility, and we actively encourage women with diagnoses that include PCOS, and high FSH levels to attend therapy – soon, in the case of high FSH. We suggest you call to learn about our most current success rates, and to help determine whether this therapy may help you.
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By Dr. Richard King, Medical Doctor, Senior Research Advisor, Clear Passage Physical Therapy - Gainesville, Florida Area