Luteinizing Hormone : What Is It And Why Is It High Or Low
Luteinizing hormone, also called LH, is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland and which, in women, is responsible for the maturation of follicles, ovulation and production of progesterone, playing a fundamental role in the reproductive capacity of women. In men, LH is also directly related to fertility, acting directly on the testes and influencing sperm production.
In the menstrual cycle, LH is found in higher concentrations during the ovulatory phase, however it is present throughout a woman’s life, having different concentrations according to the phase of the menstrual cycle.
In addition to having an important role in verifying the reproductive capacity of men and women, the concentration of LH in the blood helps in the diagnosis of pituitary tumors and changes in the ovaries, such as the presence of cysts, for example. This exam is most requested by the gynecologist to check the health of the woman, being normally requested together with the dosage of FSH and the Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone, the GnRH.
Tips For How To Increase Luteinizing Hormone When Ttc
The luteinizing hormone, often shortened as LH, is a type of reproductive hormone that is found in both men and women. Essentially, LH helps to boost or stimulate the production of other hormones critical for fertility. In women, this includes estrogen and progesterone and in men this includes testosterone.
While LH is found in both men and women, this article will focus solely on the role that LH plays in the female reproductive cycle.
Specifically, we will take a look at what the luteinizing hormone is, why you need it if you are trying to conceive , and strategies for how to increase luteinizing hormone both naturally and with medical assistance. Well conclude with a few tips for tracking your luteinizing hormone at home, and how Mira can help you with that.
Lets get started!
How Should I Prepare For A Luteinizing Hormone Blood Test
Your doctor should give you exact directions to prepare for your blood test. You may be told to stop taking certain medications that can affect the results, so be sure to inform your doctor of all medications and supplements you take. If youre a woman, you may need to stop taking birth control or other hormone pills for up to four weeks before the test. Your doctor will also want to know the date of your last period.
As with many blood draws, you may be asked to avoid eating or drinking for up to eight hours leading up to the test.
If youve had any type of test or procedure with a radioactive substance seven days before the LH blood test, let your doctor know. These substances can interfere with the results of your test.
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Normal Luteinizing Hormone Levels
The onset of the LH surge precedes ovulation by 3544 hr, and the peak serum level of LH precedes ovulation by 1012 hr.
Women, weeks one and two of the menstrual cycle: 1.37 to 9 IU/L.
Women, week two, before ovulation: 6.17 to 17.2 IU/L.
Women, weeks three and four of the menstrual cycle: 1.09 to 9.2 IU/L.
Women, postmenopausal: 19.3 to 100.6 IU/L.
Men: 1.42 to 15.4 IU/L.
What Foods Increase Luteinizing Hormone
A handful of studies have explored the relationship between vegetarian diets and low levels of LH and estrogen. Currently, no evidence shows that vegetarian diets reduce LH levels. Related, no evidence supports the thinking that food or diet can increase LH levels.
Speak with your healthcare provider about diet and lifestyle recommendations to improve your overall health, including habits that support brain functioning and reproductive health.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Your LH levels can reveal important information about how your sex organs and your pituitary gland are working. If your provider orders an LH test, ask them how the results will shed light on your reproductive health.
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Testosterone Replacement Therapy And Lh Levels
Exogenous testosterone suppresses luteinizing hormone secretion and thereby decreases the high intratesticular testosterone levels essential for spermatogenesis.
In the case of primary hypogonadism, normalization of the serum luteinizing hormone concentration may be used to judge the adequacy of testosterone replacement therapy, no matter which preparation is used.
What’s A Normal Testosterone Level
Testosterone is a natural hormone produced primarily in the testicles, and it helps men maintain everything from bone density and body hair to sex drive and sperm production. However, you don’t have to hit a certain number or level to be “a real man,” despite what the constant flow of ads may tell you. What matters is who you are and where you are in your life.
On average, a testosterone level of 3001,000 nanograms per deciliter of blood is normal. Hypogonadism reduced testicular function generally occurs when the total testosterone is less than 300 ng/dL. However, a healthy level for you depends on your age, lifestyle, and bioavailable testosterone level the unbound testosterone your body isn’t using for daily functions.
Unlike many low-T clinics, we calculate bioavailable testosterone by measuring levels of two proteins, sex hormone binding globulin and albumin, that typically bind to testosterone. It’s possible to have a normal total testosterone level and experience low-T symptoms if this balance is off.
Having a normal bioavailable testosterone level tells us your body is making plenty and you likely won’t benefit from testosterone replacement therapy. If your bioavailable testosterone level is low, we can discuss options.
Understanding The Results Of An Lh Test
Your doctor can tell you when results of your test will be available and will discuss the meaning of your levels with you. According to the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, the following values are normal LH blood levels measured in international units per liter :
- women in the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle: 1.9 to 12.5 IU/L
- women at the peak of the menstrual cycle: 8.7 to 76.3 IU/L
- women in the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle: 0.5 to 16.9 IU/L
- pregnant women: less than 1.5 IU/L
- women past menopause: 15.9 to 54.0 IU/L
- women using contraceptives: 0.7 to 5.6 IU/L
- men between the ages of 20 and 70: 0.7 to 7.9 IU/L
- men over 70: 3.1 to 34.0 IU/L
While each result can vary based on your unique condition, some general interpretations of LH results can include the following.
What Is Luteinizing Hormone
Luteinizing hormone stimulates processes in your body that are important for sexual health, development and reproduction. A tiny structure in your brain called the pituitary gland secretes LH. In turn, LH causes changes in your sex organs your ovaries or testes that allow your reproductive system to function correctly.
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.
How Common Is Male Hypogonadism
Male hypogonadism is more common in ageing men. The levels of testosterone in men start to fall after the age of 40. It has been estimated that 8.4% of men aged 5079 years have testosterone deficiency. Male hypogonadism is also linked with type 2 diabetes: approximately 17% of men with type 2 diabetes are estimated to have low testosterone levels.
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Why Do I Need An Lh Test
If you are a woman, you may need this test if:
- You’ve been unable to get pregnant after 12 months of trying.
- Your menstrual cycle is irregular.
- Your periods have stopped. The test may be used to find out if you have gone through menopause or are in perimenopause.
If you are a man, you may need this test if:
- You’ve been unable to get your partner pregnant after 12 months of trying.
- Your sex drive is decreased.
Both men and women may need testing if they have symptoms of a pituitary disorder. These include some of the symptoms listed above, as well as:
Your child may need an LH test if he or she is does not seem to be starting puberty at the right age .
How It Can Affect Fertility
For women, LH excess affects ovaries, and in men, it affects the testes. Elevations in serum LH may result in increased androgen production that diminishes follicular function and reduces early embryo viability. Although LH receptors have not yet been identified in oocytes, excessive LH may disrupt granulosa cells communication in the cumulus oophorus , which is critical to maintain the oocyte in the dictyate stage of meiosis until ovulation. Elevated LH levels during the preovulatory period may also negatively influence post-ovulatory events such as conception and implantation.
A significant reduction in the rate of fertilization is observed in women with elevated LH levels undergoing treatment with in vitro fertilization . A higher likelihood of pregnancy is observed when the LH level is < 10 IU/L and the miscarriage rate is significantly higher in women with LH levels > 10 IU/L.
In men, high level of LH indicates that testicles dont produce enough testosterone and it is the message for hypothalamus to produce more LH to compensate it. Basically, high LH level is associated with low level of testosterone and thus impairs the males fertility. A man with low levels of testosterone may lose his desire for sex. Testosterone levels can drop during a long period of sexual inactivity. Sexual stimulation and sexual activity cause testosterone levels to rise.
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About High Level Of Lh
High level of luteinizing hormone is referred as a condition with high serum luteinizing hormone LH concentration. Physiologic high LH levels are seen during the LH surge typically they last 48 hours.
During the reproductive years, typical levels are between 120 IU/L . The reference ranges for the blood content of LH during the menstrual cycle denoted by biological stage may be used in closely monitored menstrual cycles in regard to other markers of its biological progression, with the time scale being compressed or stretched to how much faster or slower, respectively, the cycle progresses compared to an average cycle.
Persistently high LH levels are indicative of situation where the normal restricting feedback from the gonad is absent, leading to an elevated pituitary production of both LH and follicle-stimulating hormone . While this is typical in menopause, it is abnormal in the reproductive years. The negative effect of high LH levels may occur when levels are elevated during other times than around the time of expected ovulation. The result may be irregular periods and interference with ovulation and conception. Levels progressively increase in aging males as testosterone levels concurrently decline.
- irregular or absent menstrual cycle
In men, elevated LH level is associated with decreased level of testosterone and thus predicts ischemic heart disease events in older men.
- diabetes mellitus
Normal Levels Of Fsh And Lh
Hormone levels can be diagnosed by a simple blood test. The normal range of the FSH in adult males is 1.5 12.4 mIU/mL and for LH is 1.7-8.6 mIU/mL.Increase in the FSH level indicates that the testicles are not functioning well. There are various reasons for the malfunctioning of the testes.
- Type 2 diabetes
- certain viral infections like HIV
If the levels of FSH are low, it could be due to a problem with the pituitary gland although this is less common in occurence.
Similarly, when LH levels are high in men, it means the improper functioning of the testes and if the levels are low, something is wrong with either hypothalamus or the pituitary gland.
Increase in the FSH levels indicates that the normal feedback from the gonad is absent which may lead to unrestricted pituitary FSH production, results in an indication of sub-fertility or infertility. In men, high FSH levels are due to the primary testicular failure . This may be the result of either the developmental defects in testicular growth or injury. It is also an indication of the Klinefelter syndrome or a genetic disorder.
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How Do Hormones Affect Male Fertility
There are many hormones that play a role in your fertility. Some hormones may have an indirect effect, such as testosteronea testosterone deficiency may not affect sperm health, but can cause low sex drive or erectile dysfunction.
There are also two male fertility hormones that have a direct impact on sperm production. An imbalance or deficiency in one of these may have a negative impact on sperm quality parameters like count, concentration, morphology, and motility.
Treatment Options For Luteinizing Hormone
You and your doctor will determine the best course of treatment for your LH-related condition.
If you’re having fertility problems because of your or your partner’s luteinizing hormone levels, your doctor may also run other infertility tests, such as:
Menotropins injections, which are a mix of luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone, are a common treatment for both men and women receiving fertility treatment.
They help women ovulate and men produce sperm.
Your doctor may suggest other fertility treatments based on your unique situation.
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Intermittent Versus Continuous Hormone Therapy
Most prostate cancers treated with hormone therapy become resistant to this treatment over a period of months or years. Some doctors believe that constant androgen suppression might not be needed, so they advise intermittent treatment. This can allow for a break from side effects like decreased energy, sexual problems, and hot flashes.
In one form of intermittent hormone therapy, treatment is stopped once the PSA drops to a very low level. If the PSA level begins to rise, the drugs are started again. Another form of intermittent therapy uses hormone therapy for fixed periods of time for example, 6 months on followed by 6 months off.
At this time, it isnt clear how this approach compares to continuous hormone therapy. Some studies have found that continuous therapy might help men live longer, but other studies have not found such a difference.
What Is A Luteinizing Hormone Blood Test
An LH blood test measures the amount of LH in your bloodstream. If youre a woman, the amount of this hormone in your bloodstream varies with age and throughout the menstrual cycle. It also changes with pregnancy. If a doctor orders a test for LH related to fertility, a woman may need multiple tests to track the rising and falling hormone levels. LH levels can also be measured by analyzing a urine sample.
If youre a man, your doctor can order an LH test to establish a baseline LH level. Your doctor can also measure your LH level after giving you an injection of gonadotropin releasing hormone . Measuring LH after receiving this hormone can tell your doctor if you have a problem with the pituitary gland or with another part of your body.
There are many reasons for your doctor to request an LH blood test. Levels of LH relate to menstrual issues, fertility, and the onset of puberty.
Examples of instances when a doctor may order an LH blood test include:
- a woman is having difficulty getting pregnant
- a woman has irregular or absent menstrual periods
- its suspected that a woman has entered menopause
- a man has signs of low testosterone levels, such as low muscle mass or decrease in sex drive
- a pituitary disorder is suspected
- a boy or girl appears to be entering puberty too late or too soon
Your doctor may order the LH blood test in coordination with other hormone measurements, such as testosterone, progesterone, FSH, and estradiol.
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Message For The Clinic
- Physicians must be alert to the fact that many of their patients may be suffering from low testosterone levels.
- Hypogonadism increases with age and is particularly associated with some of the most common conditions found in patients visiting primary care clinics, such as diabetes and obesity.
- Physicians need to know the symptoms of hypogonadism and the various testosterone replacement treatment options.
Luteinizing Hormone: Functions Test + Normal Range
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