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What Are the Effects of Elevated FSH?

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  • Written By: Jackie Myers
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 31 July 2014
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Elevated follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) levels can affect men, women, and children High FSH values in men can indicate Klinefelter syndrome or that the testicles are not functioning properly. In women, elevated FSH before 40 years of age effects the ovaries. Elevated FSH values in children affect the start of puberty.

FSH levels are measured to determine why a couple is having difficulty conceiving. Progesterone, estrogen, and luteinizing hormone levels are also measured. FSH levels allow physicians to determine whether ovaries and testicles are working properly. An FSH test can help determine the cause of the infertility.

High levels of FSH can help physicians diagnose men with Klinefelter's syndrome. This is a genetic disorder in which a man has an additional X chromosome. The physical symptoms associated with this disease include enlarged breasts and peanut-sized testicles. Doctors can treat this disease, if it is found early, with human chorionic gonadotropin.

In women under the age of 40, elevated FSH levels signal premature ovarian failure. This condition is known as primary ovarian insufficiency or hypergonadotropic hypogonadism. Symptoms of this condition include hot flashes, infertility, and poor concentration. There are no treatments to make a woman's ovaries function properly again, however, physicians do treat women in ovarian failure with estrogen and other hormones that the body has stopped producing.

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Elevated FSH and menopause are related, as FSH is responsible for ovulation. Each month, FSH levels rise prior to ovulation. Estrogen levels drop as the FSH values rise. Once the egg is released, the body automatically prepares itself for menstruation or pregnancy.

FSH levels that are high can indicate that a woman's body is trying to stimulate ovulation without success. Failure to ovulate is one of the initial symptoms of menopause. An FSH test allows physicians to determine if a woman is entering perimenopause, the first stage of menopause. FSH levels over a certain point indicate that a woman is in menopause.

In young children, elevated FSH levels are an indication of premature puberty. Doctors use FSH tests to help find an underlying cause, so that it can be treated. Elevated FSH in children can be related to central nervous system lesions, ovarian cysts, or hormone-secreting tumors. In delayed puberty, FSH levels are normal or below the recommended values for children in a particular age group.

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