What is a FSH test?

This test checks how much of “FSH”(follicle-stimulating hormone) is in your blood or urine. It’snot enough to diagnose a condition, and you’ll probably take otherhormone blood tests at the same time, if your doctor thinks you needthem.

A hormone is a chemical that your body makes that controls an organor certain things that your body does. FSH is one of the hormones that’sinvolved in reproduction.

Both men and women make this hormone. It helps women release theireggs and men to make sperm. Not having enough of this hormone can make itharder to get pregnant. Or having too much of it can cause the sameproblem.

Your pituitary gland, which is located just belowyour brain, makes FSH and releases it into your bloodstream.

Why You Might Get It?

Your doctor may suggest this test for the following reasons:

  • Problems getting pregnant.

  • Irregular periods. For women, yourperiod has stopped or isn’t happening when it should.

  • Menopause. The FSH test can predictwhen women will naturally stop having her period, which usually happens afterthe age of 45.

  • Low sperm count. This could alsoinclude symptoms like lower sex drive or muscle mass.

  • Early or late puberty. For kids whostart puberty earlier or later than normal, the hormone test is one way to tellif there’s a bigger problem involving the hypothalamus (area ofthe brain that controls the pituitary gland), the pituitary itself,ovaries, testicles or other parts of your body.

  • Pituitary or hypothalamusdisorders. Problems here can affect how much FSH are made in your body.Other symptoms include fatigue, weight loss, and lower appetite.


What the Test Involves?

You don’t need to do anything special to prepare for this test.

There are two ways your doctor can check your FSH level.

Blood test: Your doctor, physician assistant, or another health careworker would use a needle to take a small amount of blood from a vein in yourarm. This might feel a bit uncomfortable, but it’s a very quick process. Youmay have some mild bruising in that area, but this should go away in a fewdays.

Urine test: Your doctor could ask you to give a pee sample, or several over a24-hour period. The 24-hour process gives a more accurate look at your FSHlevel, which can change throughout the day.

Results

The results will be a number that measures FSH in what’s called“milli-international units per milliliter” (mlU/ML). The healthy range variesdepending on your gender and age (and for women, where you are in yourmenstrual cycle or if you’re in menopause).

A high or low FSH level isn’t enough for your doctor to make anydiagnosis.



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