FSH Levels and Menopause
FSH levels in women can indicate whether or not a woman has begun menopause. A simple blood test is used to measure FSH, and the levels of FSH in your system, while not enough by themselves to guarantee that a woman is in menopause, can be used to confirm menopause. Typically, FSH levels in women are used to confirm menopause when other symptoms of the menopause are present, such as the lack of a period or hot flashes.
To understand the relationship between FSH levels in women and menopause, it is important to understand exactly what FSH is and what FSH levels can mean. FSH is short for Follicle Stimulating Hormone, which is a hormone produced in both men and women by the pituitary gland. FSH helps to promote the growth of a woman’s eggs, as well as the growth of a man’s sperm. When a woman gets near menopause, your ovaries will start producing less estrogen. When this happens, the FSH levels in women will tend to rise.
FSH levels in women are typically tested on day 3 of the menstrual cycle. Because FSH levels in women will fluctuate throughout her monthly cycle, testing FSH levels on day 3 of the menstrual cycle will produce a result that can be compared with averages for women who are not in menopause as well as for women who are in menopause. When FSH levels in women are tested on day 3 of her monthly cycle, a value of 10 is considered normal. A value of 10-25 may indicate that you are in premenopause, but that you have not yet started menopause. FSH levels in women that are more than 30 or 40 can indicate that you have entered menopause, or that you are experiencing a failure of your ovaries.
FSH levels in women are not, by themselves, reliable indicators of menopause. Hormone levels can and do fluctuate through the monthly cycle. It may be that one month you have a high FSH level test, and the next month levels are back down to normal. When FSH levels in women are elevated for a longer period of time, however, it is likely that you have started menopause.