FOLLICLE STIMULATING HORMONE (FSH) AND YOUR FERTILITY Part 2

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DIAGNOSIS AND MANAGEMENT OF FOLLICLE STIMULATING HORMONE (FSH).

Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) levels test is a simple process which usually takes less than five minutes to measures the level of the hormone (FSH) in the blood. It requires a small amount of blood to be taken from a vein in the arm, using a small needle. by a health-careprofessional. FSH testing in women needs to be performed on a specific day of the menstrual cycle, either Day 2 or Day 3, as most reference values reflect FSH at this time. This is because, during this early part of the menstrual cycle (Follicular phase) is when FSH and LH levels rise for development of the eggs. Although, for a woman that has attained menopause, random FSH levels test can be carried out. Results are interpreted based on a normal range of FSH for each age group, since the hormone naturally decreases as we age.

FOLLICLE STIMULATING HORMONE LEVELS IN WOMEN AND MEN.

These are the normal levels of FSH at different developmental stages;

In Women: In Men:
• Before puberty: 0 – 4.0 mIU/mL : 0- 0.5 mIU/mL
• During puberty: 0.3 – 10.0 mIU/mL 0.3 – 10.0 mIU/mL
• Women who are still menstruating: 4.5 to 21.5 mIU/mL Adult: 1.5 – 12.4 mIU/mL
• After menopause- 25.8 – 134.8 mIU/Ml

WHY SHOULD I HAVE MY FSH LEVEL TEST DONE?

In women, tests are done to:
• Diagnose a problem with ovarian function and determine the possible cause of infertility
• Determine the cause of irregular or stopped menstrual periods.
• Confirm the start of menopause, or perimenopause. Menopause is the time in a woman’s life, when her menstrual periods have stopped and she cannot become pregnant anymore. It usually starts when a woman is around 50 years. Perimenopause is the transition period before menopause. It can last for several years. FSH testing may be done towards the transition.

In men, the tests are most often done to: Diagnose the cause of any testicular issue and infertility, reason for low sperm count and decreased sex drive

Both men and women may need to be tested if they have symptoms of pituitary disorder, such as fatigue, weakness, weight loss, decreased appetite.

MANAGEMENT OF ABNORMAL FSH LEVELS.

• Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) may be prescribed. HRT involves using medication in tablet, topical gel, skin patch, or vaginal ring form to adjust the levels of hormones such as oestrogen, progesterone in women.
• Testosterone Therapy (TT):Given to men with high FSH levels. Since high FSH can lead to low testosterone, this can help increase fertility in these men. This adjustment can, in turn, improve FSH levels. If this is impossible, fertility treatments may be used to help achieve pregnancy.
• Surgery: In some circumstances, abnormal FSH levels are caused by a tumour or cyst on the ovaries, testes, or pituitary gland. These tumours or cysts may not be life threatening, but having them removed surgically may improve FSH levels and greatly improve fertility. The complexity of the surgery and the risks involved will vary greatly based on the specific circumstances.

There are many options to consider for a woman with abnormal FSH levels. These include fertility treatments such as in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and intra-uterine insemination (IUI), monitoring menstrual cycles and trying natural conception, considering the use of donor eggs or adoption. For most women, this is a very delicate and difficult condition to live with; hence they should be sure to get also get all the support they need and opinions from a gynaecologists/fertility specialist.

DIETS THAT MAY HELP IMPROVE FSH LEVELS.

• Omega-3 fatty acids are important in the production of hormones in the body, which may in turn improve FSH levels. Good food sources of omega-3 include oily fish (salmon, mackerel and sardines), walnuts, seaweed, and kidney beans, among others. Omega-3 supplements are also available.
• Dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, and cabbage provide the body with a range of vitamins and minerals that support a healthy endocrine system, which, in turn, may help improve FSH levels.
• Ginseng may help to support and nourish the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus, both of which contribute to your FSH levels, and in turn might improve fertility.

It is important to discuss with the doctor first regarding taking supplements or making any dietary changes.

LIFESTYLE CHANGES THAT CAN HELP IMPROVE FSH LEVELS.

• Maintaining a healthy weight contributes to the appropriate production of FSH and other hormones. Being overweight can, in some cases, contribute to elevated FSH levels , vice versa, being severely underweight may in some cases decrease FSH levels that may negatively impact fertility. However, the specialist should be consulted to determine ideal /optimal weight goals for fertility.
• When the body is stressed out, it releases stress hormones such as cortisol, which can in turn throw FSH and other hormone levels out of balance. Therefore, reducing stress may help to improve FSH levels. To decrease stress, relaxation methods such as deep breathing, yoga, meditation, light exercise, walking in nature, listening to calming music, reading a relaxing book or taking a warm bath and getting enough sleep are all important factors in reducing stress.

CONCLUSION

Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) levels is of great importance, and must be one of the hormones tested during fertility profiling. Since it controls growth of eggs in the ovary in women, and sperm production in men, having healthy FSH levels is very important to both male and female fertility. Lack or insufficiency of it can cause infertility or sub-fertility both in men and women.

REFERENCES: ufhealth.org, yourhormones.info,eatright.org ,www.lifelinkfertility.com