Luteinizing Hormone Test: What Is the Normal LH Level for Fertility?

Luteinizing Hormone (LH) is essential for the formation and proper functioning of the reproductive organs. In women, LH helps to trigger ovulation and release an egg from the ovaries. In men, LH stimulates the production of testosterone in the testes.

The LH test measures the amount of LH hormone in the blood or urine and can help diagnose issues related to the reproductive system. In women, abnormal levels of LH may indicate conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome or premature ovarian failure. In men, abnormal levels of LH may be associated with conditions such as male-factor infertility or male hypogonadism.

This article provides an overview of LH tests, normal levels of Luteinizing hormone (LH), and how to interpret the LH test results.

the Normal LH Test Level in Males & Females

What Is Luteinizing Hormone (LH)?

Luteinizing Hormone (LH) is a gonadotropin hormone that is produced in the pituitary gland. In women, LH levels rise and fall throughout the menstrual cycle, with a surge in LH triggering ovulation. This surge in LH typically occurs around the mid-follicular phase of the menstrual cycle (day 14 in a 28-day menstrual cycle), causing the mature egg to be released from the ovary. After ovulation, LH levels decrease and remain low until the next menstrual cycle begins.

It is important to note that the levels of LH (Luteinizing Hormone) and Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) fluctuate together throughout each menstrual cycle.

How Is FSH Interpreted?
Read more: What Is the FSH Test? + [Normal Range for Male & Females]

How Luteinizing Hormone Test is Done?

There are two methods for measuring LH levels: blood test or urinalysis. However, if this test is prescribed during pregnancy, multiple tests are needed to detect the cause of fluctuations in luteinizing hormone (LH). 

On the other hand, doctors can assess the body's response and determine if there are any abnormalities in the regulation of LH production by administering a gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) antagonist.

How Luteinizing Hormone Test is Done?

What Is the Normal Level of LH Test?

The normal values of LH hormone can vary depending on different factors such as the patient's age, health, the timing of the menstrual cycle, and the laboratory.

LH test results are according to international units per milliliter (IU/mL), as follows:

  • Pregnant Women: > 1.5 IU/L
  • Women at the peak of the menstrual cycle: 8.7 to 76.3 IU/L
  • Women in the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle: 1.9 to 12.5 IU/L
  • Women using contraceptives: 0.7 to 5.6 IU/L
  • Women past menopause: 15.9 to 54.0 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

LH Normal Range

How to Interpret the Results of an LH Test in Women?

Luteinizing hormone (LH) is a vital hormone for the reproductive system in women, playing a key role in regulating the menstrual cycle and supporting fertility. As mentioned, LH levels change depending on the time in the menstrual cycle. 

High LH levels in women's blood may indicate:

  • Anovulation;
  • ovarian disorders;
  • Ovarian failure;
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and Turner Syndrome;
  • Menopause;
  • Autoimmune disorders;
  • Hypothalamus and adrenal insufficiency.

Low LH levels in women's blood may indicate:

  • Pituitary gland disorders;
  • Nutritional disorders such as Malnutrition;
  • Disorders of the Hypothalamus such as Anorexia nervosa (AN).

LH Test Result Sample

How to Interpret the Results of an LH Test in Men?

Luteinizing hormone (LH) prompts the testes to produce testosterone, which is essential for sperm production. The male hormone testosterone contributes to the development of secondary sex characteristics such as deepening of the voice, growth of pubic hair and facial hair, and increased muscle mass. 

High levels of LH in males may indicate:

  • Testicular dysfunction to chemotherapy and radiation therapy;
  • Infections;
  • Alcohol abuse;
  • Klinefelter syndrome (a genetic disorder that affects male sexual development);
  • Adrenal gland disorders;
  • Aging (LH levels naturally increase with age in men);
  • Certain medications or drugs, such as opioids or anabolic steroids;
  • Past viral infections such as mumps.

Low levels of LH hormone in men are a sign of the following symptoms:

  • Hypogonadism (low testosterone levels);
  • Sexual dysfunction;
  • Decreased libido;
  • Fatigue.

the Results of an LH Test in Men

How to Interpret the Results of an LH Test in Children?

LH levels in children are different from those in adults, as they are still in the process of developing their reproductive system. In children, high levels of luteinizing hormone, along with high levels of follicle-stimulating hormone, may indicate precocious (early) puberty (before age 9 in girls and before age 10 in boys). This condition is associated with congenital and acquired structural changes in the central nervous system. 

Low LH levels in children can indicate:

  • Delayed puberty;
  • Ovarian or testicular disorders;
  • Turner syndrome (TS) in girls or Klinefelter syndrome in boys;
  • Infections;
  • Hormone deficiency;
  • Nutritional disorders.

Why is the Luteinizing Hormone Test Done?

The LH test is a valuable diagnostic tool used to measure the level of luteinizing hormone. It helps diagnose and evaluate the following:

  • Infertility;
  • Ovulation time;
  • Ovulation induction;
  • Menstrual irregularities;
  • Premature puberty (before the age of 9 in girls and 10 in boys);
  • Late or delayed puberty;
  • Menopause;
  • Sperm count.

What Complementary Tests Are Done Along with the Luteinizing Hormone Test?

In some cases, additional complementary tests may be prescribed to confirm the LH test results more thoroughly. These tests may include:

  • Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) test: to assess the function of the pituitary gland and its impact on fertility;
  • Progesterone Test: to evaluate female fertility;
  • AMH test: to measure the ovarian reserve;
  • Prolactin test: to diagnose pregnancy;
  • Testosterone test: to investigate sexual problems in both men and women, irregular periods in women, and testicular tumors in men;
  • Androstenedione Test: to investigate premature puberty in boys and the development of secondary sex characteristics in women;
  • Semen analysis: to evaluate the morphology and motility of sperm;
  • SHBG test: to measure testosterone levels in both men and women.

Luteinizing hormone (LH) is a vital hormone for the reproductive system in women

Final Word

LH plays a crucial role in females' ovulation and testosterone production in males. LH levels can be measured through a blood test or urine test. The hormone's normal level may vary depending on age, sex, and reproductive stage.  

In females, LH levels rise and fall during the menstrual cycle, with a surge in LH triggering ovulation. In males, LH stimulates the Leydig cells in the testicles to produce testosterone. 

Disorders affecting the hypothalamus, pituitary, ovaries, or testicles can cause the production of too much or too little LH, leading to infertility and other health problems.

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