FSH Levels in Men and Why it Matters for Fertility

By: La-Toya Williamson

Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) is a hormone released by the pituitary gland in the brain.

Normal FSH levels in adult males are typically between 1.5 to 12.4 mIU/mL. A high FSH level in a male may mean the testicles are not functioning correctly. While low FSH levels in males may indicate problems with the pituitary gland in the brain.

FSH in Males

Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) is a hormone released by the pituitary gland in the brain. In men, it stimulates testicular growth and helps produce a protein that plays a vital role in male fertility by aiding in the creation of normal sperm cells and maintaining them until they are ready to be released. Without normal FSH levels, it may be difficult or impossible to create normal sperm, leading to infertility.

FSH levels can be detected using a simple blood test. Normal FSH levels in adult males are typically between 1.5 to 12.4 mIU/mL (although what counts as a normal value may differ slightly from lab to lab, as some labs have different testing standards).

A high FSH level in a male may mean the testicles are not functioning correctly. Causes of this may include damage to the testicles (from radiation, trauma, or alcohol abuse), genetic problems, advancing age, hormonal disorders, certain medications (like pain medications or steroids), diseases such as HIV/AIDS or Type 2 diabetes, or (in rare cases) tumors of the pituitary gland.

Low FSH levels in males may mean the pituitary gland in the brain is not functioning properly. (This is less common than high FSH.)

Treatment for Abnormal FSH Levels in Men

Treatment for male fertility problems related to FSH depend on the origin of the problem. Generally, abnormal FSH levels will lead to further testing to determine the cause of the problem. In some cases, as with diseases or genetic conditions, the problem may already be known. Often, testosterone therapy is given to men with high FSH levels, since high FSH can lead to low testosterone; this can help increase fertility in these men. In other cases, treating the underlying cause of the abnormal FSH levels will correct the problem. If this is impossible, fertility treatments (such as IVF) may be used to help achieve pregnancy.

You can read more about other male fertility testing options here.

Sources:

http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/118810-overview
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10456180
https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003710.htm

This post originally published here: http://blog.episona.com/fsh-levels-in-men