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HomeAnswersInfertilityfollicle stimulating hormoneI am a 40-year-old woman with endometriosis, and my FSH reading has elevated after stopping birth control. Why?

Is it normal for a woman to have elevated FSH levels after stopping birth control?

The following is an actual conversation between an iCliniq user and a doctor that has been reviewed and published as a Premium Q&A.

Answered by

Dr. Sameer Kumar

Medically reviewed by

iCliniq medical review team

Published At September 2, 2022
Reviewed AtOctober 11, 2023

Patient's Query

Hello doctor,

I have endometriosis and was on Lupron for around eight months. I then took Natazia continuously for approximately 6.5 months. I had my FSH tested three months back, and it was 1.37 mIU/mL. I wanted to test my hormones off the birth control and stopped the Natazia for seven days. I had my FSH drawn yesterday, and it was 17.5 mIU/mL. I do not have any hot flashes or night sweats, and I am wondering why there is such a discrepancy between the two readings. My estradiol was also measured, and it was 77 pg/ml. I am a 40-year-old woman and weigh around 118 lbs. My height is 62 inches.

Answered by Dr. Sameer Kumar


Welcome to icliniq.com.

As you mentioned that you stopped your birth control the last month, so ideally, any reading before the birth control stopping date should have been lower than 5 IU/mL, indicating that follicles are not developing. However, after stopping birth control, one would get her withdrawal bleed in the next seven days, and then follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) would start rising naturally following the natural course of the menstrual cycle, and hence the values of FSH indicate the proliferative stage of your fresh menstrual cycle indicating that follicles are developing. It is not perimenopause as of now; however, to establish menopause, you would need to get LH (luteinizing hormone) and AMH (anti-mullerian hormone) levels as well.

Patient's Query

Hello doctor,

Is the value of 17.5 mIU/mL on the high side for FSH seven days after the last active pill?

Answered by Dr. Sameer Kumar


Welcome back to iclinq.com.

I am mentioning the normal FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) levels in various phases of the menstrual cycle for a menstruating woman.

Follicular phase 1–9 IU/L.

Midcycle phase 6–26 IU/L.

Luteal phase 1–9 IU/L.

So a value of 17 IU/L for days 7 to 10 is fine. I just want to know whether you had withdrawal bleeding after stopping the birth control or not.

Same symptoms don't mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Dr. Sameer Kumar
Dr. Sameer Kumar

Obstetrics and Gynecology

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