Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Follicle stimulating hormone

3-minute read

What is follicle stimulating hormone?

Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) is a hormone in the human body. It is made by your pituitary gland, which is in your brain.

What is the role of follicle stimulating hormone?

FSH is an important hormone for the reproductive system in both males and females. It plays a role in sexual development and functioning.

What does FSH do in females?

In females, FSH and another hormone called luteinising hormone (LH) help control the menstrual cycle (periods).

FSH helps with ovulation — when an egg is released each month by the ovaries.

The amount of FSH varies throughout the menstrual cycle. It is at the highest level just before ovulation.

What does FSH do in males?

In males, FSH signals the testes to make sperm.

The amount of FSH in males normally stays the same after puberty.

How is follicle stimulating hormone measured?

A blood test can measure your level of FSH.

Many hormones work together in the body. It is usual for other hormone tests to be done at the same time as the FSH blood test.

When may an FSH blood test be needed?

Your doctor may ask for an FSH blood test to be done:

  • if you are having trouble getting pregnant
  • to investigate irregular periods
  • to help confirm menopause (usually only if early menopause is suspected)
  • if you have a low sperm count
  • if you start puberty earlier or later than usual

Why is the level of follicle stimulating hormone important?

In females, the FSH level can show if there is a problem with the ovaries or ovulation.

In males, a high level of FSH could mean there is an injury or problem with the testicles.

The levels of FSH can also show if your pituitary gland is not working properly.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: November 2023

Back To Top

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) | Pathology Tests Explained

Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) is made by the pituitary gland in the brain. Control of FSH production is a complex system involving hormones produced by

Read more on Pathology Tests Explained website

Pituitary Gland - Hormones Australia

What hormones are produced by the pituitary gland? The pituitary gland produces a range of hormones, including adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH), growth hormone (GH), thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinising hormone (LH) and prolactin.

Read more on Hormones Australia website

Pituitary tumour - Better Health Channel

Generally, pituitary tumours are benign and slow growing, and pituitary cancers are extremely rare.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Luteinising hormone (LH) | Pathology Tests Explained

Luteinising hormone (LH) is produced by the pituitary gland in the brain. Control of LH production is a complex system involving hormones produced by the gon

Read more on Pathology Tests Explained website

Pituitary Adenoma - Targeting Cancer

A pituitary adenoma is a benign tumour of the anterior pituitary gland. Learn about causes, symptoms and treatment options.

Read more on Radiation Oncology Targeting Cancer website

Growth hormone (GH) | Pathology Tests Explained

Growth hormone (GH) is produced by the anterior pituitary gland, a grape sized organ found at the base of the brain. Essential for a child’s normal growth an

Read more on Pathology Tests Explained website

Hormonal (endocrine) system - Better Health Channel

Hormones can be thought of as chemical messages that communicate with the body and bring about changes.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Ovaries - Hormones Australia

Ovaries produce and release eggs (ova) and make the hormones estrogen, progesterone and some testosterone. These hormones regulate the menstrual cycle and protect bone health.

Read more on Hormones Australia website

Hypothalamus - Hormones Australia

What is the hypothalamus and what hormones does it produce? The hypothalamus is the main link between the brain and the nervous sytem. It produces a number of hormones, including corticotrophin releasing hormone (CRH), thyrotrophin releasing hormone (TRH), gonadotrophin releasing hormone (GRH), growth hormone releasing hormone (GHRH), oxytocin, anti-diuretic hormone, somatostatin and dopamine.

Read more on Hormones Australia website

Oestradiol | Pathology Tests Explained

Oestrogens are a group of hormones primarily responsible for the development of female sex organs and secondary sex characteristics. While oestrogens are the

Read more on Pathology Tests Explained website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Queensland Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Victorian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo

Healthdirect Australia acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to the Traditional Owners and to Elders both past and present.