Menopause is a physiological condition which is characterized by the end of the reproductive age of a female. A female menstruates i.e. has regular monthly cycles, during her reproductive age, interrupted only by pregnancy and lactation. Menopause usually affects female between the age group of 45 to 55 years.
Follicle stimulating Hormone (FSH) is an important hormone which is released from the pituitary gland and regulates the production of hormones like estrogen, progesterone and testosterone by the ovaries.
What Is FSH Level In Menopause Normally?
Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) stimulates the ovary to produce egg follicles during each menstrual cycle. Under normal conditions, FSH levels rise during ovulation (which occurs during the mid of the cycle), followed by steep drop. The levels of FSH have a reverse effect on the levels of Estradiol (estrogen), which fall when FSH rises and vice versa.
The FSH levels in a female don’t stay constant through the menstrual cycle and may vary through the cycle, peaking around mid of the cycle and then dropping rapidly.
During Peri-menopause, the FSH levels rise above 25mIU/ml while during menopause the levels rise to around 50 mIU/ml. High levels of FSH are the result of the body’s attempt to stimulate the ovulation. Most experts suggest that the fluctuation can be highly erratic in nature and hormone levels should not be considered as indicative of menopause.
Symptoms Of High FSH Levels In Menopause
The alteration in the levels of FSH has a direct effect on the fluctuations in the level of estrogen, which in turn leads to a host of symptoms associated with menopause.
- Elevated levels of FSH during the Peri-menopausal period results in drop in estrogen levels which causes vascular instability which leads to symptoms like hot flushes and night sweats, increased risk of atherosclerosis, migraine and increased heart rate.
- Significant drop in estrogen levels associated with peaking in the FSH levels during menopause results in symptoms including,
- Back pain, muscle pain, osteopenia and higher risk of osteoporosis. Some patients may complain of multiple joint pains.
- Breast atrophy with tenderness and swelling around the breast is a common symptom.
- Reduced skin elasticity along with sensation of formication, tingling, itching and needle pricking sensation. The skin becomes dry. Menopause is associated with sudden increase in visibility of wrinkles and fine lines under the skin.
- Psychological symptoms include fatigue, irritability, anxiety, poor memory and problems related with concentration, mood and sleep disturbances. Menopausal depression is one of the most significant psychological disturbances and needs to be treated promptly.
- Other systemic symptoms include lack of energy, urgency to urination, palpitation and breathlessness, etc.
Effects of dropped estrogen level will continue even after the menopause transition like vaginal atrophy and dry skin, however other symptoms like hot flashes and mood changes usually disappear after the transition.
Hormone replacement therapy is considered to be a treatment option; however the use of hormones is also associated with other risks including development of cancers.