What is FSH?
FSH is short for follicle stimulating hormone, and it belongs to a group of reproductive hormones. It regulates processes such as the development, growth, maturation of the organism during puberty, and reproductive processes that go on in the human body.
Fertility, infertility and levels of follicle stimulating hormone are closely related. Nowadays, many couples are facing problems related to infertility, and as fertility partly depends on FSH levels, those people should check and evaluate their FSH level at regular intervals. Let us explain all this a little further.
FSH level and fertility
Though its name indicates that follicle stimulating hormone primarily has to do with ovaries, which are not found in men, both sexes require the follicle stimulating hormone to be at a certain level sometime in their lives. Proper levels of follicle stimulating hormone are vital for regular development of sex organs and for the production of reproductive cells. In sexually mature women, FSH stimulates the follicles, structures in the ovaries in which egg cells develop and mature. It is also tightly related with ovulation, as ovulation happens when there is a sudden increase in FSH level.
Test of FSH level in men is used to determine the reason behind bad production of sperm. High FSH levels are menopause indicators and a FSH test can be used to determine whether the symptoms that a woman might be experiencing just signal that it is a menopause matter or manifestation of some other disease. Obviously, high level of FSH in women of reproductive age are regarded abnormal and are indicative of impaired fertility.
Conception and FSH level
A FSH test is used in women with fertility problems. A blood sample is taken during the third day of the cycle, and if FSH level is low or zero, it indicates absence of ovulations. On the other hand, high FSH levels, especially if they are persistent, that is, regularly detected on tests, indicate that there are no ovarian follicles at all, and that the organism is trying to counterbalance absent follicles by overproduction of FSH, just as in the menopause.
FSH test and fertility
A single FSH test cannot be decisive. Test results will vary slightly form lab to lab, and it is only natural that FSH levels vary depending on a range of external and internal factors such as stress, environment, various diseases or illness and similar. Also, there is a normal monthly variation in FSH levels, with peaks and lows. Multiple FSH tests will be necessary to predict fertility. It is best to discuss your FSH levels with the doctor that is in charge of you, but it is safe to say that anything below 15 mIU/ml is good and normal levels range between 5 and 25mIU/ml.