Gonadotropins

Luteinizing Hormone (LH)

Optimal Result: 0.7 - 12.5 IU/L.

Luteinizing hormone (LH) is a pituitary hormone that is essential for sexual development and reproduction in both men and women. LH is regulated by GnRH from the hypothalamus which is sensitive to circulating levels of sex hormones.  LH interacts with receptors on ovarian follicles and promotes their maturation. In the middle of the menstrual cycle, a surge of LH triggers ovulation and production of progesterone by the corpus luteum that is necessary for the maturation of the uterine endometrium for implantation of the fertilized egg. In males, LH stimulates production of testosterone by the testes. 

Reference ranges (IU/L):

- Follicular phase: 1.9 to 12.5 IU/L
- Peak of the menstrual cycle: 8.7 to 76.3 IU/L
- Luteal phase: 0.5 to 16.9 IU/L
- Pregnant women: less than 1.5 IU/L
- Past menopause: 15.9 to 54.0 IU/L
- 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

What does it mean if your Luteinizing Hormone (LH) result is too low?

Please refer to the gender and age specific reference ranges in the 'Research' section.

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If you’re a man: Low levels of LH in adult males may lead to low testosterone levels, potentially causing such symptoms as:

- sexual dysfunction
- lack of sexual interest
- fatigue

If you’re a woman: Low levels of both LH and FSH can indicate secondary ovarian failure. This means another part of your body causes ovarian failure. In many cases, this is the result of problems with the areas of your brain that make hormones, such as the pituitary gland.

What does it mean if your Luteinizing Hormone (LH) result is too high?

Please refer to the gender and age specific reference ranges in the 'Research' section.

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If you’re a man: high LH levels can indicate primary testicular failure. The causes of this condition can include:

- chromosome abnormalities, such as Klinefelter syndrome
- gonad development failure
- a history of viral infections, such as the mumps
- trauma
- radiation exposure
- history of taking chemotherapy medications
- autoimmune disorders
- tumors, such as a germ cell tumor

Secondary testicular failure can also be due to a brain-related cause, such as a disorder in the hypothalamus. Also, if your doctor has given you the GnRH shot and your LH levels went down or stayed the same, a pituitary disease is often to blame.

If you’re a woman, increased levels of LH and FSH can indicate a problem with your ovaries. This is known as primary ovarian failure. Some causes of primary ovarian failure can include:

- ovaries that are not properly developed
- genetic abnormalities, such as Turner syndrome
- exposure to radiation
- history of taking chemotherapy drugs
- autoimmune disorders
- ovarian tumor
- thyroid or adrenal disease
- polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

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