What is lutropin (LH)?
In women, LH stimulates the production of estrogen and progesterone in the ovaries and controls ovulation. During the menstrual cycle, LH production in the pituitary gland increases and causes ovulation, which means that the egg is released from the ovary to be fertilized by sperm.
In men, LH stimulates the production of testosterone in the testicles, which is necessary for sperm production and sexual function.
Why analyze lutropin (LH)?
LH can be measured in the blood to evaluate the reproductive system in both men and women. Abnormalities in LH levels may indicate problems with the pituitary gland, ovaries or testicles.
Here are some of the most common reasons for analyzing LH:
- LH levels can help evaluate the causes of infertility in both men and women.
- LH levels can be used to diagnose and monitor conditions such as missed or irregular periods.
- LH levels can be used to assess puberty development in adolescents.
- LH levels can be monitored during treatments with hormones, such as fertility treatments.
- Elevated or decreased levels of LH may indicate diseases or disorders of the pituitary gland, ovaries or testicles, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or hypogonadism.
LH levels can be measured through a blood or urine test. It is important to discuss any results with a doctor or other medical professional to understand their meaning and possible treatment options.
What can a high LH value mean?
A high lutropin (LH) level can indicate several different health conditions, depending on whether the high level is detected in a man or a woman and what stage of life the person is in. Here are some possible causes of high LH levels:
- In women, high LH levels can indicate ovulation disorders, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or luteal phase defect, which can make it more difficult to get pregnant.
- In women, high LH levels may indicate that the person is in or approaching menopause. When the ovaries stop producing estrogen, negative feedback on the pituitary gland decreases, leading to higher LH levels.
- In men, high LH levels may indicate problems with the testicles, such as primary testicular insufficiency (formerly known as hypogonadism), where the testicles do not produce enough testosterone.
- High LH levels can also occur in people undergoing hormone therapy, e.g. fertility treatments.
- In rare cases, high LH levels may indicate a pituitary tumor that produces too much LH.
What can a low LH value mean?
Here are some possible causes of low LH levels:
- Low LH levels may indicate problems with the pituitary gland, which produces LH. This may be due to a pituitary tumor, an injury or disease affecting the pituitary gland, or the use of medications that interfere with pituitary function.
- Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) is a hormone produced in the brain that stimulates the pituitary gland to produce LH and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). Low levels of GnRH can lead to low LH levels and thus cause infertility in both men and women.
- The hypothalamus is a part of the brain that regulates the production of GnRH. Low LH levels can be due to problems with the hypothalamus affecting GnRH production.
- Low LH levels can also occur in people with anorexia nervosa, an eating disorder where the person restricts their food intake and can thus disrupt the hormonal balance.
- Low LH levels can also occur as a result of stress or other psychological factors that affect hormone production.