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High FSH Myths and Facts

If you are trying to become pregnant, you have probably noticed that lots of attention is being paid to how high FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) levels affect fertility. But lots of attention equals lots of information, and it can be hard to figure out what’s true—and what’s not. Here are some common myths and facts about high FSH to help you out.

FSH is vital to fertility.
FACT. Without FSH, your follicles are not stimulated to produce eggs and you do not ovulate.

So, if FSH is vital for fertility, high FSH must be better than low FSH?
MYTH. If your ovarian reserve (the number of eggs you have left in your ovaries) is low, normal FSH levels will not lead to a follicle being developed for ovulation. The body produces more FSH to try harder to get a follicle going. So high FSH levels indicate that you are having trouble ovulating and your body is working very hard to try to make it happen but usually not succeeding.

If I have high FSH, I’m definitely in menopause.
MYTH. Though menopause is the most common cause of high FSH levels, if you are younger than late 30s or 40 then high FSH levels are considered abnormal. Your high FSH levels could be the result a number of conditions including premature menopause, premature ovarian failure, or (rarely) congenital adrenal hyperplasia or a pituitary tumor. Your fertility doctor will help you determine what the cause might be.

High FSH means I’m never going to get pregnant.
MYTH. This depends on exactly how high your FSH levels are as well as how old you are. Slightly increased FSH levels have only a slightly reduced birth rate, but as FSH levels rise, birth rates fall. Though younger women may not have more eggs, the eggs are often of higher quality, which can makes them more successful in achieving pregnancy. But it is important to understand that high FSH levels usually make it much more difficult to get pregnant, even with fertility medications and IVF. Your fertility doctor can help you understand what your levels mean for your fertility treatment options.

High FSH levels can mean I’m not a great candidate for fertility treatments.
FACT. Women with very high FSH levels are not usually considered good candidates for treatment with fertility medications. This is because their ovarian reserve is often very low and thus, no matter how much the ovaries are stimulated, they are going to be unable to produce eggs. This means that IVF is also often not successful. Again, this depends on your age and what your FSH levels are. Many women have success with IVF with donor eggs.

My FSH is normal, so it is definitely not the problem.
MYTH. If your FSH levels are normal or low but your estrogen levels are high, the estrogen may be artificially lowering the FSH levels. You will probably have your estrogen levels tested at the same time your FSH levels are tested to see if this is the case.

High FSH levels can be lowered.
This one’s not so clear-cut. Nothing in Western medicine so far has succeeded in lowering FSH levels. But many practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) claim that they are able to lower FSH using herbs, acupuncture and dietary changes. Always talk to your fertility doctor before you make major changes in your lifestyle or try herbs or other supplements.


Comments (35)

I was told a few weeks ago that my FSH 11.5 and low AMI. Since then, I've made an appointment with a fertility doctor. Right before my appointment, I had a light positive pregnancy test. I took a few test for two days, the line got darker today. Tested at the doctor office, he said it was negative. But blood test indicated inconclusive. Doctor thinks it's a fluke and egg will pass itself. Any advice? I've been trying for one year but feeling very sad and hopeless.

Hi, I'm 40 y old mother of 2, my Lab test shows very high FSH : 50, and also very high Estrogen: 900. Only four months ago the same test was normal!!! My Dr. Was wondering how can that happen and thought I'm taking medications. Anyone any idea??!!

Hello Sou, unfortunately our bodies can change drastically in a matter of months. Doctors will go by your highest test results. If you have any additional questions it is best to consult with the doctor that performed these tests and provided you with these results to determine what the best course of action would be for you specifically. Best of luck.

Iam 35year old men , yesterday I went though diagnosis test it came 9.5 but still doctor was telling this is tooo high and he also mentioned that it will be difficult to beget child with this percentage , pls advice?

on 3/4/2014 i had 1 ovary removed lapaoscatic amd the other ovary removed a small dermoid but still havent gotten my period, Dr test my fsh at 73 and a low Estrdol bc i was experiencing hot flashes. i am 41 had regular periods and ovulated my entire life with no BCP up to surgery but i want to know could it be high bc of the surgery? Also will fsh be high when there is no period? and do you think i could still get a menstrual cycle. please answer all 3 questions

Have you consulted with an RE about your concerns? These are all questions that should be answered by a fertility specialist that can review your medical history. If you are currently trying to conceive and do not have your menstrual I recommend that you see a Reproductive Endocrinologist as soon as possible. I would be happy to assist you in getting set up with a doctor in your area. Please feel free to email me at

Yes I have but I wantted to get your opinion or hear any experience you have may know of. If you are not able to give me your professional opinion can you at least tell me if you know that if you test for FSH will it be very high if it is not during the 2/3 day window or if you havent even had a period.. Pretty much what is your knowledge on testing for FSH.

JKay, I am not a doctor nor do I have any medical training to advise you regarding your FSH. You should mention your concerns to your RE. If you would like a second opinion from a different doctor please let me know and I will be happy to help you find a different doctor. Feel free to email me at if you would like a second opinion.

hi, I was diagnosed with Ulcerative colitis in 2012. I've been on Pentasa. 3-4 months ago my periods stopped, although I've been heaving problems since 2011. My ob/gyn got my hormones checked and the results fsh=106, lh=63, estradiol =21, progesterone =0.4. I went to RE and she started me on HRT - premarin - 1.25mg, and prometrium - 200mg the last 10 days with the premarin. Do I have any chance to get pregnant? Do I have to take HRT the next 20 years? My hair start thinning a lot as well on my front line. If I want to stop taking HRT am I going to loose my hair?

112.98 fsh 62.8 lh if its high why would it be high I have all my female parts, have not had a period for over a year. Tubes are tied i am 46 yrs young

Hi Sonya,

FSH becomes higher with age due to diminished ovarian reserve. If you have not had a period in a year, it means you are in menopause and no longer ovulating.

You should consult a fertility doctor to discuss IVF, possibly with an egg donor.

Good luck!

I stopped birth control pills 7 weeks ago. After 4 weeks, I had my hormones tested. My estradiol was 26 pg/mL, FSH 4.3, and LH 1.8. What does this mean? Why is my estrogen so low? What can I do? I am almost 28 years old. Thank you in advance for reading this…

I'm 20 year old ,my fsh level is 12.4UI/ml .,and the cycle disappeared .what should I do? Some recommended me to eat soya beans in order to make estrogen level high I order to stimulate the ovaries , while my doctor gave me femoston for about 9 months. What should I do ?

If you're not confident with your doctor's recommendation, I would suggest getting a second opinion. I would consult with a reproductive endocrinologist if you are planning to have children one day. Best, Claire

I have gone to 3 doctors so far. It started 2 years ago I was stressed and lost about 10kg so I exams 45kg ,and the cycle used to come 3 days instead of 7 so I went to a doctor and they stared giving me contraceptive medicens ,and when I stopped them I found that the cycle disappeared .and now I regained the weight lost and took femoston for 3 months and when I stopped it I had gained about 5 kilo and became 50kg after stopping it I came normal for 1 month, then after it has been 3 months without the cycle being appeared .so I visited the doctor again and he told me to take femoston again. I want to know can I just not take them because I'm scared for just keeping on taking medicines.could it be to weight lose? But I regained the weight if it's due to scared tht if I take more medicine then my ovaries will be used to be stimulated by them and not being stimulated alone .

I am very much tensed what will be my future will i be able to get pregnant or not. I am only 26 years old .. i just came to know about it 4 days before . what should i do ? i am not able to know what is the reason behind it ... :-(

Hi I am 26 and have been having trouble with my cycle since I was 17 when I completely stopped getting a cycle and there has been no reason why I've all the tests ddone there is nothing abnormal except for the fact that my FSH levels are in the Hugh 30s we have done hormone replacement and one round of injections and the docs said it was time to throw in the towl I am not seeing an acupuncturist and she has started me on a few herbs. I'm heart broken with my diagnosis of premature ovairian failure and I'm willing to try anything....any encouraging stories or things I should be trying anyone have a similar problem?? Also they did a bone density scan and my bones are thinning in my hips from my body not producing the right amount of estrogen uggh I'm desperate and loosing!!!

I am 39 and my FSH levels is high. Recently I got it checked it was about 26.0 and a year ago it was 16.0 and on other occasion it was 14.0 - means it keeps fluctuating. I know that it keeps changing but is it possible to get pregnant or not?? is there only one way to get pregnant - i.e., egg donation. I am really want to conceive and would like to have a healthy child. Any advice is appreciated.

It sounds like your FSH level has gotten higher as you have gotten older, which makes sense. If it was 26 when it was tested on day 3 of your cycle, that is very high. It's important that the number is from day 3 of your cycle. Most fertility doctors consider FSH to be high when it is greater than 15 - the higher it is, the less the chance of pregnancy with your own eggs. But please check with your doctor about your specific results. Best, Claire

My FSH is 11 and I am 36 yr, i thought the wheatgrass will work . I don't know what to do !!

Wheatgrass will not help lower your FSH or help you get pregnant. Please see a fertility doctor, who will evaluate your egg quality and quantity, which decreases with age. I'd hate to see you wait any longer to find the answers you need. Let me know if you'd like more info. Best, Claire

Hey, I have been trying for 2 years sincey last m/c, I got my fsh checked in dec 2012 and it was 19.6. I then got it checked 2 months later and it went to 4.5. My doc advised me to keep trying and I took clomid for 4 months. I then got my fsh checked in dec 2013 and it had gone to 29.5. My doc now tells me that I have now no other option but to go for egg donation. Does anyone have any similar experience with good results, should I get a second opinion from a fertility clinic.. Any advice appreciated.

Hi, Mine is a high FSH success story. My partner and I initially tried to conceive for 6 months without success. Being 38 I had my fsh and progesterone tested. The results were 12.5 and 35 respectively. I was told that my FSH was elevated, but my progesterone was good which suggested I was still ovulating. To see if it made any difference, I really looked after myself in the following month and had my FSH retested. It came back as 29.5! I was devastated. We had more tests booked in, amh, etc, so was told to call when my period started to book the tests on certain cycle days. Well, my period never came. I conceived in the very cycle in which I had an FSH of 29.5 and am lying here now in bed with my perfect, healthy baby girl by my side. If you're still ovulating you still have a chance. I charted my bbt and we timed dtd to make sure that we gave each cycle a chance to be successful. Beyond that it really is chance and it only takes one good egg. Good luck!

I'm very happy for you I'm going through the same situation. I'm 36 going on 37 next month with a FSH at 12 whatever that means can I get more info on what helped you or what treatment and medicines you took

My FSH was 17 and I succeded to stay pregnant by natural cycle IVF. (The basic concept of natural cycle IVF is that it relies on a woman’s natural menstrual cycle – without fertility medications – from which to harvest a single egg per cycle.) My advice is to find a doctor that is more optimistic and has treated patients with high FSH. I wish you every sucess. And please dont stop to hope.

Natural cycle IVF or mini-IVF are really great options for women with high FSH that aren't quite ready to move on to donor egg IVF. We know of several clinics in the US that specialize in mini and natural IVF. Give us a call at 1-855-955-BABY (2229).


You don't say if you are seeing an ob or a fertility doctor (RE) but I would advise seeing a fertility doctor and getting a second opinion. You FSH levels are one part of the equation. Our Patient Care Advocates can help you find a doctor in your area. Please call or email at 855-955-2229 or Best, Claire

hi i am 37 years old and under a fertility doctor for iui, i have been told that my fsh level (taken on day 4) was a level of 8 and my lh level was 7.3 i also had a blood test vat day 21 and my progesterone level was 13.7 pmo/l and 46.6 nmol/l which the doctor said confirms ovulation can anyone confirm what i have been told is correct as i am not sure what the levels mean giving i am 37 years old, also i have not had an amh test done should i request one be carried out. I have had all the fertility tests and everything sems normal.

Hi, I'm 26 and for the past 5 monts have not had a period. Test results showed high FSH but normal estrogen levels. Everything I have read about POF indicates it is correlated with low estrogen levels... Is this always true? I have been on birth control for a few years, but have had regular periods even prior to that. Any ideas what else may be causing these abnormalities? Thanks in advance

FSH needs to be tested on Day 3 of your cycle for accurate results. If you have not seen a reproductive endocrinologist, you really should. He or she can give you a much more accurate diagnosis and treatment plan than a gynecologist. Our Patient Care Advocates can help match you with a doctor at no charge to you. Contact us at 855-955-2229 or Best, Jennifer

I had my FSH levels tested but it happened to be on cycle day 10. My level was only 4. I realise the test should be done on cycle days 2-5 however mine just happened to land on 10. Can this be interpreted at all or do i simply have to go back and get it tested again on the correct day?

Hello, Im a 40y/o who has had an FSH drawn about 5to 6 months ago and it was 21 or 22. I was told by a fertility specialist that he could not give me Clomid or a similiar drug because I did not have any eggs. I also have Myasthenia gravis and I would like to conceive one health child. I must say that I was placed on provera daily and estrace daily and I had cuycles Oct.-Nov. but they were 12 to 16 days with alot of clots. So, My GYN changed my hormone to Activella daily and I have not had a cycle since Nov. Is itpossibl I do have healhy eggs and I can use provera and clomid? WHAT do you suggest?

I have fish 27 and ovulate on my own. With Clomid I have superovulate (3 eggs at a time). So I think your doctor is wrong. I am 45 btw.

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