What is Diminished Ovarian Reserve?
So what is ovarian reserve? What are AMH and your antral follicle count, and what affect can these have on your fertility?
Ovarian Reserve: Your Body’s “Fertility Clock.”
Over time, so long as your cycles continue, the amount of healthy eggs “in reserve” will naturally decline. The amount of eggs you still have in your ovaries at any point in your life is called your “ovarian reserve.”
For some people, this decrease in ovarian reserve happens later in life, such as their early 40’s, while for others it can happen at a younger age - in their 30’s or even their 20’s. This may be due to genetic reasons, hormonal reasons, due to other health issues such as autoimmune disease, or due to lifestyle factors and overall health.
How is Ovarian Reserve Measured?
The Antral Follicle Count
Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH)
What causes a diminished ovarian reserve?
Another very common factor that can lead to early reductions in follicle count is oxidative stress. Oxidative stress happens in a variety of ways - some of the most common things that cause it are a diet that’s low in fresh fruits and vegetables and high in inflammatory foods, physical or emotional stress, and exposure to toxins such as cigarette smoke (both direct and second-hand). Oxidative stress can damage egg cells, causing them to die off before they’re even recruited. If this happens over many years it can have a huge impact on overall ovarian reserve.
The Good News!
Specific herbs and occasionally even hormone precursors such as DHEA may increase antral follicle count, depending on your body’s unique hormone balance. However, balancing and supporting hormone levels, especially with supplements such as DHEA, can have unpredicted and unwanted side effects and should be done only under careful medical guidance.