Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH): About This Test

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What is it?

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

  • In women, FSH helps control the menstrual cycle and the production of eggs by the ovaries.
  • In men, FSH helps control the production of sperm.

Why is this test done?

The amounts of FSH and other hormones are measured to:

  • Find out why a couple can't become pregnant.
  • Help diagnose menstrual problems or find out whether a woman has gone through menopause.
  • See why a child is going through early or delayed puberty.
  • Help diagnose certain pituitary gland problems, such as a tumor.

How do you prepare for the test?

Up to 4 weeks before the test, you may be asked to stop taking birth control pills or other medicines that contain estrogen or progesterone.

What happens during the test?

A health professional uses a needle to take a blood sample, usually from an arm.

For a woman who is having problems with her menstrual cycle or who cannot become pregnant, more than one blood sample may be needed to help identify a follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) problem. A sample may be taken each day for several days in a row.

How long does the test take?

The test will take a few minutes.

What happens after the test?

  • You will probably be able to go home right away, depending on the reason for the test.
  • You can go back to your usual activities right away.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to keep a list of the medicines you take. Ask your doctor when you can expect to have your test results.

Where can you learn more?

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.