Infertility is a problem for many women. If you are a woman who has had trouble conceiving, you may be considering a visit to a fertility specialist. If you choose to seek help with your fertility, the physician whom you choose will likely run various tests to determine why you have not become pregnant. Many of these tests determine hormone levels.
Various hormones, such as estrogen, progesterone and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), govern your menstrual cycle and the release of an egg. Without the availability of a viable egg at the time of intercourse, conception cannot occur.
Here is more information about FSH and its testing.
What does the follicle stimulating hormone do?
FSH helps control your menstrual cycle by stimulating the follicles within your ovaries to release eggs. At the time of ovulation, one of the follicles releases an egg that, if fertilized, develops into an embryo. In some instances, more than one egg is released, offering the possibility of a multiple birth, such as that of fraternal twins or triplets.
FSH is also responsible for increasing the amount of estradiol within your system.
At the start of your cycle, the amount of FSH is relatively high, since it is preparing the ovarian follicles to produce an egg. FSH levels should peak mid-cycle due to ovulation. However, after ovulation, during the second half of the cycle, the levels tend to drop before resurging once the cycle begins again.
Where does FSH come from?
FSH is not produced by the ovaries. Instead, the pituitary gland secretes this hormone.
What do unusually high or low FSH levels indicate?
High FSH Levels
For women, high FSH levels could indicate that menopause is nearing. The onset of menopause is also heralded by a reduction in estrogen and progesterone production.
Women whose ovaries are not functioning properly may also display high levels of FSH.
Low FSH Levels
Low levels of FSH can cause a woman not to develop completely at the time of puberty. It can also result in infertility because the ovaries may not produce eggs without adequate amounts of follicle stimulating hormone.
In some cases, lower-than-normal FSH levels occur because of inadequate nutrition, stress or pituitary problems.
What can you expect when an FSH test performed?
FSH testing is conducted using a sample of your blood, so you can expect your blood to be drawn for laboratory testing. Test results can vary based on your cycle, age, smoking habits and the use of hormonal medications, such as clomiphene.
For more information about FSH and its effects on your fertility, schedule an appointment with a fertility specialist at facilities like Missouri Center for Reproductive Medicine in your area.
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