Luteinizing Hormone: Functions, Importance, And More

Medically reviewed by Maria Sarino, MD FACT CHECKED

Do you want to know all about the most important hormone in your body that processes different functions of your reproductive system?

If yes, then this is the right article you have come across. In this article, we will explain everything about the Luteinising hormone- be it its function, meaning, deficiency, tests, and so on.

Luteinizing hormone is a crucial hormone that controls the reproductive system and is produced by the pituitary gland. It is also referred to as the interstitial cells stimulating hormone or LH.

Just like the follicle-stimulating hormone, it is a type of gonadotropic hormone because it is released by the cells in the anterior pituitary gland.

The major function of LH is to augment the production of hormones that can help to support pregnancy.

Due to the same reason, your healthcare provider can even conduct a luteinizing hormone test in case you have irregular menstruation or other issues related to fertility.

The tiny structure referred to as the pituitary gland in your brain is responsible for your fertility issues.

Any changes in the production of luteinizing hormone by this gland could in turn bring a change in your sex organs like the testes or the ovaries and hence inhibit your reproductive system from functioning correctly.

Functions Of Luteinizing Hormone

As mentioned earlier, the luteinizing hormone can help to perform a plethora of processes in your reproductive system.

Along with the luteinizing hormone, your pituitary gland even releases the follicle-stimulating hormone that in combination with the luteinizing hormone helps to perform the different processes of the reproductive system.

The major aim of both these hormones together is to provide a signal to your sex organs, namely the testes and ovaries, to initiate their required processes.

Now let’s understand the functions of the luteinizing hormone based on whether it is released in females or males.

Luteinizing Hormone In Females

In females, the Luteinizing hormone carries different functions in the two halves of the menstrual cycle.

First of all, in one to two weeks of your menstrual cycle, this hormone can help to stimulate your ovaries to produce the female sex hormone known as oestradiol.

Besides this, the Luteinizing hormone could even help in the rupture of your ovarian follicle around the 14th day of your menstrual cycle.

This rupture in turn helps to release the egg from the ovary and hence stimulate the process of ovulation. The role of luteinizing hormone in females does not stop here.

For the remaining period of the menstrual cycle, that is approx weeks three to four, the remnants of the ovarian follicle are known as corpus luteum.

Luteinizing hormone in turn helps this corpus luteum to produce progesterone, which is another hormone that is required In the process of pregnancy if the egg is fertilized.

Luteinizing hormone in males

Luteinizing hormone is also a crucial hormone in males and is found in fairly stable levels after puberty. In males, this hormone could foster the Leydig cells in the testes to produce testosterone.

Testosterone in turn has myriad added sexual benefits for males. First of all, it helps in amplifying your sperm motility and its production.

On the other hand, it also helps to generate different male characteristics, like a deep voice through the enlargement of the larynx, increased muscle mass, growth of body hair, etc.

Moreover, this hormone is also responsible to release testosterone in transgender women and non-binary people with penises or even cisgender men.

Controlling The Level Of Luteinizing Hormone

Though the luteinizing hormone in your body is produced in the brain, it helps to regulate the different processes of the reproductive system.

The hypothalamus located in your brain is responsible for secreting a hormone referred to as the gonadotropin-releasing hormone.

This happens because, within the hypothalamus, there is kisspeptin which is responsible for the release of the gonadotropin-releasing hormone.

This hormone in turn gives a signal to your pituitary gland to release the luteinizing hormone. Along with the luteinizing hormone, the follicle-stimulating hormone is also released.

Moreover, the released luteinizing hormone is then carried in the bloodstream from where it binds to the receptors of the ovaries and testes and hence regulates their functions.

However, the secretion of luteinizing hormone from the anterior pituitary gland is controlled when the gonads reduce the secretion of the gonadotropin-releasing hormone and kisspeptin.

The reverse happens when the level of the gonadotrophin-releasing hormone, as well as kisspeptin, rises. At the same time, the luteinizing hormone levels in your body could even rise.

The optimum levels of the luteinizing hormone in your body are very essential for fertility.

Due to the same reason, different compounds are designed to replicate the results of the luteinizing hormone and the gonadotrophin-releasing hormones. These compounds use different techniques like in-vitro fertilization.

Luteinizing Hormone Level Tests

To make sure that the level of luteinizing hormone in your body is ideal, you can undergo the luteinizing hormone levels test.

Under this test, your healthcare provider can measure the level of the luteinizing hormone in your body.

Either too much or too little levels of the luteinizing hormone in your body could indicate a variety of problems like infertility, low sex drive, delayed puberty, or menstrual difficulties in females.

This test is performed in males, females, and children for different reasons.

If you are a male then your healthcare provider may require you to undergo this test to substantiate the reason behind low levels of testosterone, low sex drive, and low muscle mass.

On the other hand, females might undergo this test to verify if they are having menopause or to know about their irregular menstrual cycles and fertility issues.

What Happens During The Luteinizing Hormone Level Test?

You do not need to do anything special to prepare for the luteinizing hormone test. All you have to do is visit your healthcare provider who can take a sample of your blood for the test.

For this, he will use a thin needle and insert it into the vein of your arm and then use a bandage to stop the bleeding. This procedure can take anywhere around 5 minutes or even less.

At the same time, your doctor may also check the levels of the follicle-stimulating hormone in your body.

Though only risks of this test are that you may feel lightheaded and you could have a bruise at the puncture site.

Results Of Luteinizing Hormone Level Test

The results of the luteinizing hormone vary from person to person based on their gender. In case you are a woman and you have low luteinizing hormone levels, then it could mean that you have an eating disorder or malnutrition.

Other than this, it may even show that your pituitary gland is not working properly.

On the other hand, in case you have high luteinizing hormone levels and you are a female then it could indicate that you have primary ovarian failure.

There are myriad reasons behind this condition like a metabolic disorder, genetic disorder, undergoing treatments like chemotherapy or radiation therapy, exposure to toxins like chemicals, smoke, etc., or fewer follicles.

Now let’s have a glance at the meaning of the luteinizing hormone levels test for men.

In case you are a man and you have high levels of luteinizing hormone then it could be an indication of a condition known as primary testicular failure.

This condition can happen due to a plethora of reasons like obesity, genetic diseases, the presence of undescended testicles at birth, certain medications like opioid medicines, or diseases that could affect your testicles like testicular cancer, mumps, or testicular torsion.

Moreover, in case you have low levels of luteinizing hormone and you are a man, then it could simply mean that there is a disorder with your hypothalamus or your pituitary gland.

Other than the gender, the results of the luteinizing hormone levels test can also be different for the children. High levels of luteinizing hormone along with follicle-stimulating hormone in children indicate early puberty.

On the other hand, in case puberty happens before the age of nine, then it could even be a symptom of a brain injury or a disorder of the central nervous system.

Other than this, low levels of the luteinizing hormone as well as the follicle-stimulating hormone in children might indicate a delay in puberty causing Klinefelters syndrome in the males and turner syndrome in the girls.

Let's Wrap It Up!

So this was pretty much all you need to know about the luteinizing hormone. The levels of this hormone in your body are a vivid indication of the functioning of your pituitary gland and sex organs.

Hence, getting a luteinizing hormone levels test can even help you to know whether you have optimum levels of this hormone or not and then you can modify accordingly.

These modifications could be in terms of your lifestyle and diet changes which your healthcare provider may suggest in case of very low or very high levels of luteinizing hormone in your body.

Hopefully, this article was helpful for you to learn about the luteinizing hormone!

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