Studies demonstrate a correlation between elevated AMH levels and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and elevated AMH levels, leading to problems such as irregular menstruation, androgenization (the development of male-like characteristics such as facial hair or acne), obesity and an ultrasound appearance with multiple antral follicles.
An elevated AMH level may prevent an egg that’s ready to release from ever being released; adding AMH as part of Rotterdam criteria could improve diagnostic accuracy for women with PCOS.
What is AMH?
AMH (or testicles in males) produces AMH to help regulate ovarian function. As women age, their AMH levels decrease gradually with menopause approaching; then suddenly drop dramatically as menopause approaches further. Low AMH may make natural conception harder or increase the risk of early menopause or infertility.
An AMH blood test involves having your blood sample collected via a small needle inserted into a vein in your arm, usually within five minutes. As part of an initial fertility workup, AMH tests may include additional steps, like ultrasound ovaries and pelvic exam testing.
As well as helping assess your ovarian reserve, AMH levels can also provide useful diagnostic clues about conditions that can hinder fertility, such as polycystic ovary syndrome. This condition occurs when cysts form on ovaries that contain immature eggs; high AMH levels in these immature egg-containing follicles may lead to irregular periods or difficulty getting pregnant.
AMH testing can also predict how well women will react to fertility medicine, including in vitro fertilization (IVF). Doctors prescribe these fertility pills which prompt your ovaries to produce multiple eggs for fertilization – increasing your chance of conception. AMH levels can help determine how many eggs remain and when puberty might arrive.
If your AMH levels fall below average, our team of doctors and fertility advisors can discuss all available treatments – such as egg freezing or IVF therapy – that could increase your chance of conception.
As AMH levels vary depending on when and how often a woman cycles, it’s essential that you monitor them over time. A healthcare provider can explain your AMH test results as well as offer information on laboratory reference ranges. Tests for AMH may be administered at doctor’s offices, fertility clinics, or home test kits – though as AMH testing is relatively new it would be wiser to have it performed by healthcare professionals for accuracy and reliability purposes.
AMH Test Results
Women with low AMH levels tend to have reduced egg reserves, making pregnancy harder over time as their reproductive years wind down and their levels decline steadily during their reproductive years until menopause sets in. Although AMH doesn’t predict when or how you will get pregnant, it does provide doctors with a snapshot of your current egg reserve and allow for earlier diagnosis of any potential pregnancy issues.
AMH levels typically start rising during adolescence and reach their highest point at 25 years old, before gradually declining until menopause begins, reaching near zero at its onset. Women with higher AMH levels have an abundance of eggs that increases their chances of pregnancy more than those with lower levels.
Women struggling to conceive but with very low AMH levels may require treatment to increase their chances of conception, such as fertility surgery or medications to induce ovulation induction. Unfortunately, women with such low levels are unlikely to conceive naturally regardless of any interventions they undergo.
Egg freezing could also help preserve fertility if AMH levels drop too low; this option can be especially helpful for women with PCOS as their AMH levels tend to be two or three times higher than in women without PCOS who ovulate normally.
Before proceeding with an AMH test, speak to your physician first. He or she will explain its results and their significance for both overall health and fertility. The test itself is generally safe with slight pain or bruising at the site of injection being the only side effects.
No universal answer exists when it comes to AMH testing; different labs have various reference ranges. As a good starting point, compare your AMH level against that of others within your age group and consult your physician regarding average AMH levels for similar diagnoses so as to ensure you’re making accurate comparisons.
AMH is produced by granulosa cells during the early phase of ovarian development known as primordial follicle stage. AMH levels drop as the follicle grows larger; by preantral or small antral stages (less than 8mm in diameter), production of AMH has nearly vanished completely.
Thus, AMH measurements are useful only in gauging the remaining ovarian reserves and do not provide information regarding egg quality or their ability to fertilize and form embryos.
Women diagnosed with PCOS tend to have higher than usual blood levels of androgens like testosterone. This can cause issues in the ovaries and increase their risk for high AMH levels; indeed, high AMH levels have been identified among many PCOS women and linked with symptoms like irregular menstrual cycles and hirsutism.
If you are considering fertility treatment, your doctor may order an AMH blood test to help estimate how many potential eggs there may still be left for use. The higher your AMH levels are, the more potential eggs exist.
However, AMH testing cannot give any reliable information regarding your natural fertility or how likely it is for a successful conception with healthy diet, exercise and other lifestyle elements.
Similar to AMH, AMH cannot accurately indicate when you will reach menopause; nor can it predict when your ovaries will cease producing eggs naturally.
As AMH levels have only ever been tested on women with fertility problems and not in an age-matched, healthy population, the AMH averages used by doctors to compare your results aren’t reliable.
There are, fortunately, ways you can increase your chances of pregnancy if your AMH levels are low. These methods include taking medication to stimulate ovulation or getting a transvaginal ultrasound done – these tests will count how many follicles there are in your ovaries and complement AMH testing results to provide a full picture of how ovulating is happening and your ability to become pregnant.
AMH production levels in the body is an indicator of ovarian reserve; however, they do not serve as a comprehensive test for fertility or ability to conceive. Therefore, it’s essential that one understand what an AMH test can and cannot tell them.
Women living with PCOS often have higher AMH levels as they experience multiple follicles forming on their ovaries, although not always to maturity that release an egg – instead these follicles often develop into cysts which impede fertility and could prevent pregnancy from taking place.
Low AMH levels could indicate that a woman’s pool of potential eggs has begun to deplete, often due to age but also due to chemotherapy, genetic inheritance or smoking. A woman with low AMH levels may still be able to become pregnant through natural methods or IVF treatment.
Studies have indicated that having lower AMH levels could shorten a woman’s reproductive window, as she will have fewer eggs left and may find success more challenging when trying to become pregnant naturally or through egg freezing or IVF.
If your AMH levels are low, it is essential that you immediately visit a reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist for guidance on the best course of action and services designed to help get pregnant faster.
Though no single hormone test can guarantee pregnancy, an AMH level test can serve as an effective companion to other tests and treatments in helping doctors estimate how many eggs may exist in each ovary and whether there is sufficient ovarian reserve to support conception.
AMH (ovarian stimulating hormone) is a protein produced by cells in the ovaries that can be measured through a simple blood test. AMH levels increase gradually throughout childhood before peaking around puberty; they gradually decline until eventually becoming undetectable shortly before menopause, making this test invaluable in assessing fertility and helping women understand what their options for pregnancy might be.