For a couple looking to start a family, the discovery that infertility is standing in their way can be quite devastating. Infertility occurs when the ability to become pregnant is difficult, sometimes even completely impossible. Both men and women can experience issues with their fertility.
According to one publication, an estimated 10% of adult women in the United States, which would equate to around 6.1 million women, have fertility-related issues that are making it difficult for them to become pregnant. These statistics account for women between the ages of 18 and 44.
In this post, we are going to take a look at what an AMH test can really tell you. We will consider the purpose of the test during fertility treatment and also take a look at specific factors that may affect the results of a standard AMH test.
What Is AMH?
When follicles grow in the ovaries, they contain granulosa cells. During the earlier stages of the follicle’s development, the granulosa cells would produce anti-Mullerian hormones. These hormones are sometimes referred to simply as AMH. They are usually thought to be a good indicator of follicle growth in the ovaries. This is one of the reasons an AMH test might be recommended when someone is struggling to become pregnant.
An AMH test is able to provide a physician information on the overall quantity of follicle growth within the ovaries. While this is useful in certain situations, it should be noted that an AMH test does not provide information on the quality of the follicles.
When a woman undergoes fertility treatment, this is one of the most popular tests that is usually conducted in order to determine whether or not treatment is working. The results can help a physician see how the follicles are responding to the fertility medication that is being used. If needed, making adjustments in the dosage or type of medicine, can help improve a woman’s chances of becoming pregnant.
This is not the only function of an AMH test, however. Researchers have found that the results of these tests can provide more details regarding the reproductive health of a woman.
According to one study, for example, the use of an AMH test plays a role in the diagnosis and treatment of a condition known as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Another study states that this particular test can also provide valuable data when it comes to the detection and diagnosis of folliculoma, a type of ovarian tumor.
How Do AMH Levels Affect Fertility?
When an AMH test is conducted, the result provides an overview of the new follicles that are growing in the woman’s ovaries. The hormone is only produced by follicles during the early stages of their development. This test has become a standard for fertility testing. However, many women do not understand why doctors conduct the test in order to see if fertility treatments are working.
The idea behind an AMH test is to detect the pool of follicles in the ovaries that are growing. Researchers have found that the number of follicles growing at any particular time is influenced by the pool of primordial follicles that still remains within the ovaries.
This essentially means that an AMH test allows a physician to gain a general overview of the egg supply that still remains in the woman’s ovaries. This is often referred to as the ovarian reserve.
When an AMH blood test results come back, they will be placed into one of five categories. These include high, normal, low normal, low, and very low. The interpretations are as follows:
- When AMH levels are higher than 3.0 ng/ml, then it is high. This is often considered a potential indicator of a condition known as PCOS.
- A normal AMH range is between 1.0 ng/ml and 2.9 ng/ml.
- When AMH levels are between the range of 0.7 ng/ml and 0.9 ng/ml, then the classification would be “low normal.”
- AMH is considered low when the level falls between 0.3 ng/ml and 0.6 ng/ml.
- A very low interpretation is made when the level of AMH falls below 0.3 ng/ml.
What Is The Correlation With FSH?
Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) is also monitored during fertility treatment. This is a hormone that the pituitary gland produces. Once the pituitary gland produces FSH, it helps with the growth of follicles, as well as eggs in the ovaries of a woman. This occurs on a monthly basis. The result is follicles and eggs that eventually mature.
A high level of FSH means the body is pushing the ovaries to produce follicles. Many women who do have a high FSH level tend to have a low AMH level. This is because the number of follicles in the ovaries may be on the lower side. When this occurs, the pituitary gland will start to produce more FSH in order to enhance stimulation to try and cause more follicles to grow in the ovaries of the female patient.
Factors That May Affect AMH Levels
When it comes to a test that provides a reading on AMH levels in the female body, it is important to understand that there are certain factors that can affect the test results, as well as the levels that are present in the body at any given point in time. Age is one of the most important factors to consider. Older women, especially as they come closer to menopause, tend to have a significantly lower level of AMH compared to healthy younger women.
There are certain factors in a woman’s daily life that may have a further impact on AMH levels. One study found that the exposure to pyrethroids, found in various types of paints, can lower AMH levels by as much as 25%. Alcohol was also found to have an adverse impact on AMH levels.
An AMH test is often used as an indicator of female fertility. It can also be used to determine if specific fertility treatments implemented are successful. While the test does provide an accurate measurement in terms of the quantity of follicles active in the ovaries, additional tests may still be required to provide an overview of follicle quality. There are also certain factors, including outside elements, that can have an impact on the results of an AMH test.
If you still have questions regarding fertility treatment options, we’re here to help! You can always reach out to Reproductive Sciences Medical Center at fertile.com or call (858) 436-7186 to schedule a free consultation.