Both men and women should have a balanced level of hormones for ensuring proper fertility. Among the many hormones responsible for fertility in the human body, FSH or Follicle-stimulating Hormone is a naturally occurring hormone in the pituitary gland. When there is a hike or lower level of this hormone, it is a clear sign that there is something wrong in the reproductive system both in men and women. This in turn will cause difficulty in conceiving. Even though, an imbalance in this hormone level is not a direct sign of infertility, it is just a sign that there may be an underlying fertility issue.
FSH in women:
When it comes to women, this hormone is responsible for controlling and regulating their menstrual cycle and it is also partly responsible for production of eggs in the ovaries. Generally, in women, there will be variation in this hormone level all through their monthly cycle. There will be generally a spike in the level of this hormone immediately before ovulation. When it comes to menstruating women, the normal level of this hormone is between 5 and 20 IU/L. Before ovulation, this level will be between 30 and 50 IU/L. In the case of women at postmenopausal period, this level will be naturally higher at about 60 IU/L.
Women at 40 years: At the age of 40, most of the women will start a new phase of life as hormonal changes begin to take place in the body to prepare for menopause. At this stage, the ovaries will begin to lose their ability to produce progesterone, estrogen and mature follicles. This will bring about an increase in the level of Follicle Stimulating Hormone.
When there is a reduction in this hormone level, it is a sign that eggs are not produced properly as the pituitary gland is not functioning properly. This problem might be caused due to severe stress or severe weight loss in a woman.
FSH in Men:
Not only for women, but also for men, it is important to have the right FSH level as an imbalance in this hormone can be the reason behind infertility issues in men. So, when a couple has trouble in conceiving, it is better to get this hormone level tested in both. When it comes to men, this hormone level controls the production of sperm, which is of course essential to conceive a partner.
As against women, FSH level in men remain relatively constant and for men this level should be between 5 and 15 IU/L. When this level if higher, it is an indication of improper functioning of the testicles or damage to the testicles. It can also showcase the presence of klinefelter syndrome. When this level if low, it is an indication that sperm production does not happen.
How is the level diagnosed?
Generally, the level of Follicle Stimulating Hormone is tested through a blood test. In women, this test is generally taken on the 3rd day of menstrual cycle and doctors believe that if the level is higher than 10-15 mIU/L, it is a sign of reduction in the reserve of ovaries and fertility.