Correcting Hormone Imbalances
FSH testing checks the levels of the follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) in the blood and urine. The test may be a part of multiple hormone tests to diagnose a condition. This hormone is responsible for regulating the reproductive processes of men’s and women’s bodies. FSH, made in the pituitary gland, stimulates egg and sperm production. An imbalance of the hormone can make pregnancy and other biological functions more difficult.
Who needs testing?
Hormone tests may be used to diagnose irregularities in the reproductive system of men and women. For women, an analysis may be performed during a specific time during a menstrual cycle. Doctors may recommend men and women receive an FSH test for a variety of reasons including:
- Problems getting pregnant
- Irregular periods
- Pituitary and hypothalamus disorders
- Early or late puberty
- Low sperm count
- Testicular dysfunction
- Hypogonadism or gonadal failure
Before the exam
An FSH test’s results may be affected by prescription and nonprescription medication, supplements, and vitamins. Birth control pills and patches, as well as intrauterine devices, can also alter test results. Patients should disclose medical conditions to the doctor to assess whether the disorders are affecting FSH levels.
What does an FSH test involve?
The FSH hormone is found in the blood and urine. A healthcare professional can either perform a blood test and take a sample from a vein in the arm or get one or several urine samples over 24 hours. Testing FSH levels throughout the day or month can identify changes throughout time.
Getting the results
Results can take up to a couple of days to come back. FSH levels are measured in milli-international units per milliliter (mIU/ML). FSH levels will vary by gender and age. A menstrual cycle or menopause can also affect FSH count. Doctors will also consider hormone levels for luteinizing hormone (LH), testosterone, and estrogen.
Finding a solution
FSH tests can help couples test for the appropriate hormone levels needed for a successful pregnancy. High and low levels of FSH mean different things for men and women. Identifying FSH values is the first step toward fertility treatment options to treat a specific condition. Patients can consult with a fertility specialist to begin hormone testing for fertility.