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Follicle Stimulating Hormone


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Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) is a hormone synthesized and secreted by gonadotropes in the anterior pituitary gland. In the ovary FSH stimulates the growth of immature Graafian follicles to maturation. As the follicle grows it releases inhibin, which shuts off the FSH production. In men, FSH enhances the production of androgen-binding protein by the Sertoli cells of the testes and is critical for spermatogenesis. FSH and LH act synergistically in reproduction.

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Purpose of the test

The Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH) levels test measures the amount of FSH in the blood. FSH is produced by the pituitary gland and plays a crucial role in sexual development and functioning. In women, it regulates the menstrual cycle and stimulates egg growth in the ovaries, with peak levels occurring just before ovulation. For men, FSH controls sperm production. In children, FSH levels are typically low until puberty, where it signals the ovaries in girls to produce estrogen and the testes in boys to produce testosterone. Abnormal FSH levels can lead to various health issues, including infertility, menstrual irregularities, and early or delayed puberty.

Who Should Get Tested

Women may require this test if they face infertility, have irregular menstrual cycles, or suspect the onset of menopause or perimenopause. Men might need the test if they have fertility issues or a decreased sex drive. Both genders might undergo testing if they show symptoms of a pituitary disorder. Children might be tested to determine the onset of puberty, especially if it appears too early or too late.

Blood Test Preparation Guidelines
Time of day
It is recommended to schedule your appointment for blood tests in the morning hours between 7:00-10:00.
It is recommended to fast for approximately 12 hours before blood sampling. The last meal of the previous day should ideally be consumed around 6:00 p.m. On the day before the test, avoid heavy and fatty meals as well as alcohol.
Stay hydrated
Drinking water prior to testing can help with sample collection.
Other factors
Tests should not be performed after a sleepless night or intense physical activity. It is recommended to avoid exercise and stress immediately before blood collection and to not smoke. A short rest is recommended.
Medications and supplements:
Blood samples should be collected before the morning dose. Some drugs can interfere with test results. Consult with your doctor whether you can delay your dose because of lab tests.
Biotin supplements:
High doses of biotin supplements can affect test results, causing false elevation or reduction. It's recommended to avoid taking biotin for at least 72 hours before blood collection. If you are taking biotin, inform the personnel collecting the blood so that they can provide specific instructions.
Interpreting Test Results

FSH results interpretation varies based on gender and age. High FSH levels in women might indicate conditions like Primary Ovarian Insufficiency (POI), Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), menopause, ovarian tumors, or Turner syndrome. Low levels might suggest issues with the ovaries, pituitary gland, hypothalamus, or being underweight. In men, high FSH levels might indicate testicular damage or Klinefelter syndrome, while low levels could suggest problems with the pituitary gland or hypothalamus. In children, FSH levels can indicate the onset of puberty or disorders causing early or delayed puberty.

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