Can FSH Be Lowered?

Upon learning that their FSH is high, many women ask the obvious question – can FSH be lowered? It seems that anything is possible with 21st century medicine. The answer to this question is not simple:

  • FSH can be artificially suppressed exogenously (from outside the body). FSH can be artificially suppressed – for example, by taking birth control pills or synthetic estrogen.  Exogenous suppression of FSH does not necessarily improve DOR and the research as to whether FSH suppression improves conception rates and IVF outcomes is mixed.  However, the “estrogen priming” protocol does seem to have some positive affects (more on this in the What Should I Know About IVF Protocols section).
  • FSH can be artificially suppressed endogenously (from inside the body). Some women are in a situation with low/normal FSH but high estrogen levels. As the FSH trends upward, estrogen can trend upward and has the affect of artificially suppressing the FSH.  So a high estrogen level (e.g., day 3 estrodial greater than 75) can mean that the FSH is actually high. So although the FSH is low, the high estrogen level can be indicative of DOR.
  • Claims of being able to truly lower FSH (and improve ovarian reserve) are controversial.  Practitioners of TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) claim to have had some success in truly lowering FSH levels (with a resulting increase in fertility) and some studies indicate there may be some merit to these therapies (more on this in the What Should I Know About Alternative Treatments Like TCM? section).