Luteinizing Hormone (LH)

In order to regulate ovulation, menstruation, and pregnancy, your body produces and secretes a number of different hormones. These hormones need to be in just the right balance in order to allow for fertilization and conception.

Many of these hormones can be tested by your reproductive endocrinologist in order to determine any possible fertility problems. Luteinizing hormone (LH), found in both men and women, is one of the most important hormones invovled in pregnancy. If you are having difficulties becoming pregnant, you may want to have a luteinizing hormone test.

What is Luteinizing Hormone(LH)?

Luteneizing hormone is a hormone produced in both men and women. It is secreted from a small gland, callled the pituitary gland, which is located in the brain. A type of gonadatropin (because it stimulates the gonads), LH is necessary for fertility.

In women, LH helps regulate ovulation and turn empty follicles into corpus luteum. In men, LH helps the testes to make and secrete testosterone.

What are the Effects of Abnormal LH Levels?

Abnormal LH levels can have numerous effects on fertility. Because a surge in LH is required to induce ovulation in women, low levels of LH can prevent ovulation from taking place. This will prevent pregnancy.

High levels of LH during the wrong time of your cycle can also contribute to infertility, interfering with menstruation and ovulation.

What is the Luteinizing Horomone Test?

The LH test is a simple blood or urine test that can be performed at your fertility clinic. It is typically performed alongside the FSH test, estradiol test, and progesterone test. The LH test measures the levels of LH in your bloodstream.

What Can the Luteinizing Horomone Test Detect?

The LH test is used for a variety of reasons. It is typically used to detect when a woman is ovulating, so that eggs can be retrieved for an IVF procedure.

However, the LH test can also be used to detect:

  • anovulation
  • ovarian failure
  • PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome)
  • pituitary disorders
  • chromosomal abnormalities

Who Can Benefit From the Test?

Both men and women undergoing IVF treatment can benefit from undergoing the LH test. It can help to confirm when ovulation is taking place and that testosterone levels are strong. The LH test is also indiciated for couples with:

  • unexplained infertility
  • low testosterone levels
  • irregular menstrual cycles
  • suspected pituitary disorders

What do the Results Mean?

Your reproductive endocrinologist will discuss any lab results that you get back from your LH test. Normal results for women are typically between 6 and 30 U/L. Normal results for men are typically between 7 and 24 U/L. If your results are higher or lower than average, it is possible that LH is playing a role in your infertility.

After the Luteinzing Horomone Test

Once your test results have been determined, your reproductive endocrinologist may be able to provide you with a diagnosis for any health problems. For instance, low levels of LH are often associated with hypopituitarism, while high levels could be associated with a chromosomal abnormality.

It is important to have further testing peformed if your LH levels are in any way abnormal.


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