No one likes to hear bad news. But when that bad news is being told to you by your doctor, it comes with a complicated mix of emotions. That’s exactly the feelings that are stirring up women who have been told they have elevated FSH levels and are not able to conceive naturally. They are frustrated, confused and angry about their lack of options for having children.
Women who are trying to get pregnant are often told that one of the first things they’re going to want to do is schedule a lab workup. The lab workup can help identify possible causes of infertility and can usually be done quickly, either at a doctor’s office or as part of a basic annual physical exam.
To understand your fertility, doctors can check your levels of FSH using blood tests. They can also use these tests to see if a person is going through menopause. These tests are usually completed alongside other hormone test, like testing your testosterone or estrogen levels.
FSH (Follicle Stimulating Harmone)
FSH is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland in the brain, which plays an important role in egg development and release. A high level of FSH indicates that your ovaries are not producing eggs well enough to support a healthy pregnancy, so it’s important you understand what high FSH means for you.
FSH regulates the menstrual cycle and stimulates egg growth in the ovaries in women.The FSH level begins to rise about 7 days before an egg is released from the ovary. This rise signals an increase in eggs being released by the ovaries and prepares a woman’s body for pregnancy.
What does it mean when you have high FSH levels?
If a woman is trying to get pregnant and her FSH level is higher than the normal range, this can indicate that she is unlikely to conceive on her own (and likely will require the help of donor eggs).
High FSH levels in the menstrual cycle early on may be a sign that you’re experiencing ovary-related issues. However, it isn’t always the case. It’s not an all-or-nothing thing. It might mean you have a lower chance to get pregnant, but not impossible. Many women who have had high FSH levels still go on to become mothers, but it takes more patience and effort: However, there are still some women who conceive despite their high FSH levels.
Symptoms of high FSH levels
FSH is a hormone that stimulates the development of egg cells and female sex characteristics, such as the appearance of breasts and hair in the pubic area, underarms and legs.
Elevated levels of FSH are most commonly seen in women over 35 who have never given birth or stopped having periods. Common symptoms of elevated FSH levels include;
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome
- Chromosomal abnormality
- Irregular menstruation.
- Sleep disturbances.
- Emotional changes.
- Hot flashes.
- Weight gain.
- Vaginal dryness.
High FSH levels may also be associated with a rare condition called ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). This condition can cause high FSH levels in females. Doctors routinely monitor people undergoing fertility treatments for signs of OHSS. Symptoms include enlarged ovaries, pelvic pain, and the buildup of fluid in the abdomen.