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Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) levels are routinely tested during biomedical investigations into female fertility. An appropriately low FSH level is frequently required by fertility clinics as an entry requirement for women wishing to receive assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatment such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF). This article presents the diagnosis and treatment of elevated FSH levels according to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), and puts forward the view that high FSH levels do not necessarily mean that a woman is approaching menopause, but rather simply indicate the current status of ovarian functioning at the time of the test. The author asserts that with the appropriate treatment using acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, the proper functioning of the ovaries and anterior pituitary gland - in cases where they have been pathologically affected - can be restored. This process does not, however, necessarily imply that treatment has reversed the aging process or affected the quality of eggs produced. The theory presented is illustrated with three case histories from the author’s own clinical practice.
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