How does follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) work?

Daniel A. Dumesic, MD
Reproductive Endocrinology
Under normal circumstances, the brain talks to the ovary, and the ovary communicates back to the brain in what is called a negative feedback inhibition system. In other words, the brain sends out hormones, including follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), that travel into the blood to go to the ovary and make follicles grow. As the follicles grow, they produce estrogen, which returns through the circulation to the brain to tell the brain the follicle has sufficient stimulation. This clamps or suppresses FSH in a closed-loop system. If FSH can be pushed up in the blood, it can drive follicles to grow. This can be done by either inhibiting estrogen production by blocking its synthesis through an enzyme called aromatase or blocking the effects of estrogen in the brain by giving a medicine that is an anti-estrogen.

Continue Learning about Endocrine System

Endocrine System

Your endocrine system works with your nervous system to control important bodily functions. The endocrine systems responsibilities include regulating growth, sexual development and function, metabolism and mood. The endocrine syst...

em also helps give your body the energy it needs to function properly. Endocrine glands secrete hormones into the bloodstream. Hormones are considered chemical messengers, coordinating your body by transferring information from one set of cells to another. Your endocrine system health can be affected by hormone imbalances resulting from impaired glands. A hormone imbalance can cause problems with bodily growth, sexual development, metabolism and other bodily functions. Endocrine system diseases or conditions include diabetes, growth disorders and osteoporosis.

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