Why The Test Is Performed
In women, an increase in LH level at mid-cycle causes release of eggs . Your doctor will order this test to see if:
- You are ovulating, when you are having trouble getting pregnant or have periods that are not regular
- You have reached menopause
If you are a man, the test may be ordered if you have signs of infertility or lowered sex drive. The test may be ordered if you have signs of a pituitary gland problem.
Where Is It Located
LH gets made in the part of your body thats responsible for regulating complex processes, your brain. But the organs that LH helps regulate are in your reproductive system.
LH is part of a complex communication network that involves your brain and your sex organs . Your hypothalamus secretes a hormone called gonadotropin-releasing hormone that signals your pituitary gland to secrete LH. LH signals your ovaries or testes to make the hormones needed to start and maintain reproductive processes.
Understanding this communication network is important when it comes to diagnosing reproductive health issues. For example, the root cause of fertility issues may involve your sex organs or hormone production in your brain. Your healthcare provider will consider multiple factors that play a role in your reproductive health when diagnosing conditions that involve LH.
Do Lh Patterns Look The Same Each Month
Some studies say patterns are consistent within the individual from cycle to cycle. This suggests that if you have two LH spikes one month, youll have two the next.
Yet, other research contradicts this and shows LH surges can be extremely variable. So dont expect your surges each month to always be look-alikes.
Its important to note that the progesterone rise after the LH surge is the one that confirms ovulation.
Keeping that in mind, here are some guidelines to go by:
- If you tend towards one spike and your LH is high, ovulation is likely on its way.
- If youre part of the two-surge club, a higher LH could mean its your second surge.
- If youre prone to plateau patterns, you could still get a high LH reading several days after an initial surge.
Regularly testing your LH helps you gauge when your surge begins, so you know when youre most fertile.
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What Is A Normal Pattern Of Lh Around Ovulation
Visuals and text from medical textbooks indicate that there is a single, large pre-ovulatory LH surge that lasts for about 24 hours. This pattern makes two assumptions about LH around ovulation:
Lets break those down one by one to see what science says is normal for each.
Why Is My Luteinizing Hormone Low
For women, increased levels of luteinizing hormone in the blood usually indicate a problem involving the ovaries, commonly known as a primary ovarian failure. The causes of primary ovarian failure include
- Underdeveloped ovaries
- Congenital conditions such as Turner syndrome or Klinefelter syndrome which affect the production of hormones
- Exposure to radiation
- Consumption of chemotherapy drugs
- Testicular cancer, also known as Germ Cell Tumor
As in women, low levels of LH may be caused in men due to the disease of the hypothalamus or the pituitary gland. This usually leads to low testosterone levels, and the men with this condition may experience sexual dysfunction, lack of sexual drive, and fatigue.
In children, High Levels of LH Causes early Attainment of Puberty, Commonly known as Precocious Puberty. The Common Causes for this Condition Include:
- Any tumor in the central nervous system
- Trauma or injury to the brain
- Infection and inflammation present in the central nervous system such as meningitis or encephalitis
- Any history of brain surgery
- History of exposure of the brain to harmful radiation
Girls are more likely to experience precocious puberty as compared to boys of the same age. Lower than normal LH levels usually delay puberty in boys and girls.
The Relationship Between Luteinizing Hormone And Hyperandrogenism
Some studies tend to imply that LH excess worsens hyperandrogenism through ovarian stimulation of androgenesis. This is unlikely to be valid despite the fact that a major neuroendocrine component of PCOS involves alterations in LH secretion, and primary LH excess has long been considered the cause of the excess ovarian androgen secretion in PCOS. This concept simply arose because of the known stimulatory effect of LH on theca cell function and the elevation of serum LH levels at baseline and in response to GnRH in classic PCOS. In hyperandrogenemic girls destined to develop PCOS, the nocturnal increase in ovarian steroids may not be adequate to suppress the GnRH pulse generator, leading to a persistently rapid LH pulse frequency, impaired FSH production, and inadequate follicular development.
The defect in steroidogenesis must be the result of escape from normal downregulation of thecal cell secretion rather than over-stimulation by LH. If we accept these results, then the fundamental defect underlying the androgen excess of PCOS is ovarian hyper-responsiveness to gonadotrophin action because of escape from downregulation and not a primary result of excess LH per se. Taken together, all these observations suggest that dysregulation of androgen biosynthesis is an intrinsic property of PCOS theca cells. Hence, the evidence suggests that LH is not a major player in the hyperandrogenism of PCOS, and excess LH may be a consequence of the metabolic alterations in PCOS.
The Effect Of Reduced Lh Levels On Reproductive Outcome
The introduction of the GnRH agonist into the ovarian stimulation regimen resulted in a significant improvement in outcome with IVF treatment because cycle cancellation resulting from a premature surge in LH levels was reduced significantly and pregnancy rates were increased. However, GnRH agonist administration results in levels of LH during the phase of follicular development that are lower than in spontaneous cycles raising concerns that the levels of LH may be insufficient to support folliculogenesis particularly when recombinant FSH alone is used for ovarian stimulation. Measurement of serum LH levels on day 7 of stimulation in normogonadotropic women permitted the evaluation of different threshold levels on reproductive outcome using receiver operator characteristic curves. It was evident that regardless of the cut-off level selected , no adverse effect was observed on pregnancy and miscarriage rates. Similarly, in another study on day 8 of stimulation levels of LH, 1.5 IU/L were not associated with any detrimental effect on clinical pregnancy rates. However, when the cut-off level was > 1.5 IU/L, reduction in fertilization and clinical pregnancy rates was observed. Collectively, these observations indicate that although GnRH agonist is very effective in preventing an LH surge, the resulting low levels LH are sufficient to permit folliculogenesis despite the fact that no exogenous LH is administered.
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Why Take The Lh Test
The test is also needed to check the proper functioning of the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus. Your LH levels also need to be checked if you have symptoms such as irregular menstrual periods, absence of menstruation, low testosterone levels, low sex drive as well as low muscle mass in men. Symptoms of low testosterone include feeling tired and weak, depressed, experiencing erectile dysfunctions and noticing changes in sleep habits.
If you feel weak and tired, lose weight for no reason, and have a decreased appetite then, you may have problems in your pituitary gland that may be detected by testing your LH levels.
The LH test is considered to be a predictive test indicating ovulation however, it cannot confirm if ovulation occurred.
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What If My Lh Is Too High
If you take an LH test and fall above the normal range, there are a few possibilities:
- You could have polycystic ovary syndrome , a common hormonal condition that affects many women in their reproductive years.
- Your ovaries may be struggling with ovulation.
- You may have Turner syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects fertility.
Talk with your doctor if your levels of LH are higher than the norm. They can give you the proper testing to suss out whats causing the imbalance and suggest appropriate treatment options.
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What Is The Lh Test
As mentioned earlier, the luteinizing hormone test is blood test performed to check the levels of the luteinizing hormone in your bloodstream during different times of your menstrual cycle if youre a woman. This is because the hormone levels vary during different times of the menstrual cycle. If youre undergoing tests for fertility, the luteinizing hormone test may be conducted several times during your menstrual cycle to observe the rise and fall in the hormonal levels during different times of the cycle.
The LH test may be used to determine the exact time when ovulation takes place, and help you plan the right time for intercourse if you want to be pregnant. In patients who face a problem becoming pregnant, the luteinizing hormone test will help to find out if a woman is ovulating, and if not, it will help the doctor decide if the cause is a primary failure of the ovaries, i.e. if the ovaries are failing in their normal function or if the cause is secondary failure, i.e. if the failure of the ovaries is being caused by problems related to the pituitary gland or the hypothalamus.
The LH test is also done for women facing menstrual irregularities such as not having periods or irregular menstrual cycle. The test will also help determine if a woman is going through menopause if she is aged above 40 years.
What Is A Luteinizing Hormone Levels Test
This test measures the level of luteinizing hormone in your blood. LH is made by your pituitary gland, a small gland located underneath the brain. LH plays an important role in sexual development and functioning.
- In women, LH helps control the menstrual cycle. It also triggers the release of an egg from the ovary. This is known as ovulation. LH levels quickly rise just before ovulation.
- In men, LH causes the testicles to make testosterone, which is important for producing sperm. Normally, LH levels in men do not change very much.
- In children, LH levels are usually low in early childhood, and begin to rise a couple of years before the start of puberty. In girls, LH helps signal the ovaries to make estrogen. In boys, it helps signal the testes to make testosterone.
Too much or too little LH can cause a variety of problems, including infertility , menstrual difficulties in women, low sex drive in men, and early or delayed puberty in children.
Other names: lutropin, interstitial cell stimulating hormone
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What If My Lh Is Too Low
If your LH is lagging, there are a few possible culprits. It may be due to a problem with your pituitary gland.
You could also have Kallman syndrome, a genetic disorder that decreases gonadotropin-releasing hormone . When GnRH is low, it affects the production of other sex hormones, including LH.
Stress, extreme weight loss, and strenuous exercise can also throw your hormones out of whack and hinder LH production.
If this is the case for you, practicing healthy lifestyle habits may help boost your bodys natural production of LH. Managing stress, eating a nutritious diet, and practicing healthy sleep habits are good places to start.
That being said, if your levels of LH are low, the best thing you can do is speak with your doctor.
Luteinizing Hormone: Functions Test + Normal Range
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What Is A Normal Lh Level
LH levels change widely throughout your cycle, and your life. LH levels can even fluctuate based on how diluted your urine is when you take the test. A baseline LH can be computed by taking the average of LH values for the five days immediately before the LH surge.
Baseline LH levels generally range from 1.9 – 14.6 IU/L, depending on where you are in your cycle.
- Follicular phase of menstrual cycle: 1.37 to 9 IU/L
- Midcycle peak: 6.17 to 17.2 IU/L
- Luteal phase: 1.09 to 9.2 IU/L
What Do The Results Mean
The meaning of your results will depend on whether you are a woman, man, or child.
If you are woman, high LH levels may mean you:
- Are not ovulating. If you are of childbearing age, this may mean you have a problem in your ovaries. If you are older, it may mean you have started menopause or are in perimenopause.
- Have polycystic ovary syndrome . PCOS is a common hormone disorder affecting childbearing women. It is one of the leading causes of female infertility.
- Have Turner syndrome, a genetic disorder affects sexual development in females. It often causes infertility.
If you are woman, low LH levels may mean:
- Your pituitary gland is not working correctly.
If you are a man, high LH levels may mean:
- Your testicles have been damaged due to chemotherapy, radiation, infection, or alcohol abuse.
- You have Klinefelter’s syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects sexual development in males. It often causes infertility
If you are a man, low LH levels may mean you have a disorder of the pituitary gland or the hypothalamus, a part of the brain that controls the pituitary gland and other important body functions.
In children, high LH levels, along with high levels of follicle-stimulating hormone, may mean puberty is about to start or has already started. If this is happening before age 9 in a girl or before age 10 in a boy , it may be a sign of:
Learn more about laboratory tests, reference ranges, and understanding results.
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What Problems Can Occur With Luteinizing Hormone
People who have high levels of luteinizing hormone may experience infertility, because the hormone directly impacts the reproductive system. In women, luteinizing hormone levels that are too high are often connected to polycystic ovary syndrome , which creates inappropriate testosterone levels. Some genetic conditions, like Turner syndrome or Klinefelter syndrome, can cause high levels of the hormone, as well. People with these conditions are often unable to reproduce.
Low levels of luteinizing hormone can also cause infertility, because insufficient levels will limit the production of sperm or the ovulation process. Too little luteinizing hormone stops ovulation in women or creates a deficiency in gonadotrophin-releasing hormone secretion in men.
Risk Factors Of High Lh Levels
In women, LH stimulates the ovaries to produce oestradiol – the major female sex hormone primarily responsible for maintaining and maturing the reproductive system. If a woman’s LH levels rise above average, and the woman isnt currently in menopause, its sometimes a result of the following conditions.
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Polycystic ovary syndrome
Polycystic ovary syndrome is a common condition that can affect women of reproductive age. Its common for women with PCOS to also experience high LH levels .
Though the underlying cause isnt actually known, there are some indicators associated with PCOS, these include:
- Irregular periods
If you are currently trying for a child or are curious about your fertility status, the best way to know more is by checking your hormone levels – this can be done by taking a visit to your doctor or from the comfort of your own home with an at-home Female Hormone Test.
LetsGetCheckeds Female Hormone Test offers a comprehensive picture of your fertility status by testing for Follicle Stimulating Hormone , Prolactin, Oestradiol, and Luteinizing Hormone . Your test will be sent to the same labs used by doctors and hospitals with online results available within 5 days. Our dedicated medical team will be available to answer any questions you may have about your results.
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What Is Being Tested
Luteinizing hormone is a hormone associated with reproduction. Its stimulation of either ovary or testicles results in the release of an egg from the ovary in women or testosterone production in men. This test measures the amount of luteinizing hormone in the blood.
LH is produced by the pituitary gland, a small organ located in the center of the head behind the sinus cavity at the base of the brain. Control of LH production is a complex system involving the hypothalamus in the brain, the pituitary gland, and the hormones produced by the ovaries and testicles.
In women of childbearing age, several hormones , estrogen and progesterone) rise and fall in a specific sequence during each menstrual cycle. Womens menstrual cycles are divided into follicular and luteal phases, with each phase lasting about 14 days. Near the end of the follicular phase, there is a mid-cycle surge of FSH and LH. This surge triggers ovulation, causing the rupture of the egg follicle on the ovary and the release of the egg.
During the luteal phase, the site where the egg follicle ruptured becomes a corpus luteum. LH release stimulates the corpus luteum to start producing progesterone. FSH and LH levels decline, while progesterone and estradiol concentrations increase. These hormone levels decrease in turn after several days if the egg is not fertilized. Menstruation starts and when it ends, the cycle begins again.