In clinic, we’ve had many patients recently presenting with elevated FSH levels. It’s critical your IVF specialist tests your FSH day 2 of your menstrual bleed before commencing your stim cycle or transfer. Elevated FSH can indicate diminished ovarian reserve, menopause, premature ovarian failure, poor response to IVF and stress.
In the body, FSH (Follicle Stimulating hormone) is signalled by the pituitary gland in response to GnRH (gonadotropin-releasing hormone) pulses from the hypothalamus. FSH stimulates the ovaries, causing an increase in estrogen, encouraging follicle production and maturation. As the lead follicle readies for ovulation, FSH production naturally decreases and LH (luteinizing hormone) surges propelling the egg from the mature follicle.
Interestingly, the hypothalamus and pituitary are influenced by the Reptilian brain. The Reptilian brain drives conditions to survive. If the body is under chronic high stress, it shifts gears to survival, and systems such as reproduction cease to function at their peak. The Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Ovary Axis (HPO) that regulates fertility hormones like FSH is directly impacted. Imbalanced cortisol levels from high stress cause changes in hormone levels, libido, and menstrual cycle. FSH levels may unnaturally increase affecting the normal maturation process of the follicle, causing the hypothalamus to pulse faster increasing FSH levels. * FSH is the hormone that is impacted most by stress throughout the reproduction cycle.
Strategies to reduce your Elevated FSH levels:
✔️ Before commencing your IVF cycle, please always test your FSH levels on day 2. If you have elevated FSH levels you may respond poorly to your treatment and not have the desired outcome for egg collection or your transfer.
✔️ Meditation, yoga, nature and self care practices reduce the stress hormone cortisol. Reducing stress regulates your hormones, FSH levels and menstrual cycle.
✔️ Nutrition plays a role in reducing inflammation (cytokines), regulating your cycle and improving egg quality. The right nutrition reduces FSH and nourishes yin.
Amanda is the founder of Angea and has over 12 years of experience working with women to support their health journey. In addition to being a registered doctor of Chinese medicine, Amanda is a yoga teacher and founder of Mindful Pregnancy Yoga Training. Amanda offers acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and womb healing treatments at Angea.