What Should I Do About My High FSH Diagnosis?

Posted by Ariele Myers on

What Should I Do About My High FSH Diagnosis?

In my acupuncture fertility practice, I hear from at least one new patient each day who has received a diagnosis of high FSH from her reproductive endocrinologist. Many women come to me in tears, terrified that this diagnosis means that they will never be able to conceive, never be able to have a baby. For many women, a diagnosis of high FSH will mean she is not a candidate for IVF or she may be told she needs to use a donor egg to conceive.

Often, my first meeting with a woman who has been diagnosed with FSH is filled with reassurances that a high FSH reading is just a symptom, an indication that there is an imbalance in her body. That imbalance is often one that can absolutely be corrected, allowing for conception and a healthy pregnancy to occur.

FSH is the abbreviation for Follicle Stimulating Hormone, which is produced by the pituitary gland. Typically, FSH levels are checked at around day 2 or 3 of your cycle, when they should be relatively low. Under 6 is an ideal level. When you have healthy, juicy follicles, they “receive” the FSH sent by the pituitary gland, are “stimulated” as they should be and, in response to this stimulation, send a message to the ovary to release a form of estrogen, which is then recognized by the pituitary gland. In response, the pituitary gland “hears” that the follicles are appropriately stimulated, and shuts off its release of FSH.

When there are not enough healthy follicles to respond to the stimulation of FSH, this feedback loop doesn’t occur. Sufficient estrogen isn’t released, so the pituitary gland never receives the message to shut off output of FSH. The pituitary gland continues to release FSH, hoping for it to be received by a healthy follicle. This is what causes FSH levels to rise.

It may sound dire, but it is possible to improve the quality of your follicles, thereby lowering FSH. I’ve had patients with FSH levels above 50 reduce their levels to within healthy range. I’ve even had patients who were officially diagnosed with low ovarian reserve and early menopause who have improved the quality of their follicles. These women not only conceived, but also carried their pregnancies to full term.

I am here to assure you that with the appropriate commitment to improving the quality of your follicles, you can lower your FSH level significantly.

While it is important to add supplements and herbs that have been shown to help improve egg quality (see my FSH protocol below), this feels to me like improving egg quality from the outside in. I believe it is equally important, if not more-so, to work on improving egg quality from the inside out. This means learning how to nourish and nurture your eggs.

We can look at this nurturance at a very basic physical level. When you are stressed, your body releases the hormone cortisol. While cortisol has a detrimental effect on many aspects of your health, it also throws off the balance of your other hormones. Developing follicles need an even flow of hormones to grow healthily and steadily. When hormone levels are fluctuating as they do when cortisol levels are continually spiking, this steady development of follicles cannot happen. Based on this very basic physiological response, reducing our stress level or at least working on improving our response to stress is imperative.

In terms of the Wisdom of the Womb, nurturing and nourishing energy comes from the Yin aspect of our body. When we have ample and abundant Yin, we are able to nurture all of our body’s cells. I like to think of Yin as the energy that adds the juiciness to our wombs, our ovaries and our follicles. Nurturing our Yin energy is essential to improving the quality of our eggs.

Below, I’ve listed a few ways you can begin to nourish your Yin. You might notice that nourishing your Yin looks and feels a lot like nourishing yourself, your body, your soul. It may sound simple, but I’ve noticed that many of my patients feel disconnected from their eggs, their womb. It’s important to recognize that your eggs are a part of you. When you feel frazzled and burnt out, your eggs experience the same. When you nurture and nourish yourself, you are also nurturing and nourishing your eggs. 

* see more on the energetics of high FSH below

I created my High FSH bundle to provide you with everything you need to begin gently improving your follicular health by nurturing and supporting your body’s Yin energy.

My Fertile Mama Tea was developed to support the Follicular Phase of your cycle, with nourishing herbs that support both the Yin and the Blood. My Wise Woman Tea was developed for women who are experiencing peri-menopausal symptoms, so especially if you’ve been diagnosed with Low Ovarian Reserve, Early Onset Menopause or have an FSH level above 20, this would be the most beneficial tea for you. I also created Fertile Mama Bath Soak, to be used during the Follicular Phase of your cycle, and ideally while you’re listening to either my Yin Phase guided meditation or another form of meditation.

I also encourage you to learn more about the Yin Phase, or follicular phase of the cycle in terms of energy. The element related to this phase is the Water Element, which I discuss more in-depth here.

Here are some ways to nourish your eggs, but remember that doing whatever feeds and nourishes YOU is a great place to start.

  • Try to be asleep by 10pm each night
  • Go to bed on an empty stomach. Digesting takes a lot of work that could otherwise be going towards healing and resting.
  • Avoid electronics after 6pm
  • Try to be at home in the evening
  • Avoid rushing, stressing
  • Take a walk in nature every day
  • Meditate and/ or practice being in the moment
  • Hydrate. Drink lots of water and limit caffeine and alcohol. No soda or sugary drinks.
  • Sit by the ocean or relax in a bath.
  • Eat abundant amounts of healthy fats

It is also important to recognize that certain foods help to nourish your Yin. In addition to avoiding caffeine, alcohol, sugar and very spicy foods, consider adding the following Yin nourishing foods to your diet:

  • Bone broth
  • Good fats: avocado, coconut milk and oil, olive oil, butter
  • Dark meat chicken, duck
  • Egg
  • Asparagus
  • Seaweed/ kelp
  • Sweet potato
  • Black Sesame Seeds
  • Hydrate. Drink lots of water and limit caffeine and alcohol. No soda or sugary drinks.

My supplement and herbal recommendations to all women who have been diagnosed with high FSH or low ovarian reserve. When you order from my online partner, Fullscript, you’ll receive 10% off your order.

  • Health Concerns, CordySeng, 2 tablets twice daily or My Community Capsules
  • Health Concerns, Fertile Garden, 3 tablets 3x daily, first half of cycle or days 1-14
  • Health Concerns, Women’s Balance, 3 tablets 3x daily, 2nd half of cycle or days 15-menstruation
  • L-Arginine, 2000 mg twice daily
  • Ubiquinol, 100 mg twice daily
  • Magnesium Glycinate, 100 mg twice daily, 2nd half of cycle or days 15-menstruation

As far as the energetic component of high FSH, I have found that there is a very common theme across many women I've worked with, which is a type of "holding" pattern. We have both our own acquired patterns based on our own life and traumas, as well as the trauma of our ancestors, which we also hold in our wombs. I've worked with many women to release this trauma of our lineage. Whether its our own energetic trauma or that of our ancestors, I explore this concept more, as well as share meditations and explorations on clearing our wombs and opening our bodies to receive ... in my 12-week online course to optimize fertility, The Fertile Mama Fertility Fix.