Luteinising hormone is a sex hormone produced by the pituitary gland in the brain. In women, it helps to stimulate the release of an egg from the ovaries and in men, it stimulates the production of testosterone.
Luteinising hormone has a pivotal role in the female reproductive system. Alongside another hormone, follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), LH is responsible for the normal function of the ovaries. The menstrual cycle is split into follicular and luteal phases. Around the middle of the cycle, there is a rise in both FSH and LH which causes an egg follicle on an ovary to rupture and release an egg. During the luteal phase, a corpus luteum is formed at the site of the follicle rupture. The release of LH stimulates the corpus luteum to produce another hormone, progesterone. The levels of FSH and LH fall, while progesterone continues to rise alongside oestrogen. If the egg is unfertilised these levels decrease, and menstruation begins. A new cycle begins when menstruation is over. During the menopause, the level of LH can rise as ovarian function begins to decrease.
High levels of LH alongside FSH can be a sign of primary ovarian failure and can be caused by developmental defects or disease. During the menopause women also have high levels of LH in their system. This is a normal response from the body. Due to the changing levels of hormones in your system, the menopause can cause several side effects, including:
Slightly raised LH higher than FSH can be indicative of PCOS.
In men, high levels of LH can be a sign of primary testicular failure and can represent low or no sperm production.
Low levels of FSH and LH can represent an imbalance in the pituitary gland or hypothalamus.
Both low and high levels of LH can have consequences for fertility. In men, high LH could suggest testicular failure. Low levels, on the other hand, could suggest hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism – reduced hormone secretion or other physiological activity of the testes.
Infertility can present several psychological and social problems for couples and individuals. It can cause stress on the relationship, decrease sexual intimacy and cause depression.
If you are female, it is important that your LH levels are determined at the right time during your menstrual cycle. During your cycle, FSH and LH levels will fluctuate and so the sample should be taken within the first four days of your cycle to give an accurate result. If you are going through the menopause then your sample can be taken at any time.
Taking steps to improve your lifestyle may help to reduce the symptoms associated with your LH levels or help improve your fertility status. Obesity can have a role in many reproductive disorders. Other lifestyle factors which should be addressed include smoking, alcohol intake and stressors.
During menstruation it is important to keep your body fuelled up on iron, so include sources such as dark green leafy vegetables, red meat and liver.
In general, you should aim to eat a balanced diet. Increasing your essential fatty acids (EFA’s), like those found in oily fish, can help to increase hormone levels.
Weight loss has been shown to help restore reproductive function. Exercise should be encouraged, and you should aim to complete around 150 minutes of exercise per week spread over a few days.
A hormone check for women who believe they may be starting to transition through the menopause.
A comprehensive test of key male hormones which can affect libido, muscle strength, energy and much more.
This profile analyses key biomarkers which can not only affect your fertility, but also mood, energy and weight.
For women in various stages of the menopause who want to check hormone levels as well as the impact changes may be having on their overall wellbeing.
 Ezcurra, D and Humaidan, P. (2014). A Review of Luteinising Hormone and Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin When Used in Assisted Reproductive Technology. Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology: 12.
 NHS Choices. (2015). Menopause. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/menopause/symptoms/
 Schipper, I., Rommerts, F, F, G., ten Hacken, P, M and Fauser, B, C, J. (1997). Low Levels of Follicle-Stimulating Hormone Receptor-Activation Inhibitors in Serum and Follicular Fluid from Normal Controls and Anovulatory Patients With or Without Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism: 82(5), pp 1325-1331.
 Esteves, S, C., Miyaoka, R and Agarwal, A. (2011). An Update on the Clinical Assessment of the Infertile Male. Clinics: 66(4), pp 691-700.
 Baghianimoghadam, M, H., Aminian, A, H and Fallahzadeh, H. (2013). Mental Health Status of Infertile Couples Based on Treatment Outcome. Iranian Journal of Reproductive Medicine: 11(6), pp 503-510.
 Norman, R, J., Noakes, M., Wu, R., Davies, M, J., Moran, L and Wang, J, X. (2004). Improving Reproductive Performance in Overweight/ Obese Women with Effective Weight Management. Human Reproduction Update: 10(3), pp 267-280.