Betty was 45 and had not had a period for 4 months. Her GP diagnosed her with perimenopause with classic symptoms of hot flushes and sleeping problems. She had a high FSH of 45, high LH of 30 and low oestradiol at 81. After 3 months of treatment, she showed, at mid-cycle, FSH of 8.5, LH of 53.8 and oestradiol of 1005, all at abnormal levels.
“My hot flushes are all gone. My periods have come back twice since I saw you 3 months ago.”
Dina came to us with irregular periods and displayed perimenopausal hormone levels and symptoms. After only one month of treatment, she told us this.
“My hot flushes are gone, no more bloated stomach, and my sex drive increased.”
Lize is from London. Her hormones, before she came to us, showed she was perimenopausal: FSH at 30, LH at 14.9, AMH less than 1. She retested in August, and her FSH was 12.5, LH 7.5 and AMH 2.2. This testimonial also appeared on her Google review.
“I was astounded!!!!! If anyone had told me that this was possible, I would have been sceptical: I am 46 years old, and I am encouraged to try naturally! Thank you so much TCM for your kindness and what you do every day! My hope is that I can walk into the clinic in the not-too-distant future with my bundle of joy! Forever grateful.”
Caroline was 41 and had irregular periods. Her FSH was 24, LH was 12.6, oestradiol was 77 and AMH lower than 0.2. She was diagnosed as near menopausal and advised to use donor eggs for IVF. After 3 months, she retested and found FSH at 7, LH of 3.3, oestradiol at 77 and AMH at 1.8. A subsequent antral follicle scan found a follicle.
“I do not believe this…in shock!”
Perimenopause begins some years before menopause, when the ovaries gradually begin to make less oestrogen. In the last 1–2 years, the drop in oestrogen speeds up, and many women have menopausal symptoms. Perimenopause usually starts in a woman’s 40s, but can start in her 30s or earlier. It lasts 4 years on average, but can range from a few months or continue for 10 years. It ends when a woman doesn’t have a period for 12 months, the technical definition of menopause.
Doctors often make the diagnosis from your symptoms:
Lower sex drive
Discomfort during sex
Urine leakage when coughing or sneezing
Urgent need to urinate more frequently
If you have spotting between periods or during sex, or your cycles are changing, or are very heavy, you should see a doctor to rule out any other causes.
Simple blood tests to check hormone levels, like our female fertility profile and AMH tests, can help diagnose (We can help you to arrange them with results coming out the next day). They are also the standard hormone tests to assess your chances of pregnancy, as used by some IVF clinics.
You can get pregnant if you’re perimenopausal, but with difficulty.
Thousands of eggs still remain in the ovaries during the perimenopausal period as they are still well-endowed with follicles while these endocrinal changes take place. It is because the eggs’ DNA becomes less stable with age that women’s eggs are usually “healthier” when she is younger.
More importantly, perhaps, is that our eggs are less responsive from hormonal fluctuations, not age, per se. As women approach middle age, the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis — the invisible network of hormonal relationships governing reproductive status — becomes less stable. The body pays more attention maintaining other systems than there productive. As a result, the ovaries starve and become less predictable; the eggs within them cease to respond as well to follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) as before.
However, the ovaries are still well-endowed with follicles and eggs do not have an expiry date — they respond to their surroundings, just as the rest of our bodily systems do. A woman’s ovaries and eggs respond negatively to poor diet, drugs, toxins and stress hormones, and positively to a healthy diet and lifestyle.
Our approach focusses on using natural herbal remedies and acupuncture to strengthen the reproductive system and general health, to improve the endocrine system and functions. We do not prescribe any synthetic hormones. There are no known adverse side effects.
Patients bring us their test results and medical record. We do a 40 minutes long first consultation, in which we do non-invasive and pain-free Chinese medical diagnostic procedures, in order to understand your particular condition and circumstances thoroughly.
Our specialist prescribes a unique herbal formula, usually consisting of around 20 kinds of herbs, from which you will make drinks and consume twice a day for 18 days in a month.
A month after the first consultation, you will be done with the first round of herbal remedy. We do a second consultation, lasting 30 minutes, doing another diagnostic procedure to see how well you’ve responded to the treatment. Another prescription will be written.
This monthly cycle will repeat 3 or 4 times before you are asked to have another AMH test carried out. Most patients see significant improvements, with increased AMH and lowering FSH. They also report their periods are now much more regular, which increases the chance of a successful IVF cycle (for instance, a higher dosage of stimulating hormone can be used). They then pursue a number of options, including working with us for longer to achieve natural pregnancy, or combining our treatment with IVF — we work some of the best IVF clinicians, who can offer the best of both worlds to our patients.
The fees come to about £350–400 a month, all inclusive.
Once a month. Most patients come from 3 to 9 months. Some combine our treatment with further IVF cycles.
A traditional Chinese medical consultation involves the following steps.
The practitioner may scrutinise your complexion, eyes, tongue, and movements to gain insight into how your organs are functioning. The tongue is a particularly important source of information, and its colour, body, coating, and moisture will all be taken into account.
The practitioner assesses the patient’s energy and general condition by taking into account your body heat, odour, skin sensitivity, and uses other senses to gain an insight into the your condition.
To gain a full picture, the practitioner will ask detailed questions about your complaint and your medical history. They will want to find out whether your problems vary at all according to the time of year and your diet, feelings or emotions.
This can provide a highly sensitive and detailed picture of your general health. The practitioner will take a number of different ‘pulses’ using three fingers put on the wrist of each hand of the patient. This enables him to gain further information about the quality and functioning of the five major organs. The practitioner will take account of your general health and strength, as well as all of your symptoms, whether they seem to you to be connected or not. This will be the basis for deciding on the best treatment.
Monthly consultations are required to gauge your progress. The prescriptions will be devised accordingly — for treating a changing condition, a fixed single herb or formula is unlikely to be effective over time.
Patients want to know how long they need to see us for. We say after 3 months of treatment, we will review progress, retesting hormones and check subjective experience, such as period cycle regularity and sexual interest. If they are at normal levels, we discharge the patients.
If they are better but still need further improvement, patients may need second course of treatment at the same or less intensity.
Typically, women see us for 3 courses of treatment, ie 9 months total.
The point is that the way we treat patients means they should not rely on our treatment for too long. Their improved health and function should stay with them if they look after their health.