PCOS - I use acupuncture to try to stimulate ovulation and then regulate your cycle. This is often very successful on its own but nutrition plays a big part in regulating hormones and a session with our nutritionist is highly recommended. PCOS can affect overweight and underweight women so getting nutrition right is vital as is getting the right kind of exercise. If you are not taking Chlomid I also sometimes recommend herbal medicine. Over 4 cycles I would hope to see a shortening of cycle length and increased signs of regular ovulation. A fertility awareness teaching session is also extremely useful.
Endometriosis - this is known as 'blood stagnation' in Chinese medicine - acupuncture and Chinese herbs as well as nutrition are important in treating the symptoms of endometriosis. It is vital to keep body fat levels down as there are links between high oestrogen levels (stored in body fat) and endometriosis. Acupuncture has, in my experience, been amazingly successful in changing women's lives for the better by reducing or eliminating pain. There have been no clinical trials as yet to show whether or not acupuncture and/or herbs actually decrease the endometrial deposits but my patients regularly report a substantial decrease in pain.
Painful periods/heavy periods – this is similar to endometriosis (except without a diagnosis) and is often a problem with younger girls just starting their cycles. I encourage girls to come in as early as possible if they are having painful or irregular periods so that they can avoid using the pill for these symptoms. Specific acupuncture points are used on the abdomen as well as gentle heat, which relaxes muscle tissue and increases blood flow (therefore reducing clots and pain). Nutrition is also important for young girls as they are often concerned about eating too much at a time when they need optimum nourishment so I make sure I give sound, basic and non-scary nutritional advice.
Irregular periods - Acupuncture is also very useful for this and I concentrate on regulating each half of the cycle (pre-ovulation and pre-period). Conception coaching is important so that you can recognise fertile times if you are trying to conceive.
Luteal phase defect - is where the second half of the menstrual cycle (post ovulation) is shorter than 10 days which is believed to make implantation difficult or impossible. Again this is about balancing the hormones and regulating the menstrual cycle as well as dealing with stress (which can negatively affect the luteal phase of your cycle). Acupuncture, nutrition and herbs can all be used. I use acupuncture to support the thyroid ('Kidney Yang' in Chinese Medicine) which is sometimes 'sub-clinically' under-active and can affect this part of your cycle.
Lack of periods/Establishing Menstrual Cycle Post-Contraception - many of my patients find that once they discontinue the Pill or other hormonal contraception, their menstrual cycle either does not return or only returns sporadically. I can help to re-establish a cycle, helping you then to identify your fertile time and bring about healthy, pain-free periods.
Low AMH - It is important to understand that the AMH (Anti-Mullarian Hormone) was developed as a guide for doctors on the correct drug protocol and dosage for IVF. It's 'discovery' meant that the first round of IVF is no longer experimental - using AMH as a guideline the doctors already have an idea of a woman's expected response to the follicle-stimulating drugs used. Unfortunately most couples get very hung up on the figure they're given and sometimes the communication around AMH is purely medical without much background explanation, so causes a lot of upset. A low AMH does not mean that you cannot conceive, what it means is that your predicted response to stimulating drugs will be lower that 'normal' for your age.
It is also important to understand that different clinics, worldwide, use different grading systems for AMH and that AMH levels can change, though usually not dramatically. If your AHM is very low then you probably have more chance of conceiving naturally than through IVF unless there is a physical blockage or other major issues. I use my expertise to help boost your chances of a natural conception but if you are trying IVF then I also support you before, during and after in order to boost chances of success.
Uterine Fibroids & Cysts - These need to be assessed through laparoscopy or hysteroscopy to determine their exact nature, size and position. In terms of fertility you need to know whether they will impede conception and/or pregnancy. Acupuncture and heat used to 'move' or 'break down' the cysts (which are termed 'Damp' or 'Phlegm' in Chinese Medicine). We would always follow your consultant's guidance in these cases.