In both men and women, having a balanced level of hormones is essential to proper fertility. FSH, or follicle-stimulating hormone, is a naturally occurring hormone that is made by the pituitary gland in the body.
If the FSH levels are either low or high, it is a clear indicator that something is out of balance within the reproductive system and may be causing issues with the couple being able to conceive. While FSH levels are used to determine if there is an imbalance, low or high FSH is not the direct cause of fertility issues, just a sign that there may be one.
FSH in Women
Doctors believe a level higher than 10-15mIU/ml may indicate diminished fertility or diminished ovarian reserve.
For women, follicle-stimulating hormones help to control and regulate the woman’s menstrual cycle and is also partially responsible for the production of ova, or eggs, in the ovaries. It is normal for a woman’s FSH levels to vary throughout her usual monthly cycle, with there being a spike in the levels immediately before ovulation.
However, if FSH levels are generally too high or too low, it can signal fertility issues for the woman which can prevent conception from occurring. For menstruating women, the normal FSH levels during the follicular or luteal phase should range between 5 and 20 IU/L (international units per liter). Right before ovulation during the mid-cycle peak, FSH levels should be between 30 and 50 IU/L. If a woman is post-menopausal, her FSH levels will be naturally higher, at 60 IU/L or more.
At about the age of 40, most women begin a new phase of life and hormone changes begin to take place in preparation for menopause. The ovaries begin to lose their ability to produce mature follicles, estrogen and progesterone. This may be signaled by higher levels of FSH.
High levels of FSH in women is a signal of a loss of, or poor ovarian function, polycystic ovary syndrome or can indicate that menopause has begun or is currently taking place. All of these conditions will have a negative impact on fertility. Low levels of the hormone can indicate that eggs are not being produced, that the pituitary gland is not functioning correctly, that there are significant levels of stress present or that the person is severely underweight which is causing problems to occur.
FSH in Men
It is also essential for men to have normal levels of the FSH hormone. An imbalance of this hormone in men can also contribute to infertility, so if a couple is having trouble conceiving it may be wise to have the FSH levels tested in both. For men, FSH controls sperm production which is of course essential to fertility.
Unlike women, a man’s FSH levels remain relatively constant rather than fluctuating throughout the month. Typically, a man’s follicle-stimulating hormone levels should be between 5 and 15 IU/L. High levels of FSH in a male could indicate that the testicles are not functioning properly, or may have been damaged by some condition. They can also indicate the presence of Klinefelter syndrome, a genetic disorder that causes the presence of too many X chromosomes in the male. Low levels of FSH usually indicate that sperm is not being produced.
How Do You Know If Your FSH Levels Are High or Low?
FSH levels are determined by a blood test which is usually combined with other tests to diagnose hormonal levels which may show reproductive problems such as low sperm counts, lack of menses, or ovulation.
A low level of FSH may indicate an imbalance in the pituitary or hypothalamus.
A high FSH level may indicate an imbalance with the testes or ovaries functioning properly.
In women, the FSH test (it is a blood test) is taken on the 3rd day of the menstrual period. Doctors believe level higher than 10-15mIU/ml may indicate diminished fertility or diminished ovarian reserve.
When looking at an imbalance such as high FSH or low FSH holistically, remember that these are hormones are secreted and regulated by the endocrine system (hypothalamus, pituitary, ovaries, testes) It is not that imbalanced FSH levels are the problem, it is the health and current state of the endocrine system that needs to be looked at.
Both FSH and LH secretion are affected by the hormonal balance of other hormones in the body and vice versa. High doses of estrogen or testosterone therapy/medications have been shown to suppress FSH and LH.
What Can Cause FSH Levels to Become Imbalanced?
The possible causes for low or high FSH are many, so it is hard to give a reason why FSH levels may be high or low. In the holistic world we do not look at the FSH levels as the “cause” of the fertility issues, but more as a result of an underlying imbalance. Imbalances such as these are a signal or sign that the body is out of balance.
When it comes to hormones, it is a delicate balancing act. The glandular system is one of the most important and complex system in the body. It can be easy to get caught up in wanting to increase one hormone so your levels are back to normal. The problem that can occur with this approach is a hormone in another area, which is just as important as the first, may become out of balance as a result. This is why natural therapies can be so helpful. They are complementary, and help to support the body instead of forcing it into an action or adding one hormone.
Natural Therapies For Low FSH and High FSH
What we focus on is helping the body to function at its best. In this case supporting the hormonal glands, helping the body to rid itself of excess hormones, and maintaining a healthy weight. These therapies can be used by themselves or in conjunction with medical therapies. Talk to your doctor about this first if you are taking hormonal drugs.
Support the Pituitary and Hypothalamus Glands Through Nutrition
Good Nutrition Supports a Healthy Pituitary and hypothalamus Gland- Nutrition for the Hypothalamus
Insulin resistance and blood sugar levels have a big impact on the endocrine system and hormone levels. This is one of the reason maintaining a healthy weight is important for healthy hormonal function. Following the Natural Fertility Diet to make sure you are getting proper nutrients in your diet will help a lot. Here are some specific nutrients and foods you should incorporate into your diet:
The hypothalamus is fed by essential fatty acids (EFA’s) and other nutrients. The glandular system utilizes essential fatty acids to produce hormones. If you are deficient, the body doesn’t have the building blocks to make the proper hormones. A sign that you may not have enough EFA’s in your system is if you have dry skin and hair.
Sea Vegetables and dark greens
Sea vegetables such as kelp, contain large amounts of minerals which are essential for endocrine health. You can eat these in a salad, with sushi, they even come in dried strips that you can eat right out of the package.
Bee pollen is one of the most nutrient dense foods you can eat. It contains proteins, mineral, vitamins, immune system compounds, and much more.
Herbs to Help Support and Nourish
ARE PROVIDED WITH THE IVF/IUI/ BOOSTING PROGRAM AT ZOE FERTILITY CLINIC
Maintain a Healthy Weight