help me interpret the FSH numbers?

llmoyer123February 3, 2002

i just received my FSH results back (and though i realize it is an imperfect test, it's the one my doctor uses). the number is 127.5 which seems excessively high to me. i had a hysterectomy 15 years ago for carcinoma in situ but still have my ovaries. therefore, i don't have the frame of reference that my periods would have provided. almost three years ago i had some quasi-menopause symptoms but they were very very mild and very short-lived so i thought they were a fluke. i went to the gyno complaining of vulvitis, urinary tract problems, and vaginitis and she felt that, though she sees no vaginal atrophying (gag), i'm not really menopausal yet (age 49). prescribed a steroid cream for relief in the area and ordered the FSH test. when it came back, she then recommended hormones. i balked a little and we "compromised on Vagifem". i plan to fill the prescription but not sure i will actually use it, in that the episodes are so few and far between and i'm so wary of estrogen under my circumstances.

my question is this: what does the FSH tell me? i can't seem to find that info anywhere. am i pre- mid- or post-menopause. MY interpretation is that i'm POST menopause and MISSED it? (i should be so lucky, huh?????) i'd love your input.

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Hi llmoyer123, I'm no expert, but I think you're there! I think about the highest it gets in a younger woman is about 33-35. I don't know how long our FSH stays high until maybe it finally gets the idea that it's not going to ever stimulate the ovaries again, and quits, or if our levels are high the rest of our lives. But........I think you're either there or pretty darned close. Lucky you!

    Bookmark   February 3, 2002 at 8:29PM
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My doctor (well versed in menopause) told me an FSH over 100 is an indication of (post) menopause. Other doctors and some books I've read say an FSH in the 40's is indicative of menopause. There are so many different definitions of pre, peri, post, and regular menopause that we can't know if they are all talking about the same thing. Who's right? I don't know, but so far this gyne has spoken more knowledgably about menopause than any other doctor I've spoken with, so I tend to believe him. I asked him if the level ever dropped back to normal, and he said no, but it does drop back somewhat, perhaps as far as the 60's.

I think when most mid life women go into their doctor's office with menopausal related complaints, an FSH is done, if it's 40 or over, the doctor figures the complaints are most likely hormonal related and will treat them accordingly. Another FSH is rarely drawn so the patient never knows how high it actually goes.

This would be a good topic for someone to investigate. Is there any valid research like a very large group of women have their FSH tested annually from say age 45 to 65 in order to get an accurate idea of how the levels fluctuate as the woman goes through the menopausal process.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2002 at 10:49PM
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Don't take the drugs unless you really want to. Carcinoma in situ meaning endometrial or uterine cancer? I'm steering clear of hormones with my endometrial cancer history. What's the point if you have no symptons to treat? But think about having your bones checked.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2002 at 10:30AM
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thanks drrazzle for your input. the carcinoma in situ was cervical which my doctor SWEARS is unrelated to the endometrial or uterine risks (but i too am a little wary). my tact right now, since i DO have post-menopausal symptoms in the vaginal/urinary tract/vulva area is to fill the prescription for vagifem but not use it until things get "critical" there. she also gave me a steroid cream for that area to relieve the uncomfortable/painful sensations when a "situation" arises. i'm wondering if i am "allowed" to use the vagifem like that: selectively when needed and not continually..... anyone know that answer?

    Bookmark   February 4, 2002 at 12:08PM
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The FSH or follicle stimulating hormone indicates whether you are or not ovulating. FSH goes up and send the message to mature an egg in the ovary. If no egg is there to be matured, from my understanding FSH stays up. If it goes up and STAYS up, you are menopausal. Mine was 50 and at that time I had symptoms too.
I read that young baby girls have thousands of eggs. Many are gone by the time we are 6. More leave or are absorbed by our teens, and so on. So when this hormone sends a signal to our ovaries to release an egg, there are no more viable eggs. I'm not sure if we run out of eggs, or our follicles are just too tired to mature and release an egg.
But the FSH level stays up...for how long I don't know.
YOu said the 60's. Would love to know the answer to that one! It just seems odd that FSH gets not feedback from something else to say, "hey, you don't have to work anymore"....There's still a lot doctors don't know...Mother Nature always has a balancing act, so it just seems odd that a hormone would go up and stay up. FSH is stimulated from the brain (if I recall correctly) so I don't know how or what turns it off, if ever. Life sure is a mystery sometimes!
June Lynn

    Bookmark   February 6, 2002 at 10:12AM
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i'm STILL the only one i know with an FSH in the hundreds 126.5)and for some reason that freaks me out a little. but since i'm not having symptoms and since the doc doesn't seem concerned, i'll try to calm myself!

thanks for the replies.


    Bookmark   February 6, 2002 at 10:24AM
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The following is excerpted form their web site. Appears that you have to use it regularly but possibly can stop it when you feel you are better? And although contraindicated for hx of uterine (endometrial) ca, it doesn't mention cervical.

"Treatment usually begins by inserting 1 VAGIFEM tablet into your vagina daily for the first 2 weeks. Thereafter, insert 1 tablet into your vagina 2 times a week, as directed by your healthcare professional. VAGIFEM can be inserted at any time of the day, but should be inserted at the same time every day.

Your AV symptoms may begin to improve within 2 weeks of starting VAGIFEM. However, it is important that you stick with your prescribed treatment plan, since it may take up to 12 weeks to feel the full benefits of the treatment. When used as directed, treatment with VAGIFEM is clinically proven to relieve the symptoms and discomfort of AV. Make sure you talk with your healthcare professional about the need to continue vaginal estrogen therapy.

Important Information: Estrogens have been reported to increase the risk of endometrial carcinoma (cancer of the uterus). Vaginal estrogen therapy should not be used by women who are pregnant or who think they may be pregnant. It should not be used immediately after childbirth or while breast-feeding, and it should not be used by women who have unusual vaginal bleeding, a history of breast or uterine cancer, or a history of blood clots. Please see product information for VAGIFEM for more information."

    Bookmark   February 6, 2002 at 10:26AM
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well, that pretty much answers my question about using it episodically (pout). thanks for checking for me! anyone know what time oprah comes on in the midwest? i'm not usually home during the day but might try to catch the menopause show today.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2002 at 10:34AM
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Just got my bloodwork back. My FSH is 103, my LH is 29.5, my estradiol is 22, my prolactin is 22.3.

I have no clue how to interpret this. Will call my GYN today, but hope someone out there can help me too.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2007 at 10:27AM
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When I saw my GYN yesterday, I showed her my test results, and explained all my symptoms. She said it's all textbook menopause. She prescribed a HRT called Activella. It's a plant-derived estrogen, and a plant-based progestin. I hope it works, because I want my quality of life back.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2007 at 7:00AM
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cheerful1, what plant is the estrogen derived from? I'm also wondering if the plant-based progestin is from wild yams. I think that's what the progesterone creams are made from, if I remember correctly.

Mrs H

    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 7:16AM
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I don't know what plants they come from, but I'll try and find out.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 8:00AM
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I just did a quick google on plant-based estrogen and progesterone and found these links. I really need to look into this further. Cheerful, I'm hoping you'll find relief with what you've been prescribed. It's something I'm interested in, too, but can't say whether it's an option yet. I'll keep you posted.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 10:13PM
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The following is a link to an article about a long term study of patterns of change in FSH that I found very informative. You will note that the upper range of the measurements of the sample pool were 128, so you are not alone!

Here is a link that might be useful: Follicle Stumulating Hormone and Its Rate of Change in Defining Menopause Transition Stages

    Bookmark   January 21, 2015 at 9:21AM
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