Follicle-stimulating hormone, also known as FSH, is one of the common prenatal analyzes performed in preconception and has the essential role of detecting infertility in both men and women. When it comes to women, an increased level of this hormone in the organism may indicate that the ovaries may be affected, as they don`t produce viable eggs anymore, and infertility is right around the corner.
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What Is Considered High FSH Levels?
High levels of FSH show a dysfunction either in the testicles or the ovaries, being often associated with infertility. If the gonads fail to create sufficient testosterone, estrogen or inhibin, the control of the production of FSH in the pituitary gland disappears, and the levels of LH and FSH increase. This medical condition is known as hypogonadotropic hypogonadism, and is usually associated with testicular failure or primary ovarian failure, as it occurs in Swyer syndrome or Kallmann syndrome in males, or Turner syndrome in females – it`s all related with some genetic mutations.
In women, the levels of FSH increase also naturally around pre-menopause, reflecting a reduction in the function of the ovaries and a decrease in the production of steroids. However, there are also a few pituitary conditions that may determine increased FSH levels of which symptoms include ovarian enlargement and an abdominal fluid build-up that can be potentially dangerous, which is characterized by pelvic pain.
As already mentioned, the FSH measurement is a common analysis in preconception. Based on these results, doctors are able to determine if a woman has viable ovules to become fertile and get pregnant. The hormone level increases when something unusual happens with the oocytes that are released on a monthly level from the ovaries.
When these results prove that the level of FSH hormone has went beyond normal values, this means that the egg isn`t a good candidate for fertilization and that a pregnancy won`t be possible. The increased FSH level in the organism shows that the ovaries don`t work normally and that its produces eggs which don`t qualify for fertilization. This doesn`t necessarily mean that all women with increased FSH level aren`t able to have children.
There are situations when a pregnancy was obtained with abnormal results of this test. Still, specialists claim there`s a high risk of pregnancy loss when it comes to women that manage to remain pregnant with an abnormally high level of FSH hormone.
Even so, experts warn that a very high level of this hormone indicate an infertility that is extremely difficult to treat.
Most of the times, specialists recommend this test together with the one for identifying the LH hormone level. Together, the 2 tests aid doctors detect and diagnose the underlying infertility issues much more easily.
An increased level of FSH, along with abnormal results of the LH test, might show primary or secondary ovarian failure. When both of these hormones have an increased level, we are talking about primary ovarian failure, which might be caused by:
- Ovarian tumors.
- Chromosome malformations.
- Thyroid illnesses.
- Insufficient ovarian development.
The level of follicle-stimulating hormone increases when menopause appears as well.
Can FSH Levels Be Lowered?
As years pass, the number of normal eggs that your ovaries contain is lower and lower. The level of FSH increases to signal one of your ovaries to mature an egg. A level of FSH higher than 10 mIU/mL might show a reduced ovarian reserve of normal eggs. Lowering your FSH level might or might not aid your ovaries to produce a good egg. A lower level of FSH won`t necessarily increase your number of “good” eggs left in your ovaries. Still, chronically speaking, increased levels of FSH might interfere with the ability of the ovary to react to this particular hormone in order to produce one egg ever month. Lowering the levels of FSH may increase your chances for the ovary to mature a viable follicle.
Can Acupuncture Help Lower FSH Levels?
Acupuncture makes the body less tense and reduces the levels of stress – increased stress may affect the ability to conceive by blocking the flow of the blood to the reproductive organs and leading to an imbalance in the production of hormones, therefore leading to high levels of FSH, menstrual cycles that aren`t regular, decreased quality of the eggs, lack of ovulation, and poor production of the ovaries.
Healthy Foods & Follicle-Stimulating Hormone
According to an article published in “Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology” a few years ago, following a healthy nutrition, a diet that is higher in vegetable proteins (not animal ones) and low in fats, seem to offer improvement regarding fertility, although it wasn’t really proven to lower the follicle-stimulating hormone. Certain foods, like wheatgrass, are known to be used in treatments of alternative infertility since long ago. Advocates believe that the high content of chlorophyll of wheatgrass contribute to its antioxidant actions. Still, there`s no real evidence that this food decreases the FSH level or has any particular effect on menstrual dysfunctions which cause infertility.
The FSH hormone is frequently used in therapies of infertility, especially when it comes to ovarian hyperstimulation as part of IVF, increased levels being associated with vascularization of solid tumors, therefore showing its possible use as follicle-stimulating hormone receptors antagonists in tumor angiogenesis therapy. In certain situations, it`s used to restore anovulation as well. The FSH hormone is available in mixture with the LH hormone in various menotropine bravelles, which is a combination of the 2. In females, they`re used in order to stimulate the ovarian follicle development (the development of the cells that surround the egg which produces this hormone required for the support of a pregnancy as well as of the fluid around the egg) – we are talking about a very complex process that involves progesterone, estrogen and LH. Normally, menotropins are recommended in mixture with hCG, which will aid to develop ovulation at the required time; they can also be used in a multiple follicle production, like IVF and intra-phylloid transfer of gameles. In males, menotropins stimulate the production of sperm in certain forms of infertility.
Keep in mind that you have to talk about the risks involving this sort of treatment with a doctor, mainly if:
- You follow other drug treatments.
- You experience any allergies to certain drugs, foods or animals.
- You don`t have the required age (it isn`t recommended for children or old people).
Smoking and alcohol may affect the efficiency of some products. Also, talk to your doctor if you might be suffering of:
- Ovarian cyst (might lead to further development).
- Illnesses of the thyroid or adrenal gland.
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding (may worsen subsequent causes like hormonal imbalances or endometrial cancer).
- Cerebral or sex hormone tumor (the usage is forbidden).
- Primary ovarian failure.