What do FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone) test results mean?

FSH tests are used to diagnose fertility issues, menopause or perimenopause, hypothalamus, and pituitary disorders in men, women, and children. This test is needed if you have fertility problems to diagnose the cause. While it is a safe test it needs to be repeated 2 to 3 times to get an accurate result because hormone levels fluctuate over time. FSH tests’ normal range can also vary between laboratories. That’s why always ask what your results mean according to your report. Your doctor will tell you the problem and guide you on which treatment option is suitable for your condition.  

What do the results mean?  

 Results meanings vary between women, men, and children.  

For a woman, if your FSH levels are high, then you may have:  

  • Primary ovarian insufficiency (POI): It is a condition when a woman’s ovaries stop working generally before the age of 40.  
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): It is a common hormonal disorder when your ovaries produce an abnormal amount of androgens (male sex hormone). It is one of the most common hormonal causes of infertility in females.  
  • Your menopause has started, or you are in perimenopause.  
  • An ovarian tumor 
  • Turner syndrome (a genetic disorder that affects sexual development in females and leads to infertility).  

If your FSH levels are low, that means:  

  • Ovaries are not producing enough eggs.  
  • The pituitary gland is not working properly.  
  • Problem with the hypothalamus (which is part of the brain that manages the pituitary gland and other important body functions). 
  • You are very underweight.  

For a man, if your FSH levels are high, then you may have: 

  • Damaged testicles due to chemotherapy, radiation, infection, or alcohol abuse.  
  • Klinefelter syndrome is a genetic disorder that affects males’ sexual development and leads to infertility.  

As a man, if your FSH levels are low, it means you either have pituitary gland or hypothalamus disorder.  

In children, high FSH levels and high luteinizing levels may cause early puberty to be about to start or already started. If this is happening before the age of 9 in a girl or before age 10 in a boy, then it may be a sign of a brain injury or central nervous system disorder.  

Low FSH and luteinizing hormone levels in children are signs of delayed puberty. It is caused by: 

  • Disorders of the ovaries or testicles 
  • An infection  
  • A hormone deficiency 
  • An eating disorder 
  • Klinefelter syndrome in boys 
  • Turner syndrome in girls

If you have questions regarding your child’s reports, you should talk with your healthcare provider.  

Normal levels 

A person’s FSH normal level will change over time. Here is a list of set guideline ranges for FSH levels for females and males according to their life stages. Remember that these ranges can vary between laboratories.  

Normal FSH Levels in Females 

  • FSH levels before puberty: 0 – 4 IU/L (international units per liter) 
  • FSH levels during puberty: 0.3 – 10 IU/L  
  • FSH levels while menstruating: 4.7 – 21.5 IU/L 
  • FSH levels after menopause: 25.8 – 134.8 IU/L 

If a female has an FSH level of 30 IU/L or higher with no period for 12 months, then it means she has reached menopause. However, doctors do not use tests to diagnose menopause because they can identify menopause by assessing a person’s symptoms and medical history.  

A menstruating person may have her FSH levels vary throughout the stages of the menstrual cycle. Normal FSH levels during different menstrual cycles:

  • Follicular: 1- 9 IU/L 
  • Mid Cycle: 6 – 26 IU/L 
  • Luteal: 1 -9 IU/L 

During the early stages of pregnancy, your FSH can drop to 0.1 IU/L, 26 – 30 days (about 4 and a half weeks) after ovulation.  

Normal FSH levels in males 

  • FSH levels before puberty: 0 – 5 IU/L 
  • FSH levels during puberty: 0.3 -10 IU/L 
  • FSH levels during adulthood: 1.5 -12.4 IU/L 

These standard ranges can vary between laboratories so always confirm your results with your doctor.  

If you are concerned about hormonal imbalances, you can talk to or visit our endocrinologist. Register here and get a consultation. And if you need help from the best endocrinologists in NYC to get your condition treated, call us on +1-347-384-5690 and get answers to all your queries. Log on to  www.doralhw.org or visit us at 1797 Pitkin Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11212 to book an appointment with our endocrinologist to get the best treatment. We have the best endocrinologists who treat these kinds of diseases and helpful staff to aid you during your treatment.