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Importance of LH and FSH levels in Infertility ?

PunyaHealth Experts -

PunyaHealth Experts

Published on 24 May 2019

Importance of LH and FSH levels in Infertility

What are LH and FSH?

Luteinizing Hormone and Follicle Stimulating Hormone are two hormones produced in both males and females, for various sexual functions of the gonads, pregnancy and fertility. They are both secreted by the pituitary gland situated at the base of the brain. Both hormones work hand-in-hand.

LH is also called gonadotropin. Its primary function is maturity of the ovaries in the females and testes in the males. It also controls the menstrual cycle, fertility, and stimulates production of other gonad hormones such as testosterone, progesterone and oestrogen.

FSH also performs similar functions as LH such as menstruation, and sperm production. Its main function is development of ovarian follicles, hence the name.

Measurement of LH and FSH Levels

The levels of both hormones can be detected in blood and urine, a blood test being the more common and accurate method. The blood is analysed for the amount of LH and FSH, and compared against expected normal values.

The normal values differ widely depending on factors such as:

            •           Gender: Usually higher in females as compared to males

            •           Age: In males, average levels after 70 years of age.

            •           Stage in menstrual cycle: LH and FSH levels peak at the middle of the cycle (around day 14), causing ovulation i.e. release of egg cell from ovary into the uterus. They remain at minimal levels through the rest of the cycle.

            •           Menopause: Levels remain at a nominal 15-55 IU/L post menopause.

            •           Pregnancy: Levels are drastically reduced in pregnant women.

Both, higher or lower levels of LH and FSH point to a disorder or abnormality. Your doctor or pathologist will be able to assess abnormalities depending on the above factors.

When should I consider testing for LH and FSH levels?

Some conditions or symptoms may be the diagnosed correctly with the help of an FSH and LH test. The abnormalities or conditions may include but are not limited to:

            •           Irregular periods

            •           Difficulty conceiving

            •           Ovarian, testicular or pituitary disease

            •           Low sperm count

            •           Confirming menopause

            •           Early or late puberty

Abnormal levels of either hormone may point to:

            •           Cancer of ovary or testes

            •           Genetic disease

            •           PCOS

            •           Radiation and chemotherapy

            •           Autoimmune diseases

            •           Trauma

Very low secretion may lead to underdevelopment of gonads (hypogonadism), and delayed puberty.

Excess secretion shows no biological effect, but instead is an effect of absence of gonads.

In case of abnormal levels, hormone therapy may be used to bring down or increase hormone levels as required.