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FSH Test

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KEY POINTS

  • This blood test measures a hormone called follicle stimulating hormone.
  • If your child is a female, her healthcare provider will need to know the date of her last menstrual period before scheduling this test.
  • Ask your child’s healthcare provider when and how you will get the results of your child’s test.

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What is the FSH test?

This blood test measures a hormone called follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). This hormone is made by the pituitary gland in your child’s brain. It helps control a girl’s menstrual cycle. It also controls the growth of eggs in the ovaries. In males, FSH helps control the production of sperm.

Why is this test done?

The FSH test may help diagnose and check treatment of a medical problem your child is having, such as:

  • Irregular periods or abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Sexual development at a very young age or a delay in sexual development
  • Some testicle problems, like missing or underdeveloped testicles

How do I prepare my child for this test?

  • Your child may need to avoid taking certain medicines before the test because they might affect the test result. Make sure your child’s healthcare provider knows about any medicines, herbs, or supplements that your child is taking. Ask your child’s provider before stopping any of your child’s regular medicines.
  • In girls, the FSH test must be done at certain times during the menstrual cycle. Your child’s healthcare provider will need to know the date of your child’s last menstrual period before scheduling this test.
  • Talk to your child’s healthcare provider if you have any questions about the test.

How is the test done?

Having this test will take just a few minutes. A small amount of blood is taken from a vein in your child’s arm with a needle. The blood is collected in tubes and sent to a lab.

Ask your child’s healthcare provider when and how you will get the result of your child’s test.

What does the test result mean?

Normal FSH levels may be different based on a person's age and gender.

Females

The FSH level may be higher than normal in girls who:

  • Are taking hormones
  • Have a problem with one or both ovaries, such as polycystic ovary disease, ovarian cysts, or ovarian tumors
  • Have adrenal gland problems (the adrenal glands are just above the kidneys and make hormones)
  • Have Turner's syndrome (a genetic problem)

Also, the FSH levels are higher than normal in girls who have started puberty at a very young age.

The FSH level may be lower than normal in girls who:

  • Have anorexia (an eating disorder)
  • Have delayed puberty
  • Have a problem with the parts of the brain that control hormones (the pituitary gland and hypothalamus)
  • Males

The FSH level may be higher than normal in boys who:

  • Are being treated with hormones for a medical condition
  • Have Klinefelter's syndrome (a genetic problem)
  • Have a problem with one or both testicles, such as an injury or a tumor

Also, the FSH levels are higher than normal in boys who have started puberty at a very young age.

The FSH level may be lower than normal in boys who:

  • Have delayed puberty
  • Have a problem with the parts of the brain that control hormones (the pituitary gland and hypothalamus)

There are many other reasons why FSH test results may be outside the normal range. Sometimes the results vary with recent activity or diet. At other times the way the sample is collected or stored can affect the results.

Other hormone tests may be done with the FSH test. The results of the different tests need to be interpreted together to make a diagnosis.

What if my child’s test result is not normal?

Test results are only one part of a larger picture that takes into account your child’s medical history, physical exam, and current health. Sometimes a test needs to be repeated to check the first result. Talk to your child’s healthcare provider about the results and ask questions, such as:

  • If your child needs more tests
  • What kind of treatment your child might need
  • What lifestyle, diet, or other changes your child might need to make
Developed by RelayHealth.
Pediatric Advisor 2016.4 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2015-08-21
Last reviewed: 2015-08-19
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright © 2016 RelayHealth, a division of McKesson Technologies Inc. All rights reserved.
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