If you’re trying to conceive or considering fertility treatments, you may have heard of AMH levels.
Your doctor may have mentioned doing an AMH test to see what your AMH level is.
But what exactly does this hormone do? How does it affect your chances of getting pregnant? And how can you increase your levels if they’re too low?
Don’t worry! We’ve got answers to all these questions and more.
What Are AMH Levels?
AMH, or Anti-Müllerian hormone, is a hormone produced by cells in the ovaries. It regulates the growth of the follicles up to the antral stage. The follicles from this stage are then stimulated by the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) to mature into the dominant follicle.
Your AMH level can be detected through a blood test.
AMH levels can be used as a marker of ovarian reserve, or how many eggs are left in your ovaries. High AMH levels may indicate a high ovarian reserve, while low AMH levels may indicate a diminished ovarian reserve.
AMH results also help doctors determine how many of the eggs in your ovarian reserve are healthy eggs. Determining egg quality is important when deciding next steps in a fertility journey.
The interpretation of AMH levels is complex, so it’s important to have a good doctor on your side to evaluate what your results mean for you.
How Do AMH Levels Affect Fertility?
AMH levels are important because adequate levels of this hormone help to keep the follicles in the ovaries from growing too big.
During the follicular stage, AMH regulates the growth of primary follicles until they are ready to be stimulated by FSH. AMH also controls the number of follicles that are recruited for maturing in each cycle.
Women who have higher levels of AMH tend to have better-quality eggs, which can lead to better fertility outcomes.
As we age, our egg count naturally declines due to the aging process and other factors like stress or hormonal imbalances. Having fewer eggs later in life is often a source of fertility struggles.
The higher your AMH levels are the more likely you are to have healthy eggs that are capable of being fertilized and creating a viable pregnancy.
What Is a Normal AMH Range?
A normal AMH level in blood is between 1 and 4 ng/mL. While these seem like tiny numbers, this is a very broad range.
This range is widely accepted as the standard. However, your doctor may have a narrower threshold for what they consider normal.
A normal AMH level means that there are plenty of eggs available for fertilization and implantation. This increases your chances of conceiving naturally.
If you have an AMH level below 1.5 ng/mL, it could indicate that your egg supply is declining. While this may be cause for concern, it’s not always a sign that you can’t get pregnant naturally.
Remember, you only need one healthy egg to get pregnant!
Your AMH level can also be too high. Levels over 10 ng/ml may be a sign of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
PCOS can also contribute to infertility because it creates small ovarian cysts. It can then be difficult for the ovaries to release an egg during the menstrual cycle.
If you choose to see fertility specialists, PCOS may be one of the first issues that they look for. Someone with polycystic ovary syndrome will likely need to know how to decrease AMH levels.
What causes low AMH?
Several factors can lead to low AMH levels, including:
- Age: Older women tend to produce fewer, lower-quality eggs and thus have lower AMH levels.
- Poor diet: Certain foods like dairy or high dietary fat intake may negatively affect AMH levels.
- Genetics: Some women simply have lower AMH levels.
Is It Possible to Increase AMH Levels?
Now on to the big question!
For some women, it is possible to increase AMH levels naturally. It takes some work, but natural improvement can be achieved.
However, it’s important to remember that high AMH levels are not 100% necessary to get pregnant naturally. Some studies have shown that younger women with low AMH levels were still able to get pregnant on their own.
If age is not the main reason for your low AMH levels, here are some ways to increase your AMH levels.
How to Increase AMH Levels?
These are a few ways to increase AMH levels naturally. If none of these methods increase your AMH value, your doctor may prescribe fertility medications to improve ovarian function.
- Eat a balanced diet: You may be wondering what foods increase AMH levels since that’s an easy shift that you can make. A diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, and lean protein can help to improve overall health and hormone balance. Eating fast food, dairy products, or a high-fat diet may work against your goal. These dietary changes are great for anyone, but they can be especially helpful as a “fertility diet”.
- Reduce your stress: High levels of stress can impact hormone levels and fertility. Try engaging in stress-reducing activities such as yoga, meditation, or exercise. One study showed Shamana and Shodhana therapies as possible ways to improve AMH levels.
- Supplement with vitamin D: One supplement to consider for low AMH levels is vitamin D. How much vitamin D is needed to increase AMH levels is unique to each person. One study examined women taking 50,000 IU weekly and saw positive results. You may consider asking your doctor to check your vitamin D levels before beginning a supplement.
- Consultation with the specialist: Seeing a fertility specialist is a great next step. They can help to determine if any underlying medical conditions may be impacting your AMH levels. They will also be able to provide personalized advice and recommend any necessary treatments.
Can I Get Pregnant With Low AMH Levels?
The short answer is yes!
One study showed that in women with low AMH levels (less than 0.7 ng/ml), 65% successfully conceived within six cycles. And even better, 84% of these women conceived within 12 cycles.
When compared to women with normal AMH levels, these rates aren’t much different. Within six cycles, 62% conceived. Within 12 cycles, 75% conceived.
The longer answer is that every person is unique.
While having low AMH levels doesn’t mean that you can’t get pregnant. Low AMH levels simply mean that there’s a possibility that you will experience more difficulty getting pregnant.
It’s important to have additional tools and guidance from professionals if you have low AMH levels.
If you struggle to get pregnant, there is good news. Low AMH levels should not disqualify you from IVF or other fertility treatments.
Even if you can’t conceive naturally with low AMH levels, there are still other possibilities to explore.
How Do AMH Levels Relate to Menopause?
Because AMH levels detect ovarian reserve, they can also indicate if you’re nearing menopause. Lower ovarian reserve means fewer eggs remaining and that menopause is closer.
There is no perfect way to predict how many cycles you have left before menopause begins or exactly what your ovarian reserve looks like. Not even AMH levels can tell you that.
The imminent onset of early menopause is only one explanation for a low AMH level and isn’t the cause for everyone.
But if you’re nearing the end of the normal reproductive age and getting closer to the average age for menopause, this may be one factor to consider.
How Do AMH Levels Affect IVF?
Most doctors will recommend an AMH test before proceeding with an In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) cycle. This is because they need to know how many eggs can be retrieved in a cycle.
An AMH test wouldn’t disqualify you as a candidate. It simply gives the doctor more information about what might need to be done.
The good news is that fertility treatments, such as IVF, are effective at helping women conceive even when they have a low AMH level.
In one study, higher age made it more difficult to conceive with IVF, but low AMH levels did not.
A Quick Recap
- AMH levels provide information about your ovarian reserve, such as how many eggs are left in your ovaries and how healthy they are.
- Some women can still conceive naturally with low AMH levels.
- Age is the biggest factor in low AMH levels, but they can also be caused by diet or other environmental factors.
- AMH levels can be increased through improved diet, decreased stress, increased vitamin D, and other treatments.
- Low AMH levels do not always indicate menopause is around the corner.
- Low AMH levels do not mean that IVF or other fertility treatments won’t work.