Alternate Names : Follicle-Stimulating Hormone
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 After the needle is withdrawn, the puncture site is covered for a short time to prevent bleeding.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.