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Menopause. 1999 Spring;6(1):29-35.

Serum follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone levels in women aged 35-60 in the U.S. population: the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III, 1988-1994).

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Division of Environmental Hazards and Health Effects, National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30341, USA.



The objective of this study was to examine age-specific population-based values for serum follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) levels in women in the U.S. population.


Data were collected from a nationally representative cross-sectional health examination survey that included measurements of follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone and information from a personal interview. A total of 3388 women aged 35 to 60 years were examined during the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1988-1994.


Among U.S. women aged 35-60 years, median FSH and LH levels began to increase for women in their late 40s and reached a plateau for women in their early 50s. This study supports the previously reported association between serum FSH and age (i.e., serum FSH and LH levels increase with age) and smoking (i.e., current smoking was associated with an increased level of serum FSH). At FSH levels of > or = 15 IU/L or > or = 20 IU/L. 70 and 73% of women, respectively, were postmenopausal. Our study also found an interaction between age and oophorectomy. In addition, the present data suggest that women with only one ovary may have higher FSH levels than women with both of their ovaries.


NHANES III provides population-based data that support previously reported associations between serum FSH level and age, smoking, and menopausal status.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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