What exactly does an FSH test reveal?

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-12-2004
What exactly does an FSH test reveal?
Thu, 05-13-2004 - 1:39pm
I had my first FSH test done. My doctor called and left a message saying that my levels were fine, but she didn't give much of an explanation. I called back, but she's out of the office. Can someone explain to me what exactly this means? I'm 41 and TTC with 46 yo DH. Thank you so much!
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-03-2004
Mon, 05-17-2004 - 10:08am

I am 40 and DH 44. I had FSH test done before tubal reversal. Mine came back 5.0

I know the scale is 3.5 up to I think 35

This determines how fertile you are. If you numbers are up around 17 I think you would need some help like maybe clomid etc. If you are higher possible egg donor. I am NOT sure the exact numbers, but if she said yours were fine I imagine that means you are ovulating every month and still fertile. I had to have mine done on CD3 or 4. They were VERY adiment about that. I hope I helped and didn't confuse you even more. LOL

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-28-2003
Mon, 05-17-2004 - 12:53pm

What the fsh level is suppose to do is


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-18-2004
Tue, 05-18-2004 - 5:39pm
OK here are the facts about FSH and what it means. F(ollicle) S(timulating) H(ormone) is released by the pituitary gland and it is what tells your ovaries to start producing follcles (which contain eggs). IF your ovaries are having trouble producing follicles on a particular cycle your pituitary will try and help out by producing more FSH to stimulate the ovaries a bit harder. So, this is why FSH is used to determine how difficult or easy a time your ovaries are having. NOW in order to be useful FSH MUST BE measured early in your cycle... so CD2 or CD3. The reason for this is that you need to measure FSH BEFORE your ovaries start to produce estrodial (E2). The reason for this is that the E2 will send a message to the pituitary to slow down the FSH production and what you REALLY want to get when you measure FSH is your BASELINE FSH level without the interference of the E2. SO essentially, you need FSH AND E2 BOTH measured either on CD2 or CD3 of your cycle to be able to tell if your ovaries are performing well or having difficulty that cycle. An FSH of 10 and under is considered normal when you also have an E2 which is in normal ranges. Normal E2 is under 50 in the US and under 200 in Canada and Europe. The difference is simply because different units are used to measure it... like centimeters vs. inches. So, unless your FSH and E2 levels were measured on the correct cycle days the results are not going to mean much. Also, both values need to be measured. An FSH of 5 and an E2 of 45 is normal whereas an FSH of 5 with an E2 of 400 would NOT be good as the high E2 would be 'pushing down' the FSH level giving you a false low FSH. The higher your FSH the more trouble your ovaries are having producing follicles.... when women reach menopause they have very high FSH levels because their ovaries have become unresponsive to the FSH messages from the pituitary.

Does FSH level indicate ovarian reserve? No... FSH and E2 indicate how responsive your ovaries are and it is an indication of how you will respond to fertility medications. Your ovaries DO NOT RUN OUT OF EGGS as you get older... what does happen is that your ovaries start to become less able to respond to the chemical signals from our brains. Your FSH/E2 levels will fluctuate normally from cycle to cycle. This does not mean if you have an FSH level of 18 one cycle that you will never get pregnant on your own nor does it mean that you won't have other cycles which are good with FSH/E2 within normal ranges. You need to measure FSH/E2 each CD3 to find out what YOUR normal FSH/E2 ranges are to determine what your chances of pregnancy will be. My FSH/E2 levels ranged from FSH of 5 and normal E2 to FSH of 23 and normal E2 and then some cycles my E2 was outside normal ranges. I still went on to get pregnant ... my FSH/E2 that cycle was 9.5(FSH) and E2 of 98 - Canadian. A cycle with a higher FSH level means a REDUCED chance of getting pregnant ... it does not = NO CHANCE. Of course if you consistently had FSH levels in the 20's and high E2 then you may want to consider other methods of pregnancy such as donor eggs.

So... hope this helps explain things.... make sure your doctor did the test on the correct cycle day and ASK FOR THE FSH and E2 levels... don't just accept ... "it came back normal".

Best of luck..... Pat

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-13-2004
Tue, 05-18-2004 - 5:44pm

Thank you so much for that explanation. I just had my FSH test done (day 3) and waiting for the results. It really helps to know what the numbers mean and to ask for all information.

Thank you for sharing!



(age 42, TTC #1)

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-28-2003
Tue, 05-18-2004 - 5:47pm

Pat good point I should of mentioned to also get your e2 level checked.


iVillage Member
Registered: 12-26-2003
Wed, 05-19-2004 - 11:51pm

I see the ladies gave you a lot of great info on this so I thought I'd just post to send you some **********Baby Dust***************for good luck!!!!!!!!

Lilypie Baby Days