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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Tests and Exams > FSH


Alternate Names : Follicle-Stimulating Hormone

Overview & Description | Preparation & Expectations | Results and Values

This is a blood test that measures the amount of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) produced by the pituitary gland.

Who is a candidate for the test?

Fertility in men and women, as well as menstruation in women, are regulated by a complex interaction of hormones. The ovaries, pituitary gland, and hypothalamus produce these hormones. Follicle-stimulating hormone, or FSH, causes the follicles within the ovaries to mature.

FSH levels may be measured if the healthcare provider suspects a problem with:

  • menopause, a time in life when menstruation stops
  • ovarian cysts, which are fluid-filled sacs on the ovary
  • precocious puberty, or puberty that happens at an abnormally young age
  • delayed puberty, or puberty that hasn't occurred by the time it should
  • female infertility, or inability to become pregnant
  • male infertility, or the inability to impregnate a woman
  • anovulatory bleeding, which is abnormal vaginal bleeding not related to a regular menstruation cycle
  • amenorrhea, or the absence of menstruation
  • testes that are absent or abnormally small
  • How is the test performed?

    A blood sample is taken from a vein on the forearm or hand. First, the skin over the vein is cleaned with an antiseptic. Next, a strong rubber tube, or "tourniquet," is wrapped around the upper arm. This enlarges the veins in the lower arm by restricting blood flow through them. A fine needle is gently inserted into a vein, and the tourniquet is removed. Blood flows from the vein through the needle, and is collected in a syringe or vial. After the needle is withdrawn, the puncture site is covered for a short time to prevent bleeding. The blood sample is sent to the laboratory to determine the amount of FSH circulating in the blood.


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    FSH: Preparation & Expectations

    Author: Eva Martin, MD
    Reviewer: Joan McNicholl, PharmD
    Date Reviewed: 09/20/01

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