What high FSH means for your fertility?

Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) is a hormone. It is generated by your pituitary gland, which regulates a lot of your body’s hormones, and is in constant communication with your ovaries. Before each menstrual cycle, FSH is generated in a much larger quantity to stimulate the growth of follicles (hence the hormone’s name) to the point where ovulation occurs. Once ovulation occurs, it reduces and remains at the lower level until the next cycle comes, as long as no pregnancy occurs. This process repeats until a woman reaches menopause.

Why is my FSH high and what does that mean?

Imagine this: Your brain is trying to talk to your ovaries; your ovaries do not respond. Your brain raises its voice higher (by raising FSH) in the hope that the ovaries will listen. Your ovaries still do not respond. Your brain raises its voice (FSH) even higher and so on. The vicious circle continues and you end up with high FSH.

In short, the fundamental reason for high FSH is because your ovarian function is impaired — your ovaries are not responding to your brain’s instructions. 

Because of this, high FSH affects your periods. High FSH disrupts your periods, making them irregular, or even completely stop (if your level goes above 25). It’s no surprise therefore that high FSH can make your egg quality poor because of how it affects your periods.

Does low egg reserve cause high FSH?

Just because one phenomenon is associated another doesn’t necessarily mean that one causes the other. When women get older, their FSH levels are likely to be higher, and their egg reserves lower, but this doesn’t mean their high FSH and low AMH (caused by low egg reserves) have caused each other. After all, we have had plenty of patients who have high, sometimes very high, FSH levels, but with egg reserves at normal levels for their age.

We routinely help women at TCM Healthcare to reduce their FSH successfully, helping them have more regular periods, or even regain their periods. In a good number of cases, their egg reserves have remained the same. In other words, the substantial reduction of FSH is not dependent on a higher egg reserve. This is not surprising at all since the orthodox view is that the egg reserve cannot go up anyway (as women can’t grow new eggs), so a reduction of FSH from egg reserve improvement isn’t possible. 

Can IVF help with high FSH?

Many patients of ours have told us that they had gone for IVF when their FSH was high, hoping IVF would solve the problem for them. They are usually disappointed. This is not surprising. The two likely outcomes from going to IVF with high FSH are

  1. They will be rejected by IVF clinic. As they already have high FSH, the clinic won’t be able to use a good level of stimulating medication to produce eggs, as the patients’ own pituitary glands are already large amounts of stimulating hormones into the body.
  2. They will have unsuccessful cycles because the eggs collected are poor — as high FSH means poor egg quality. The IVF process can only use whatever eggs are able to be collected — if the egg quality is poor to begin with, IVF Is likely to fail.

A lot of these patients who’ve tried and failed at IVF come to us as we specialise in decreasing FSH levels in women naturally so that they can either get pregnant naturally, or try IVF again.

Menopause and high FSH

Women in perimenopause or menopause have high FSH as their ovaries are ceasing to respond to the FSH emitted by their pituitary glands. Because of this, the brain reacts by sending more and more FSH, attempting to wake up the ovaries.

But having high FSH does not have to mean you’re in menopause. When a woman suffers from severe hormonal imbalance, she often has symptoms very similar to that of menopause: hot flashes, night sweats, irritability and above all irregular or missing periods. Since these symptoms are near identical to those experiencing menopause, the conclusion is often made, by doctors and by patients alike, that high FSH means menopause. In fact, she may be simply suffering from severe hormonal imbalance.

There are some other telltale signs too. You are unlikely to be in real menopause even though you FSH is high if:

  • You are not in menopausal age — 45 or over
  • Your high FSH is triggered by traumatic events, which can be emotional, like the death of a loved one
  • You have been subject to highly stressful situations for a sustainable period of time
  • Your oestradiol is high instead of low

How do you lower FSH levels?

If you aren’t menopausal, most cases of high FSH can be treated as you’re most likely suffering from severe hormonal imbalance. We at TCM Healthcare often treat high FSH — it is, by far, the majority of the cases we deal with when it comes to improving egg quality.

If you’re not sure if you’re menopausal, it may be worthwhile to try some treatment, as the symptoms of both menopause and hormone imbalance are very similar. Menopause is not reversible, so your FSH levels won’t improve with treatment. At TCM Healthcare, we have a proven track record of improving FSH levels in women who simply have severe hormone imbalance. If your periods come back, then you definitely aren’t in menopause, as the definition of menopause is not having periods for a consecutive 12 months.

For more information of how we reduce FSH, please click here.

For more information of testimonials and reviews written by former patients, please click here.

For research evidence, please click here.

Book an appointment!

A booking fee of £100 (refunded when you attend) will be processed at booking. 

Late cancellation fee £50
We appreciate that you might not be well or have urgent matters to attend. As a result you may have to postpone the appointment. We would like to have at least 24 hours’ advance notice. A late cancellation fee of £50 is payable if advance notice is not given.

Are there patients we cannot help?

Yes. No medical system is foolproof and medical practitioners, however good, are not omnipotent. As great as our success rates are, they are not 100%. There are times patients do not respond to our treatments despite our best efforts.

Delayed improvements are possible when patients rest a little. However, even with rest, patients may still not respond well. Fortunately, these cases are in the minority. We minimise the number of these cases by trying to understand our patients’ conditions as much as possible before taking them on. We minimise time and financial commitments from patients by insisting they have hormone or sperm test results prior to treatment, and to get retested after 3 months — following our evidence-based approach.

At TCM Healthcare, we will always have your best interests in mind and we will do our best.