What do patients say about us?
’… I do not believe this… in shock!’ June 2017
Caroline is 41 coming up to 42. She has irregular periods. In March 2017, her FSH was 24, LH 12.6, Oestradial 77 and AMH<0.2. She has diagnosed as near menopausal and she was advised to go for donor eggs through IVF. She came to us and 3 months later, she retested her hormones and found that Her FSH is 7, LH 3.3, Oestradial 488 and AMH 1.8.Subsequent Antral Follicle scan found a follicle. At the time of writing, she has decided to see if an egg can be retrieved and if so, to have it frozen for insurance purposes and go for natural pregnancy afterwards.
‘I am very pleased with my results’
Isha from London 2016.
Isha’s was aged 31 when she came to us in August 2016. Her AMH was 0.6 and her FSH was 18. Her doctor said she was probably perimenopausal. After receiving treatment, she had a re-test in January 2017. Her AMH increased to 3.8 and FSH lowered to 7.5.
‘I could not believe my AMH test result, It has gone up more than 3 times and my FSH went down more than half. I am very pleased with the treatment.’
Patricia was 35, she came to us in April 2015 with AMH of 0.7, her AMH went up to 2.3 in July 2015.
What is perimenopause?
Perimenopause begins some years before menopause. It’s the time when the ovaries gradually begin to make less oestrogen. It usually starts in a woman’s 40s, but can start in her 30s or even earlier. Perimenopause lasts up until menopause, the point when the ovaries stop releasing eggs. In the last one to two years of perimenopause, this drop in oestrogen speeds up. At this stage, many women have menopause symptoms.
How do I know I have Perimenopause?
Often your doctor can make the diagnosis of perimenopause based on your symptoms. Women in perimenopause have at least some these symptoms:
- Hot flashes
- Breast tenderness
- Lower sex drive
- Irregular periods
- Vaginal dryness
- Discomfort during sex
- Urine leakage when coughing or sneezing
- An urgent need to urinate more frequently)
- Mood swings
- Trouble sleeping
Some simple blood tests to check hormone levels may also help. The standard hormone tests are female infertility profile test and AMH test. These are also standard hormone tests to assess your chances of pregnancy, whether if you are thinking about natural pregnancy or IVF. Some IVF clinics use these to screen patients before they accept them. We can help arrange them quickly and you will have the results the next day.
Are my Perimenopausal symptoms normal or something to be concerned about?
Irregular periods are common and normal during perimenopause. But other conditions can cause changes in menstrual bleeding. If any of the following situations apply to you, see a doctor to rule out other causes:
- Your periods are very heavy, or they have blood clots.
- Your periods last several days longer than usual.
- You spot between periods.
- You have spotting after sex.
- Your periods happen closer together.
Causes of abnormal bleeding include hormone problems, birth control pills, pregnancy, fibroids, blood clotting or, rarely, cancer.
How long does Perimenopause last?
The average length of perimenopause is 4 years, but for some women this stage may last only a few months or continue for 10 years. Perimenopause ends when a woman has gone 12 months without having her period, which is the technical definition of menopause.
Can I get Pregnant if I am Perimenopausal?
Yes, you can, but with difficulty. The positive is that despite a decline in fertility during the perimenopause stage, you can still become pregnant and this is why.
Perimenopasue and Eggs Formation
We all know that our ovaries and the million of eggs residing in them are present before we are born. The number of eggs dwindles to hundreds of thousands by the time we reach puberty. What is less well known and it is not often told by doctors is that in the perimenopausal period (defined as the period up to ten years or so before menstruation stops), there are still thousands of eggs remaining in the ovaries. In other words, the ovaries at this stage are still well endowed with follicles while these endocrinal changes are taking place. Why is it, then, that our fertility gets lower and the chance of defective eggs higher as we age?
The Impact of Perimenopause on Eggs Formation and Quality
One reason is that the DNA contained within our eggs becomes less table as we get older, and a women’s eggs are usually “healthier” when she is in her thirties than when she is forty.
More importantly perhaps, what makes our eggs less responsive is not age per se but the hormonal fluctuations. The brain’s hormone centre – the hypothalamus controls levels of GnRH, which in turn triggers the pituitary to release FSH, which in turn stimulates our ovaries to develop the follicles, ripen the eggs, release the eggs, produce progesterone and so on. As we approach middle age, the HPO AXIS (Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Ovarian axis) – the invisible network of hormonal relationships governing our reproductive status has now become less stable. The body pays more attention to maintaining other systems and less attention to the reproductive system. As a result, the ovaries starve and become less predictable. The eggs contained within them cease to respond as well to FSH as before.
If I still want to get pregnant, what should I do?
As we discussed earlier, contrary to popular opinions, the ovaries at this stage are still well endowed with follicles while these endocrinal changes are taking place. What is more, a woman’s eggs do not have an expired date. They respond to the their surroundings just as the rest of our bodily systems do. Our ovaries and eggs respond negatively to poor diet, drugs, toxins and stress hormones and positively to a health diet and lifestyle.
If goes without saying that you can go some way to improve your chances by enhancing your general well being. You may wish to do more exercise, eat healthily on the one hand and stop smoking, drink less on the other. Some people find some vitamins or minerals helpful. Others may find psychological help such as counseling or mindfulness exercise useful. Some women however would like to seek treatment.
How do we treat women with perimenopause who want to get pregnant?
Our approach is to use natural herbal remedy and acupuncture to strengthen and regulate the reproductive system. In particular, the focus is to improve the endocrine system and functions. We target the correction of the entire follicle growth and oocyte development process. The visible outcomes are:
- hormonal balance as testified by hormone re-tests – see AMH test results and FSH test results,
- regular periods and better egg quality as testified by patients who went for IVFs and have their eggs collected by IVF consultant – see testimonials.
- last but not least, it meant that for many women, they do not need to go for IVFs as once the period is regulated, ovulation is likely to occur where natural pregnancy will be the result.
There is no known adverse side effects and the condition once treated successfully is unlikely to come back.
What do you need to do?
Patients come to us with their most recent AMH test result and other results such as scan (hormone test results are considered up to date if they are less than 3 months old). The first consultation will last for an hour where detailed but non-invasive and pain-free Chinese medical diagnostic procedures will be carried out. This ensures that we understand your particular condition and circumstances thoroughly. This in-depth understanding will allow our specialist to prescribe a unique herbal formula, which usually consists of around 20 kinds of herbs tailored made for you only. You will be asked to make drinks out of them and consume them twice a day for 18 days in a month.
A month after the first consultation, you would have finished the herbal remedy. You come back again for a second consultation, which will last for 30 minutes. Again, a diagnostic procedure will be carried out to see how well you respond to the treatment. Another unique herbal prescription will be formulated for your improved condition. This monthly cycle will repeat 3 to 4 times before you are asked to have another AMH test carried out. Most patients see significant improvements. They also report their periods are now much more regular.
Where patients would like to combine us with IVF, a regular period will increase the chances of IVF e.g. higher dosage of stimulating hormone can be used.
How do we know we are successful in treating Perimenopasue Perimenopause is associated with low AMH and high FSH. We have an excellent track record of reducing AMH and FSH over time. See AMH and FSH results here.
We also have an excellent track record in regulating period using natural herbs. To see our track record, pleased click here. Most patients see their periods becoming regular within a few months.
In cases where patients go for IVF after treatment with us, consultants reported to patients that they have harvested grade A eggs during egg collection ready for IVF.
Last but not least, patients subjectively feel that many of their symptoms have gone away and they feel much better.
How much are the fees?
The all-inclusive fees are in the region of £350 per month. The fees include consultation fee, herbal remedies in the form of dry herbs and postage using tracking post.
How often do I need to come?
Once a month. Most patients come to us for 3 months to 9 months (Each phase of our treatment will last for 3 months). Some combine our treatment with IVF (with one or two phases of treatment to improve hormones prior to IVF).