Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) is an important part of the reproductive system. It’s responsible for the growth of ovarian follicles. Follicles produce estrogen and progesterone in the ovaries and help maintain the menstrual cycles in women. In men, FSH is a part of the development of the gonads as well as sperm production.

Your pituitary gland, which is located just below your brain, makes FSH and releases it into your bloodstream.

When To Get Tested?

For women, when you are having difficulty getting pregnant or are having irregular or no menstrual periods.

For men, when your partner cannot get pregnant, or you have a low sperm count, low muscle mass or decreased sex drive.

When your healthcare practitioner thinks that you have symptoms of a pituitary disorder or hypothalamic disorder.

When a healthcare practitioner suspects that a child has delayed or earlier than expected puberty.

Normal Results

Normal FSH levels will differ, depending on a person’s age and sex.

Male :

• Before puberty – 0 to 5.0 mIU/mL (0 to 5.0 IU/L)

• During puberty – 0.3 to 10.0 mIU/mL (0.3 to 10.0 IU/L)

• Adult – 1.5 to 12.4 mIU/mL (1.5 to 12.4 IU/L)

Female :

• Before puberty – 0 to 4.0 mIU/mL (0 to 4.0 IU/L)

• During puberty – 0.3 to 10.0 mIU/mL (0.3 to 10.0 IU/L)

• Women who are still menstruating – 4.7 to 21.5 mIU/mL (4.5 to 21.5 IU/L)

• After menopause – 25.8 to 134.8 mIU/mL (25.8 to 134.8 IU/L)

Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Some labs use different measurements or test different samples. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test result.

Understanding Results

High FSH Levels in Women

• A loss of ovarian function.

• Menopause

• Polycystic ovarian syndrome.

• A chromosomal abnormality.

High FSH Levels in Men

• Men caused by an extra X chromosome that can affect male development.

• Testicles that are absent or not functioning properly.

• Testicles that have been damaged by a disease such as alcohol dependence

• Testicles that have been damaged by treatments such as X-rays or chemotherapy

High FSH Levels in Children

High FSH levels in children may mean that puberty is about to start.

Low FSH Levels

Low FSH values may indicate that :

• A woman isn’t producing eggs

• A man isn’t producing sperm

• The hypothalamus or pituitary gland, which are the hormone control centers in the brain, aren’t functioning properly

• A tumor is interfering with the brain’s ability to control the production of FSH

Stress and being severely underweight can affect FSH values.


Both men and women make this hormone. It helps women release their eggs and men to make sperm. Not having enough of this hormone can make it harder to get pregnant Or having too much of it can cause the same problem.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A registered medical physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions.

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