What is the role of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) level testing in the workup of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)?

Updated: Sep 19, 2019
  • Author: Richard Scott Lucidi, MD, FACOG; Chief Editor: Richard Scott Lucidi, MD, FACOG  more...
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The follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) level should be checked to rule out primary ovarian failure. In patients with PCOS, FSH levels are within the reference range or low. Luteinizing hormone (LH) levels are elevated for Tanner stage, sex, and age. The LH-to-FSH ratio is usually greater than 3.

Stimulation testing with a long-acting gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonist induces a characteristic rise in ovarian-derived 17-hydroxyprogesterone after 24 hours. This is thought to be a result of excessive 17-hydroxylase activity.

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