Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH)

FSH stands for follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH).

This hormone is released by the anterior pituitary gland.

In women, FSH stimulates production of eggs and a hormone called estradiol during the first half of the menstrual cycle.

In men, FSH stimulates production of sperm.

This article discusses the test to check the level of FSH in the blood.

How the Test is performed -
Blood is been strained from a vein, frequently within the elbow otherwise the back of the hand. The site is cleaned by means of germ-killing medicine (antiseptic). The health care provider wraps an elastic band in the region of the upper arm to apply pressure to the area and make the vein swell up with blood.

Subsequently, the health care provider tenderly introduces a needle into the vein. The blood accumulates into a sealed vial or tube attached to the needle. The elastic band is detached from your arm.

Once the blood has been accumulated, the needle is detached, and the puncture site is enclosed to stop the bleeding.

A sharp tool known as a Lancet may be used to perforate the skin and make it bleed in infants or young children. The blood assembles into a small glass tube called a pipette, or onto a slide or test strip.
A bandage may be positioned over the area if there is any bleeding.

How to Prepare for the Test -
If you are a woman of childbearing age, your health care provider may want you to get the blood test on certain days of your menstrual cycle.

How the Test Will Feel -
When the needle is interleaved to draw blood, some people feel moderate pain, while others feel only a prick or stinging sensation. Afterward, there may be some throbbing.

Why the Test is performed -
If you have signs of certain reproductive or pituitary disorders, your doctor may order this test. During some circumstances, it may also be done to verify menopause.
The FSH test is frequently done to help diagnose problems with sexual development, menstruation, and fertility.

The test is used to help diagnose or evaluate:
  • Menopause
  • Women who have disease polycystic ovary disease, cysts ovarian cysts, irregular vaginal bleeding, or infertility
  • Children who start sexual development at a very young age
  • Men who have infertility
  • Men who do not have testicles or whose testicles are underdeveloped
Normal Results -

Normal FSH levels will vary depending on a person's age and gender.
  • Male
    • Before puberty: 0-5.0 IU/L*
    • During puberty: 0.3-10.0 IU/L
    • Adult: 1.5-12.4 IU/L or 5 to 20 mIU/mL
  • Female
    • Before puberty: 0-5.0 IU/L
    • During puberty: 0.3-10.0 IU/L
    • Women who are menstruating: 3.5-3.0 IU/L or 5-20 m U/L
    • Postmenopausal: 40-250 IU/L or 50 mIU/mL to 100 mIU/mL
    • Pregnant women: too low to measure
Note: Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.
* IU/L = international units per liter

What Abnormal Results Mean
Disorders that may be associated with abnormal FSH results include:
  • Hypopituitarism
  • Klinefelter syndrome
  • Polycystic ovary disease
  • Turner syndrome
  • Ovarian failure (ovarian hypofunctionovarian hypo function)
  • Ovarian or adrenal cancers
  • Puberty Precocious in girls and boys
  • Anorexia
The test may also be performed for:
  • Anovulatory bleeding
  • Multiple endocrine Neoplasia (MEN)
  • Ovarian cysts
Arteries and Veins vary in size from one patient to another and from one side of the body to the other. Obtaining a blood sample from some people may be more difficult than from others.
Other risks associated with having blood drawn are slight but may include:
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Fainting or feeling light-headed
  • Hematoma (blood accumulating under the skin)
  • Infection (a slight risk any time the skin is broken)
Alternative Names
Follicle stimulating hormone
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