Why is this test important? Hormones are a chemical substance secreted by one tissue and traveling to another to affect other tissues in your body. They act as chemical messengers. Maintaining proper balance of these important "messengers" is key to optimal health. These sex hormones are involved in the growth, maintenance, and repair of reproductive tissues.
Women's menstrual cycles are divided into 2 phases, the follicular and luteal, by a mid-cycle surge of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and LH. The high level of LH (and FSH) at mid-cycle triggers ovulation. LH also stimulates the ovaries to produce steroids, primarily estradiol. Estradiol and other steroids help the pituitary to regulate the production of LH. At the time of menopause, the ovaries stop functioning and LH levels rise. It is recommended to have both LH and FSH tested at the same time.
In men, FSH stimulates the testes to produce mature sperm and also promotes the production of androgen binding proteins. FSH levels are relatively constant in males after puberty.
What does the test include?
In women and men, FSH and LH are ordered as part of the workup of infertility and pituitary or gonadal disorders. FSH may be ordered to determine if a woman has reached menopause.
To measure or monitor your hormone levels if you are a woman who has unexplained abnormal menstrual cycles, abnormal or heavy vaginal bleeding, infertility, symptoms of menopause, or any other hormonal alterations; fatigue, and moodiness. If you are not experiencing any symptoms it is still prudent to learn what your baseline is, or what is normal for you, for future health and wellness.
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