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Observational Study
. 2016 Oct;34(5):386-391.
doi: 10.1136/acupmed-2015-011014. Epub 2016 May 13.

Electroacupuncture for Reproductive Hormone Levels in Patients With Diminished Ovarian Reserve: A Prospective Observational Study

Free PMC article
Observational Study

Electroacupuncture for Reproductive Hormone Levels in Patients With Diminished Ovarian Reserve: A Prospective Observational Study

Yang Wang et al. Acupunct Med. .
Free PMC article


Background: Effective methods for the treatment of reproductive dysfunction are limited. Previous studies have reported that acupuncture can modulate female hormone levels, improve menstrual disorders, alleviate depression and improve pregnancy rates. However, studies of acupuncture for diminished ovarian reserve (DOR) are lacking.

Objective: To carry out a prospective observational study aimed at assessing the effect of EA on the reproductive hormone levels of patients with DOR seeking fertility support and consider its safety.

Methods: Eligible patients with DOR received EA for 12 weeks: five times a week for 4 weeks followed by three times a week for 8 weeks. The primary outcome was the change in mean follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) level at week 12. Mean luteinising hormone (LH) and serum oestradiol (E2) levels, FSH/LH ratios and symptom scale scores were simultaneously observed.

Results: Twenty-one patients with DOR were included in the final analysis. Mean FSH levels fell from 19.33±9.47 mIU/mL at baseline to 10.58±6.34 mIU/mL at week 12 and 11.25±6.68 mIU/mL at week 24. Change in mean FSH from baseline was -8.75±11.13 mIU/mL at week 12 (p=0.002) and -8.08±9.56 mIU/mL at week 24 (p=0.001). Mean E2 and LH levels, FSH/LH ratios and irritability scores were improved at weeks 12 and/or 24. Approximately 30% patients reported subjective increases in menstrual volume after treatment.

Conclusions: EA may modulate reproductive hormone levels and the effects seem to persist for at least 12 weeks after treatment with no significant side effects. EA may improve the ovarian reserve of patients with DOR, though further research is needed.

Trial registration number: NCT02229604; Results.


Conflict of interest statement

Conflicts of Interest: None declared.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Flow chart of the study.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Serial measurements of serum follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinising hormone (LH) obtained by chemiluminescent microparticle immunoassay, over 24 weeks in 21 women with diminished ovarian reserve receiving a 12-week course of EA treatment. **p<0.01 (compared with baseline).

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    1. Levi AJ, Raynault MF, Bergh PA, et al. Reproductive outcome in patients with diminished ovarian reserve. Fertil Steril 2001;76:666–9. 10.1016/S0015-0282(01)02017-9 - DOI - PubMed
    1. Scott RT Jr, Hofmann GE. Prognostic assessment of ovarian reserve. Fertil Steril 1995;63:1–11. - PubMed
    1. Pal L, Beviacqua K, Zeitlian G, et al. Implications of diminished ovarian reserve (DOR) extend well beyond reproductive concerns. Menopause 2008;15:1086–94. 10.1097/gme.0b013e3181728467 - DOI - PubMed
    1. Lixia C. The clinical and empirical research on the effect of the Zi Gui Huo Xue Yi Jing recipe on the peri-POF period. Guangzhou: Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, 2007.
    1. Lixia C, Yanhua L, Xiaoyun L, et al. Influence of Jianpi Yishen method on the ovarian reserve. Chin J Clin Res 2013;26:73–4.

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