Research Article

The significance of FSH elevation in young women with disorders of ovulation.

Br Med J 1980; 281 doi: (Published 29 November 1980) Cite this as: Br Med J 1980;281:1447
  1. C O'Herlihy,
  2. R J Pepperell,
  3. J H Evans


    High serum follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) values are consistent with ovarian failure. We studied the progress of 67 women aged under 35 years with oligomenorrhoea or secondary amenorrhoea in whom the serum FSH value was greater than 20 U/1. Twenty-four patients remained amenorrhoeic, but 17 ovulated and six conceived, two on two occasions. Coincident mean serum luteinising hormone (LH) concentrations were significantly lower and mean total urinary oestrogen concentrations were significantly higher in patients who subsequently ovulated, but the degree of increase in FSH did not correlate well with later ovarian function. Treatment with oestrogens, clomiphene citrate, human pituitary gonadotrophin, and bromocriptine was of no benefit in inducing an ovarian response while FSH concentrations remained raised. Our results suggest that a considerable proportion of younger women with ovulatory disorders associated with FSH values in the menopausal range will spontaneously resume ovulation and some will conceive.