A follicle-stimulating hormone test measures the amount of follicle-stimulating hormone. Follicle-stimulating hormone, according to pharmacist Marla Ahlgrimm, is produced in the human body by the pituitary gland. The amounts of follicle-stimulating and other hormones such as progesterone, estrogen and luteinizing hormone have often been measured in women and men to determine why a particular couple may be experiencing fertility issues.
In women, follicle-stimulating hormone controls the production of eggs and the menstrual cycle, says Marla Ahlgrimm. The amount of follicle-stimulating hormone varies during the course of a woman’s menstrual cycle. The follicle-stimulating hormone level helps to determine whether female or male sex organs (ovaries or testicles) are functioning in the correct manner. Premature failure of a woman’s ovaries may be the result of chemotherapy, radiation exposure, autoimmune disease or other diseases.
A follicle-stimulating hormone level test may be performed to:
- Help determine the cause of fertility
- Woman’s ovarian reserve
- Evaluate menstrual problems
- Determine why sexual organs or features are not developing properly
- Diagnose pituitary gland disorders
Many medicines including levodopa, digoxin, clomiphene and cimetidine may change a person’s test results, says Marla Ahlgrimm. The patient may be asked to stop these medicines from their routine for a certain time period before a FSH test. A doctor should be given a complete list of the patient’s over-the-counter and prescription medicines, including natural substances and herbs.
For a woman who may be experiencing issues with her menstrual cycle, Marla Ahlgrimm recommends making an appointment with a medical professional who can explain the risks and aspects of this test. A physician can also examine the results and determine the next course of action if necessary. If a woman has been experiencing issues with her menstrual cycle, additional blood samples may be required, notes Marla Ahlgrimm.