The test is used in research for fertility problems, for too early or too late development of puberty, as an aid in determining menopause and in determining certain tumors.
Follicle Stimulating Hormone
FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone) is made in the pituitary gland (in the brain) and, in women, ensures the maturation of eggs by stimulating the production of estradiol. Once enough estradiol is produced, the pituitary gland sees this and FSH production decreases again. A high FSH indicates low estradiol production because no eggs are maturing (anymore). In men, FSH is needed for proper sperm cell maturation.
Depending on which phase you are in, the result must be interpreted. If the result is between the values indicated in the phase in which the blood was taken, the result is good.
These are the reference values for women and of the test method used by our laboratory;
- follicular 3.0 - 8.1 IU/L (follicular phase, before ovulation)
- midcyclic 2.5 - 16.7 IU/L (ovulation phase)
- luteal 1.4 - 5.5 IU/L (luteal phase, after ovulation)
- post-menopausal 26.7 - 133.4 IU/L (after menopause)
For women who wish to have children, it is best to determine FSH and estradiol (early menopause diagnosis). With an FSH 20 IU/l and an estradiol 100 pmol/l, it is likely that menopause has begun.
Pill use suppresses FSH and LH. For proper assessment of FSH when questioning menopause and pill use stop for one month. In anorexia FSH also gives lower values, but is usually not completely suppressed. Again, for proper assessment, stop pill use for one month.
Note: Results of LH and FSH can only be interpreted if there is clarity about the exact phase of the menstrual cycle in relation to the blood sampling.
For the most reliable measurement of the menopause phase you can also measure AMH.