Luteinizing hormone (LH) is one of the significant hormones produced by both males and females. The hormone is also called a gonadotropin and influences sex organs of both males and females. In females, it has an effect on their ovaries and in males, the hormone influences their testes.
The LH plays a vital role in fertility, puberty and the females’ menstruation. Knowing the LH quantum in your bloodstream may indicate some of the important health issued linked to your reproductive system.
Luteinizing Hormone (LH): What is it?
The LH hormone is generated in the pituitary gland located in the base of your brain. This gland is approximately of a pea size. In case you happen to be a female, the LH is a part and parcel of your menstrual cycle.
The LH and the Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), another gonadotropin produced by the pituitary gland, work in synthesis. The FSH helps in stimulating the ovarian follicles and the growth of eggs. It also activates the generation of estrogen in the follicles. The increase in the estrogen levels signals the pituitary gland to stop generating FSH and begin producing extra LH. This shift of the pituitary gland from producing FSH to LH helps in the release of the egg from the ovary.
This process of releasing an egg is known as ovulation. The follicle cells, bereft of an egg, begin proliferating to transform into a corpus luteum. This transformed makeup of the follicles releases progesterone, an essential hormone for maintaining your pregnancy.
If the pregnancy does not happen and the progesterone levels drop, your reproductive cycle begins all over again. The pituitary gland produces the LH even in males. The hormones get attached to the receptors in some of the testes cells, known as Leydig cells. These cells, in turn, begin releasing testosterone, an essential hormone for generating sperm cells in the semen.
LH Blood Test: What is it?
The LH blood investigation quantifies the presence of the LH in your blood. In case you happen to be a woman, the LH levels in your blood may differ at various stages of your periods and your pregnancy.
In case your doctor has asked you to go in for the LH test relating to your fertility, you may require to undergo multiple examinations for tracking the increasing and decreasing levels of your other hormones too. The levels of LH may also be quantified by conducting a urine sample analysis. If you happen to be a male, your doctor may ask you to undergo LH examination for establishing the presence of a standard LH level in your blood.
Your doctor may also like measuring the LH levels in your bloodstream by giving you a gonadotropin releasing hormone (Gn-RH) injection. Measuring the LH levels after getting this hormone may help your doctor ascertain the possible issues related to your pituitary gland or any other body parts.
What are the reasons for conducting an LH Blood Test?
Your doctor may like to investigate the LH levels in your blood in the following circumstances:
- In case a female is finding it difficult to achieve pregnancy
- In case your periods have gone irregular or absent
- In case you are suspected for attaining menopause
- In case of a male experiencing low testosterone level, like reduced sex drive or decreased muscle mass
- In case you are suspected of developing a pituitary disorder.
- In case of a boy or a girl seemingly attaining puberty too soon or too late
Besides, the LH blood examination, your doctor may ask you to undergo other tests to know the levels of other hormones, like FSH, progesterone, testosterone and estradiol.
- Menopause and your Menstrual Cycle
In case your periods have gone irregular or absent, your doctor may like ascertaining the LH levels in your blood to know the root cause for the same. The LH levels tend to rise after attaining menopause as your ovaries stop functioning during this phase to take signals from the LH levels.
In case you are facing difficulty in achieving pregnancy, your doctor may ask you to undergo the LH blood examination.
In case you are happen to be too young and facing issues of early or delayed puberty, your doctor may like you to undergo the LH blood test for ascertaining the probable causes of puberty issues.
These kinds of examinations can be performed at home and are utilized for enhancing the probability of achieving pregnancy. It is pertinent to know that these tests are useful and performed using your urine and not blood.
How Is the LH Blood examination performed?
For performing the LH Blood Test, the health specialist may draw a small quantity of blood from one of your arms. It is a short duration test, which may be performed in the doctor’s chamber or in the laboratory. The blood sample is afterwards analyzed for knowing the LH levels in your blood.
For drawing blood, the health specialist will drape a flexible band around the upper portion of your arm for causing your veins to protrude above the skin surface. He or she will then disinfect an area of the skin above a vein for inserting a hollow needle into the vein. A syringe appended behind the needle will suck up a small quantity of your blood.
Your treating doctor may advise you to undergo the LH blood test every day for many days. This helps the doctor in ascertaining the precise amount of LH levels in your blood simply because the LH amount varies during many stages of your menstrual cycle.
Risks linked to the LH Blood Test?
There are not major risks linked to having your blood drawn. The place where the needle is pierced may get bruised. You may exert pressure on it using a bandage on it for reducing the possibility. Also, though very rarely, some people get vein inflammation from where the blood is drawn and the condition is known as Phlebitis.
In case it happens to you, your health specialist may most likely cure it by applying a warm compress on the inflamed vein, all through the day. If you are suffering from any type of bleeding disorder, like Menorrhagia etc., ensure that you inform the treating health specialist before your blood is drawn. This will help you in avoiding the ensuing complications.
How to prepare myself for an LH Blood Test?
Your doctor may like to give you the precise guidelines for preparing yourself for the blood test. He may also advise you to stop using certain medicines may have an impact on the outcomes. Make a list of all the medicines and the supplements you have been using for giving it to your doctor.
You may be required to discontinue using birth controlling or other hormonal pills for nearly four weeks before undergoing the test. Your doctor may also like to know when you menstruated last. As is done in several other blood drawing procedures, you may be required to stop eating or drinking for about eight hours before undergoing the LH blood test.
In case you have undergone an examination or a procedure using radioactive materials 7 days before undergoing the LH blood test, do inform your treating doctor. It is important in view of the fact that these materials may interfere with the LH blood examination results.
Understanding the LH Blood Test Results
Your doctor may like to make you understand the meaning of your LH levels as and when your test results are available. However, as per the California University’s department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine in San Francisco, the under-mentioned LH values in your blood are deemed to be normal.
The values are quantified in IU/L i.e. International units per liter.
|Status||LH Blood Test Values in IU/L|
|Females in their follicular phase of periods||Between 1.9 and 12.5|
|Females in their peak phase of periods||Between 8.7 and 76|
|Females in their luteal phase of periods||Between 0.5 and 16.9|
|Pregnant Females||< 1.5|
|Females after Menopause||Between 15.9 and 54.0|
|Females using contraceptives||Between 0.7 and 5.6|
|Males from 20 to 70 years of age||Between 0.7 and 7.9|
|Males above 70 years of age||Between 3.1 and 34|
While the outcome may vary depending on the exact condition of an individual, some general explanations of the LH blood tests are discussed hereunder: If you are a female, the higher levels of LH and FSH may signify ovarian issues.
The condition is called primary ovarian failure. Some of the reasons of the primary ovarian failure are explained below:
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
- Thyroid/Adrenal ailments
- Underdeveloped Ovaries
- Ovarian Tumor
- Autoimmune Disorders
- Radiation Exposure
- Chemotherapy drugs use
- Genetic abnormalities, like Turner syndrome
If the hormone levels of both FSH and LH decline, they point to the secondary ovarian failure. This is an indication of some other parts of your body, causing the ovarian failure. In most cases, this happens because of issues with the brain areas that generate hormones, like the pituitary gland. In case you are a male, higher levels of LH may signify primary testicular failure. The reasons for testicular failure may include:
- Tumors, like a germ cell tumor
- Chromosomal abnormalities, like Klinefelter syndrome
- Radiation Exposure
- Gonad growth failure
- Viral infections, like the mumps
- Use of chemotherapy medicines
- Autoimmune disorders
Secondary testicular failure may also happen because of brain-related issues, like hypothalamus order. Apart from this, in case Gn-RH shot has been given to you by your doctor and your LH levels have gone down or remained the same, there is a probability of a pituitary disorder.
Among children, high LH levels signify the onset of early puberty. The early puberty is medically called precocious puberty. As per Dr Deeksha Tyagi of New Life India Clinic, girls tend to experience this condition more compared to boys. The probable causes, as perceived, are:
- Having a brain surgery history
- Infection or inflammation in the mid-nervous system, like encephalitis or meningitis
- Brain injury or Trauma
Delayed puberty with lower or normal LH levels may signify the under-mentioned disorders, like:
- Presence of cancerous substances
- Chronic infection
- Testicular or ovarian failure
- Hormone deficiency
- Klinefelter syndrome
- Turner syndrome
- Eating/Digestive disorder
The medicines that may alter the LH levels are:
Point to ponder:
Examining the LH levels in your body may indicate a number of disorders related to the growth of your reproductive system and fertility issues in you. In case your doctor has the suspicion of your having a condition that may affect the testicles, ovaries or the brain section that produce LH, the test may be helpful in revealing more information.