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Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) Test

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What it FSH?

FSH is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland. FSH causes follicles - the sacs in your ovaries that contain eggs - to grow. FSH is the primary hormone responsible for producing eggs.

In men, FSH is necessary for sperm production.

When Should You Have FSH Levels Checked?

  • You would have your FSH levels checked if your menstrual cycle has stopped or become irregular to see if you have entered menopause.
  • If you are having trouble becoming pregnant, FSH is checked as part of the standard fertility workup.
  • In men, FSH is checked if sperm counts are low and/or if the female partner is having trouble becoming pregnant.

When Are FSH Levels Checked?

You should have your FSH level checked on day 3 of your menstrual cycle. This is because FSH starts the ovulation process by getting a follicle growing. The FSH level provides information about how hard your body has to work to get this process started. If your ovarian reserve (how many eggs you have left) is low, your body will have to work much harder and FSH levels will be higher.

What Does the FSH Test Look For?

FSH levels are used to evaluate ovarian reserve, which is how many eggs you have left. It doesn’t provide information about the quality of these eggs, however.

What Do FSH Test Results Mean?

If you are in your late 30s to age 40, high FSH levels are not normal. High FSH levels indicate poor ovarian reserve. In this condition, you may have either relatively few eggs left in the ovaries or impaired development or recruitment of the eggs. Recent research suggests that this condition may be a precursor to premature ovarian failure.

There are also some congenital or genetic conditions that can result in high levels of FSH, such as Turner Syndrome or Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia. Also, extremely rarely, high FSH levels could be the result of a pituitary tumor.

Low levels of FSH may be associated with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and disorders of the pituitary gland or hypothalamus.

In men, high levels of FSH may indicate testicular failure. Low levels of FSH may indicate failure of gonadal function.

The bottom line is that abnormally high or low levels of FSH are, unfortunately, an indicator of infertility or decreased fertility in both men and women.

Fertility Treatment and FSH Levels

If your FSH levels are abnormal, the first step is to find out if there is an underlying cause and treat it if possible. In most cases, however, there is not an underlying cause—your body simply isn’t producing the right amounts. The next step will also be determined by the results of other hormone tests. For example, if FSH is low but estradiol is high, then the estradiol may be artificially suppressing the FSH.

You may be offered a clomiphene challenge test if your FSH level is normal but you are having trouble getting pregnant. This can help to discover some cases of poor ovulation.

If your FSH levels are normal, then you will probably respond well to ovarian stimulation. As FSH levels rise, you see less response to ovarian simulation. If your FSH levels are very high, you will probably not be given fertility drugs because virtually no response would be expected.

If you are unable to become pregnant or to obtain sufficient eggs for IVF due to FSH levels, you may choose to use a donor egg with IVF.

Learn more about High FSH myths and facts here.

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Comments (111)

Hi, I am 33 and I haven't had a period for a year. My lh and fsh levels are extremely low. I am wanting to try for a baby. Can anyone explain how I can increase to get a period? Thanks kate

If you have not have your period for a year, and you want to get pregnant, you really should see a fertility doctor (reproductive endocrinologist) for a consultation. S/he will do a "fertility workup" to get a full understanding of your specific situation. Best, Claire

I'm married 27 yr old.... I'm having irregular periods from past 5-6 yr ... Now we r planning for baby by repots says I have high FSh Thyroglobulin ,antibody 29.6 AMH<0.16 T4 1.02 DHEA sulfate 242.2 Serum 167 TSH3.5 LH 21.7 FSH 42.4 I know I have to go for donor egg.... Still is there any chance getting pregnancy for my own baby?????? Some one plz help me.

I am 38 and have not had my period since losing a pregnanacy in its sixth month in June, 2013. I had an hormonal profile test did in November and test result shows LH 2.12. FSH 2.31 prolactin 4.2 and progesterone 0.62. This this means ovaries are no longer functioning? Kindly advise

I'm so sorry for your loss. You don't say if you had your blood test on day 3 of your cycle, but that is important. In addition, many doctors are doing an AMH test which they believe is a good indicator. At 38, and not getting your period, I would recommend seeing a fertility doctor, not an ob/gyn - I'm not sure if that's the case right now. Best, Claire

my doctor tested my fsh level, but not on day 3. it was the 17th day of my cycle. does this make a big difference, could this be one reason my level was high (28.4)

Yes, your FSH levels should be checked on day 3. Another good indicator of ovarian reserve is the AMH test. I would ask your doctor to recheck your FSH on day 3. Best, Claire

Hi I had a hysterectomy 7yrs ago. I had a tubal during my c-section. I still have my ovaries My Dr ran a fsh, lh, estrogen and estradiol level test. Lh is 4.0. Fsh is 7.7 Progesterone 0.4 estradiol 37.4 and estrogen 90 Can someone explain them to me please? Thanks! !

IAM 22 Y/O.MARRIED AT 19 Y.UNPROTECTED INTERCOURSE.ANXIOUS TO HAVE A BABY.CONSULTING WITH MY DGO REGULARLY.BUT INVAIN.ANY SUGGESTIONS FROM YOU I FEEL GOOD MYSELF.

I HAVE A LEVEL OF 2.9 AND AM HAVING PREGNANCY SYMPTOMS? WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

Hi Jessica, FSH is the hormone that stimulates your follicles to grow before ovulation. If you ovulated, you could be pregnant. You should consult a doctor to be sure. Best, Kim

Hope you can help me understand. My daughter was on a growth hormone for 2 1/2 years from 12 to 14 1/2. He FSH prior to starting that was a 3.5 and her LH was 0.111. Now 2 3/4 years later she FSH is 29 and her LH is 9.3 and her Dr. told me her ovaries are like what an 83 year old women. In what period of time can the numbers go up so much? Should those numbers have been tested while on the growth hormone? Could they have increased in a 6 month period. Her periods going into getting the growth hormone were only once in a blue moon and after she was done on the GH she was given a pill for 10 days to help get her period going and has had 2 periods in the last 4 months. I have been told my daughter has POF and this is just killing me. Should the Dr. have tested her FSH and LH during the 2 1/2 years she was on the GH?

Dear Sir.Last week I had my semen analysis done which showed azoospermia and then FSH showed 7.44.My wife is having polycystic ovary with amh 2.30.Can we go for IVF baby?Will be we responding to IVF treatment.We are married for past 1.3 yrs

You should really have a fertility doctor (reproductive endocrinologist) review your test results and determine if IVF is right for you. All the best, Claire

Am 26 on second day my results were FSH=6.0 and LH=6.58 and testosterone=27 please tell if its okay

Ultrasound revealed no sign of PCOS on 2nd day or cycle.blood test on that very same day showed FSH 6,LH 6.58,PRL 8... What does this mean.please help me understand cos we are going to plan for pregnancy from now

Your doctor should have explained the results of your blood work to you. If you have been trying to conceive for 6 months or longer, depending on your age, you should consider seeing a reproductive endocrinologist. You can bring your lab work with you to your consultation.

Hi, my test results are; LH 1.9, progesterone 1.8, HCG <2, oestradiol 181, FSH 3.0, TSH 3UL 0.81, prolactin 158.1, i am 25years old. Thank you

I'm 24 and recently due to an array of problems had my FSH level checked, it came out at 20 point something (can't remember exactly) the doctor said it doesn't look good for me having children in the future. I have no children so was wondering what the chances are with fertility drugs with this level? Thanks

Hi Jess,

You may be a candidate for IVF, or mini IVF, or a doctor might encourage you to use an egg donor for conceiving. It really depends on your FSH level when you do decide to try to conceive, your AMH level, and the doctor's protocol.

Best,
Kim

I did the test on the 3rd day of menses..and the FSH is 6.37 and LH 11.6 ...and I am worried.Is there anything serious?

Hi I did my fsh n lh tests on 3rd day of cycle fsh is 4.010 miu/ml range given on test result is 5.8-21 . Lh is 1.490 miu/ml while range given bt lab is 17-77. What does this mean ? Is there anything I shod b worried abt? Spcly the lh level

Hi Sadi, It is best for you to consult your doctor regarding your test results. Good luck! Kim

im 25 year on 5 day of menses my fsh=10.6 my lh=3.5 is that good

im a 24 year, unmarried... i did not had periods from 2.5 months, my recent LH level is 3.49 and my FSH level is 2.11.... im worried ... so kindly let me know is there anything serious....

I am having 1 day cycle with no passage of clots but it comes on time every month,I got my test done fish on 2nd day of menses is 12.79..... Lh-6.41,no cyst in usg....plss help me....

my husband hav 18.12 fsh and lh is normal . the doctor suggest to icsi these levels can be normal with treatments and get normal pregnant

Hi I've been ttc for 6months and iim 38. I'm wondering if my ovulating. For the past three months I used the oak n it came back positive so I don't understand why I can't get pregnant. I have normal menstruation also

Hi Stacy,

Has your partner had a semen analysis? It is possible male factor infertility is the reason you haven't gotten pregnant yet.

Best of luck!
Kim

Hi, I am 28 years old and have undergoneFSH and LH test. My FSH level is 4.34 and LH level is 9.16. Are these levels indication of PCOS. My doctor has indicated it PCOS and has advised to take Krimson35 for three months. But I have read that periods become normal during the course of this medicine and after that it becomes irregular again. So, I am scared to take this medicine. Plz advise.

Ayurvedic treatment for pcod is available.U can have good results with that.

Hi, Are the levels FSH(4.34) and LH(9.16) are indiaction of PCOS? I am not clear about this.

Hi Shweta,

There isn't a cure for PCOS currently. That is why taking medication will help regulate your cycle, but once you stop the medication it may become irregular again. If you are trying to conceive, you might consider working with a fertility doctor who specializes in PCOS treatment.

Best,
Kim

Hi Umme,

It might be time for you to contact a fertility doctor.

Best,
Kim

I still get my period every 28 days or so (usually within a day or two either way). Recently, I got my period within the 28 day range then 14 days later I passed a blood clot and was spotting for 2 days. I just turned 54 this past March. I went to my doctor who said it was highly unlikely I was pregnant but he took a blood test anyway. Upon seeing the results above, my doctor told me that my ovaries resemble those of a woman in her mid-forties and I am nowhere near peri-menapause or menapause. Today is day 30 but I still have not gotten my regular period nor do I feel like I am. I do have lower back pain but no real cramping. Can I possibly be pregnant?!

Hello, I have irregular periods almost 2years and I did ultrasound they say,my right side ovary is bigger than left one, I checked FSH my 2nd day of period, 4.6 Am I having PCOS? I also have acne, been long time now I'm 22years

Hi Ankuu,

It is possible that you have PCOS, but you should have full panel of blood work for PCOS run by your OB-GYN or a fertility doctor. They can check your androgen levels and also perform an ultrasound to check for ovarian cysts that appear like a "string of pearls" in your ovaries.

Best,
Kim

irregular periods, blood test on day 1 FSH 1.9, LH 1.3, E2 <75, total test 0.33, SHBG 265.9, free androgen index 0.1, S-TSH 0.88 Can you please explain what this means, as my doctor told me I have the oestrogen levels of a 50yr old? but he didn't ask me what day the blood test was taken??

hi, i am a 26 year old girl and having irregular periods. my FSH is 9, LH is 4.80 and estradiol is 48 on 3rd day of cycle . pls guide me what does it mean.

Hi Priya,

A day 3 FSH of 9 is fair. It means you still have a good chance of responding well to a fertility treatment cycle and getting pregnant. Your LH is normal (anything between 3 and 10 is normal). Your estradiol is also normal (between 25-75 is normal). Your irregular periods could be the result of a condition like PCOS or maybe an indication that your ovarian reserve is starting to decline. Are you working with an OB-GYN or a fertility doctor?

Best,
Kim

Hi Ann,

A Day 3 FSH of 14.2 suggests you may have reduced ovarian reserve. AMH is the more reliable predictor and a level of 0.17 is low, but there are still options for you to conceive. You could work with a fertility doctor who specializes in mini-IVF or low stimulation protocols or you might consider using an egg donor.

Best,
Kim

I am 42 years old and I had my ovaries removed 2 years ago because of 2 huge cysts on both ovaries and massive adhesions that had everything sticking to bowels, bladder, ureter...everything. The Gyn doctor is afraid that she may have left a tiny piece of ovary, since I never went through surgical menopause. Also, 2 years ago, they did a FSH level test about 6 months after my surgery and it was at 26.0 and today 2 years later, it is at 35.7. My question is, shouldn't my FSH levels be much higher (ex. 131) or something like that since I had my ovaries removed?

Hi Cat, Your FSH will definitely be higher because your brain is trying to signal ovaries that are no longer there so it will continue to raise your FSH levels. However, that level could be different from woman to woman. You should consult your OB-GYN or surgeon to be sure. Best of luck, Kim

Hi Jing,

Your FSH results appear to indicate slightly reduced ovarian reserve. I think that is typical for a woman in her 40s to experience that kind of decline.

Kim

Hi, I am 44, I have a child is 17, and i try to have a baby since two years ago, unfortunately I have been two pregnancies, but careless abortion, I am want get help from IVF, last month, I had my FSH level checked the 2rd day of my cycle and it was 11.2, E2 < 50, Is this normal? Sincerely, Jing

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