Ovulatory Problems

Ovarian function and follicle development

The main function of the ovaries is to develop follicles containing eggs and to mature one of these follicles into a dominant follicle, which will go on to become the ovulatory follicle. This function is dependent upon (a) the ovarian reserve of eggs and the quality (age) of these eggs and (b) by a healthy balance of hormones (c) by healthy nourishment of the developing follicle, and (d) by the ovarian blood supply. Although the DNA of the eggs cannot be changed, the development of the follicles can be influenced by Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture, by improving the nourishment of the follicles, balancing hormones and promoting ovarian blood supply. Good arterial blood supply is needed to transport FSH from the pituitary gland to stimulate the ovarian response and promote and nourish the growth of the follicles. Scientific research has shown the efficacy of Chinese herbal medicine at improving ovarian function and increasing the number, and particularly the size of the follicles.

Western medicine tends to use a drug called Clomid to treat ovulatory dysfunction, but it has side effects, such as hot flushes, irritability, abdominal distension, headaches, breast tenderness and nausea, and should not be taken for an extended period. Research has shown that Chinese medicine can be equally effective at treating ovulatory dysfunction as biomedicine. Chinese medicine can also be used in combination with Clomid, to alleviate the side effects. The main disadvantage of Clomid is that it tends to thin the lining of the uterus, so increasing the likelihood of miscarriage. Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture can help to counteract this effect, maintain the thickness of the endometrium and help prevent miscarriage.