The follicle stimulating hormone, also known as FSH, is one among the many hormones secreted by the pituitary gland that is responsible for stimulation of the ovaries for the production of matured eggs in women and production of sperms in men. This hormone, along with the luteinizing hormone, are responsible for many vital processes in the human body, like pubertal maturation, growth, development, and reproduction. This article will be concentrating on the connection between FSH levels and pregnancy, emphasizing on how fluctuations in the former affect the latter.
FSH and Fertility
The relation here is very simple, as fertility depends on the level of this hormone. When the brain senses that an ovary needs to produce matured eggs, it releases FSH. The level triggers the process of ovulation. The normal level should be between 3 mlU/ml to 10 mlU/ml, which is a must for the development of reproductive cells. Tests are conducted to determine the level of fertility in women who face difficulty in conceiving.
The testing is done on the third day of the menstruation cycle. If the result is less than required, it indicates less ovulation because of improper functioning of hypothalamus, which can be a reason for infertility or failure in conceiving. On the contrary, high results are an indication of absence of ovaries that is common during menopause. The excessive quantity shows premature ovarian failure that is an indication of menopause.
FSH during pregnancy is a must for the formation of placenta, especially during the earlier months. At that time, the required value is generally below 2 mlU/ml. As mentioned earlier, the required value is between 3 to 10 mlU/ml. These values keep changing during the process of ovulation, pregnancy, and menopause. Normal levels are a must for conception. After taking into account the changes in the body, the normal values should be in between 3 to 30 mlU/ml.
A high value is normal among women in their post menopausal stage, thus establishing a peculiar relation between itself and menopause. But this situation can be alarming if it is observed in young women and those who want to conceive. At an early age, the increased levels are an indication of depleted ovarian reserve that is related to menopause. This gives rise to problems in conceiving and getting pregnant. Sometimes, the body does not even respond to fertility drugs, thus, creating difficulty in treating infertility. But this does not mean that women with high values cannot conceive, there are few lucky ones who have conceived successfully.
The malfunctioning of the pituitary gland - hypopituitarism, can be responsible for low levels. Sometimes, it is a result of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, also known as PCOS, that hinders the development of follicles, and thus fails to mature the eggs. This also results in an irregular menstrual cycle and abnormal functioning of reproductive organs. This might lead to infertility though not directly.
The fluctuations in the FSH levels directly or indirectly affect the process of reproduction. The variations can be hereditary or genetic as well. The accurate level can be tested to see how well the ovaries are working, and the problems causing infertility or irregular menstrual cycle. Treatments like hormone replacement therapy can be helpful in maintaining the required levels.
Disclaimer: This HerHaleness article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.