Thursday, October 15, 2009

44 Year Old with High FSH "Can I Get Pregnant?"

I just turned 44 (today!). My periods were pretty regular up until 16 months ago when they suddenly stopped. I've had one period in 16 months, and have had my FSH levels tested twice in the past twelve months. The first time they tested, it was 112. The second time, it had dropped to 86. Estrogen levels were "normal," but they didn't give me a figure. Both doctors who have tested me said that I'm in full menopause, though I've had no other symptoms other than the missed periods.
I've recently started seriously dating someone. He's been tested for all STDs (and is fine, as am I), and we had unprotected sex yesterday. And suddenly, this morning, my period seems to have started!
I assumed because of the FSH levels and the missed periods that I cannot get pregnant, but was hoping to confirm this--is it possible to get pregnant given the FSH levels and missed periods?
Thanks in advance for any help you can provide!

~beth (in Baltimore)
Hello Beth from the U.S.,
Happy Birthday! Based on the FSH levels, you are in menopause, and by the way, congratulations on the new relationship. I can't explain the bleeding but that is definitely abnormal. I doubt that it is due to pregnancy, but cannot be sure without any further testing. I recommend that you get checked. In addition, considering how young you are to be in menopause, you might want to consider starting on some form of hormone replacement therapy. The lack of estrogen production will be detrimental to your body in many ways, including vaginal lubrication. Despite all the negative press releases about hormone replacement, recent studies are showing benefit if the woman starts at the time or near the time of menopause. That is why I recommend it. I use a low-dose birth control pill in my young woman because the menopausal formulations are not made for the estrogen requirements of the younger woman's higher metabolism. That should take care of any more abnormal bleeding episodes and make your cycles regular again. More than likely, the bleeding was a last hurrah from your uterus. We call it dysfunctional bleeding, but it still needs an evaluation.

Good Luck,

Edward J. Ramirez, M.D., FACOG
Executive Medical Director
The Fertility and Gynecology Center
Monterey Bay IVF Program

Monterey, California, U.S.A.

for additional information check out my blog at check me out on facebook and twitter with me at @montereybayivf

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