Elevated FSH levels can interfere with fertility. It happened to a friend of mine. She tried to conceive for several years after she married, and each month she was disappointed to find out that she hadn’t conceived. This article will highlight some of the issues (medical and financial) that she had to go through and how making a lifestyle change helped her to conceive.
Follicle-stimulating hormone, also known as FSH, is produced by the pituitary gland; its function is to stimulate the production of ovarian estrogen and to regulate egg production. Normally, as we age, we become less fertile; our egg reserve becomes less and our FSH levels increase. Women, who are having difficulty conceiving, could have high levels of FSH, or there could be some other problem causing them to be infertile.
One of my friends, Danielle, and her husband had tried to get pregnant for 4 years and they were unsuccessful. Many of her family and friends tried to give her encouragement by telling her that she would conceive when the time was right. Danielle was 30 when she discovered she could not get pregnant; she reasoned that if she didn’t get some kind of help she may never have a baby.
Danielle’s doctor did some blood tests on her. Some of the tests (FSH and estradiol levels) were taken while she was on her menstrual cycle. (Estradiol is a type of estrogen that is produced by the ovaries. Estradiol is supposed to communicate with the pituitary to tell it when to slow down or stop making follicle-stimulating hormone.) Danielle had some other tests done also, but the main cause of her inability to conceive was that her ovaries were not making enough estrogen.
I asked Danielle about her FSH levels, because the higher the follicle-stimulating hormone is the more difficult it can be for a woman to conceive. Danielle’s FSH level was 10, which would indicate that her ovaries and her brain are not communicating very well. The doctor’s job would be to try and create a healthy balance between her estrogen (estradiol) and her FSH levels)
Danielle shared with me that her doctor suggested she see a specialist and have more testing done. Her doctor said that she may need to consider in vitro fertilization. Danielle said, “There’s no way that Doug (her husband) and I could ever afford to go that route.”
Several months have passed since I had last talked with her about her situation. I was excited to learn that Danielle is now pregnant. She said she talked to a lot of people, and she did searches on the Internet to get ideas about how she could improve her hormone balance so she and her husband could get pregnant.
I was very excited for her and asked her to please cut to the chase. I asked her how she was able to get pregnant when her ovaries weren’t communicating to her brain so she could get pregnant. She said that she decreased meat and dairy while increasing her iron and protein and healthy fats to help improve the function of her ovaries. Danielle said that changing how she ate, and increasing her exercise not only improved her overall health, but it also improved her ovarian health.
Danielle shared with me that she was about 30 pounds overweight, and that she had some premature symptoms of menopause. She had hot flashes and other uncomfortable symptoms, but when she began to change her diet and increase her exercise, she began to lose weight, and she began to feel less stressed. She said she even forgot about trying to get pregnant and then it just happened. She got pregnant without any drugs or expensive treatments.
Personal experience of my friend, Danielle