Learn how to get pregnant with Chinese medicine, positive thinking & the mind-body connection from San Diego fertility acupuncture expert, Heidi Brockmyre.

The Yin and Yang of High FSH: 6 Chinese Medicine Imbalances that Explain Your High FSH

In Chinese medicine, the primary goal for restoring fertile health is to balance the yin and yang of the body.

The Yin of Fertility 

In respect to your fertility, the yin aspect includes blood, fluids and substance. Yin is the essence, the material that makes up your DNA, your follicles, and your uterine lining. Yin is nourishing and cooling. Yin moisturizes the body.

The follicular phase of your cycle is considered the yin phase, when substances are building.

The Yang of Fertility 

While the yang aspect includes function, warmth and energy. The yang energy stimulates ovulation, it sets into motion the cascade of events that follow ovulation and fertilization.  

The yang energy is what moves the substance and provides the intelligence to the substance to complete its biological function. It’s the yang energy the stimulates the division of cells in the embryo, while the fluid and substance of the cells are yin.

The luteal phase is considered the yang phase of your cycle, when the action of fertilization and ovulation happens.

The Yin and Yang of Aging 

Naturally as we age, our yin energy becomes depleted. This, of course, is slowed or accelerated based on several factors, like lifestyle, nutrition and genetics.  Burning the candle at both ends, sleep deprivation, poor nutrition and stress can more rapidly deplete your yin and yang.  

When your yin is depleted, it throws off the balance of your reproductive energy and in turn, also depletes the yang energy because the yang energy has to work that much harder to try to build more yin.

Over-exertion and exhaustion can also deplete the yang energy. Poor nutrition and certain foods do, as well.

When it comes to your fertility, you may lean toward a yin deficient imbalance if you have symptoms of dryness and heat.  

If you lean toward a yang deficient imbalance, you may show more symptoms of fatigue, coldness, and stagnation.

More often than not, there are elements of both, especially with fertility issues. 

6 fertile health imbalances that lead to high FSH according to Chinese Medicine:

1) Yin deficiency causing heat

Remember yin energy cools the body, so if it is deficient, the body is not properly cooled and heat will cause problems. In this case, it is the heat that overstimulates the release of FSH from the pituitary glands.

The excess FSH causes the ovaries to work harder, mature and release eggs too soon.  Some signs that you may be yin deficient include a shortened follicular phase, vaginal dryness, hot flashes, night sweats, and feeling flush.

2) Blood deficiency

Blood deficiency is a type of yin deficiency but affects just the blood rather than all the fluids of the body. Blood deficiency may not include signs of heat. 

This may be your pattern if you’re underweight, over-exercising or lacking enough nutrition. If you lose your appetite with stress or can’t digest well, or you’re vegetarian, you're more likely prone to this imbalance.

When there’s a lack of blood, and not just blood, but life-giving nutrient rich blood, then the ovaries aren’t receiving the nutrients they need to optimally function. The ovaries are sluggish and so the body tries to compensate by releasing more FSH.  

Signs of this imbalance include a thin lining, light periods, dry skin, hair and eyes, a pale complexion, and poor memory.

3.) Liver qi stagnation

Liver qi stagnation occurs when stress and emotions cause energy blocks. This may be you if you experience frequent anxiety, irritability, and/or  impatience. Your hormones may be out of whack. You may get get many PMS symptoms.

Stress and emotions block the flow of life force energy, or qi. It’s not that you shouldn’t have any emotions, but when they’re not released or dealt with in a healthy way, they cause problems.  The backed up energy also causes heat. It’s kind of like tires spinning in place. The heat in the system stimulates the pituitary gland to release excessive amounts of FSH.

4.) Liver fire

This imbalance is very similar to Liver qi stagnation, but taken to the next level. Heat is created by the blockage of energy flow and turns into fire.

With this pattern, you may experience the same symptoms, but more severely. You may also get headaches, feel hot especially in the top of your body and feel easily irritable. You may have excessive menstrual bleeding.  

Again, the heat overstimulates the pituitary gland causing excessive release of FSH.

5.) Blood stasis

Another imbalance that leads to high FSH is when the blood flow is blocked and becomes static.

When old blood is surrounding your ovaries, they can’t function well.  They’re not receiving the fresh nutrients and hormones they need. They become sluggish, which in turn signals the pituitary to release more FSH.  

With this imbalance, you’ll see a lot of clots in your menstrual flow and the color is dark. You may have fibroids, endometriosis or adhesions.  You may have painful periods or irregular spotting.

6.) Yang deficiency

Without enough yang energy, your ovaries aren’t functioning efficiently.  Because of a lack of warmth, the yin fluids can become excessive and turn into residual buildup, which also blocks the function of the ovaries. This may lead to ovarian cysts, as in PCOS.

Because the ovaries are less responsive, the pituitary releases more FSH.

Signs you may be yang deficient include feeling cold, delayed menstruation, elevated FSH, not ovulating at all, PCOS, and water retention.

How to regain your fertile health balance:

With improving fertility, the primary goal is to bring your yin and yang energy into balance by making sure both are sufficiently supported and working in harmony. The liver energy should flow smoothly and blood should circulate freely throughout your body and to your ovaries. 

Coming Soon! Total Fertility Wellness: A New Self-Acupressure Program 

I'm thrilled to share that I've been working a new program to support ALL areas of a woman's fertility health and wellness. It's my largest, most comprehensive program to date, based on years of research and amazing customer feedback. While the program isn't open yet, you can register here to be the first to hear about it's release:

Also, please feel free to share this link with anyone you think might benefit from fertility health and wellness! Thanks!

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With loving support, 

Do you feel like less of a woman?

Many women have expressed to me that they feel like they’re failing as a woman because they haven't conceived yet.

I understand these feelings. After all, as girls we were taught growing up that mothering is a woman’s role. We pretended to feed our dolls and rock them to sleep. My best friend and I envisioned our future as having children and getting married at 20 years old. That was what it meant to be a grown up woman in our eyes.

Undoubtedly, it’s not just how we were conditioned. Many of us instinctively feel the need to procreate.

Regardless of whether it’s nurture or nature that drives you, your identity as a woman may feel crushed if you haven’t yet conceived.

First, let me reassure you woman to woman that you are absolutely NO less of woman for not being a mother. Plenty of amazing women do not have kids.

Would you consider Mother Theresa any less of a mother because she didn’t have her own biological children? Do you think Oprah is less of a woman because she doesn’t have kids?

You certainly don’t need to be as accomplished as Mother Theresa and Oprah to earn your worth as a woman. You’re enough for simply being you in all your feminine glory, however it manifests itself.

I challenge you to appreciate your unique expression as a woman. Maybe it’s in being creative, nurturing others, showcasing beauty, enjoying physical activity or all of the above.

You deserve to enjoy your womanhood in this moment independent of whether you’ve yet become a mother or ever will by choice or otherwise. 

In loving support,

Is infertility as traumatic as cancer?

Research has proven that the stress levels of women with infertility are the same as women who’ve been diagnosed with cancer, AIDS or heart disease.

Infertility is stressful. Period.

If only it were as simple as, “Just relax and let it happen.”

Yeah, right.

And the kicker is, this same research proves that stress makes it harder to conceive.

In a study published online in the journal Fertility and Sterility, the scientists reported that women who stopped using contraceptives took longer to become pregnant if they had high saliva levels of the enzyme alpha-amylase — a biological indicator of stress.

In fact, women with the highest concentrations of alpha-amylase were 12 percent less likely to become pregnant each month than those with the lowest levels.

Sounds like the makings of a vicious cycle to me.

The longer it takes to get pregnant, the more stressed you get. The more stressed out you get, the longer it takes to get pregnant.

So how do you break this nasty cycle?

The researchers suggest that finding ways to reduce or manage stress may be a low-tech solution for some infertile couples.

Chinese medicine doctors have been saying this for thousands of years.

You see, in Chinese medicine we understand how stress affects the body. We call it liver qi stagnation. We know that it directly affects blood flow to the reproductive organs, hormone balance, and drains your life force energy needed to make babies.

We know that using mind-body tools is the key to offsetting the effects of stress on your health.

Dr. Buck Louis, the study’s lead author, said, “Stress is the one most consistent factor that shows an effect on how long it takes to get pregnant, of all the lifestyle factors studied to date.”

So if you’re NOT practicing stress-management tools, like meditation, exercise, journaling, acupressure, and acupuncture etc., it NEEDs to be part of your program.

Most women that walk through my clinic doors are Type A personalities. Sound familiar?

Do you get stressed out when things are out of your control? Or when you can’t DO something to guarantee immediate pregnancy success?

All the more reason to follow a stress-management program, so that you can harness that need to take action without getting yourself more stressed out.

Dr. Sarah Berga, head of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Emory University who has studied the effects of stress management on women who aren’t ovulating,  said, “The surprising finding was that even low levels of stress can have an impact on conception.”

In other words, you don’t need to be a total head case for stress to affect your fertility. You just need to be a normal woman with normal concerns and anxieties over why it’s taking longer than she hoped to get pregnant.

If that’s you, then please seek out stress-management solutions.

(If you’re interested, you can read the study here, or the article Psychology Today summary here and the NY Times summary here.)

Here's to breaking the vicious cycle, 

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