Luteinizing hormone (LH)

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Latest Edit: Hector 2014-03-24 (EDT)

See Also Lab Tests

Luteinizing hormone (LH) is commonly measured to evaluate menopause, pituitary function, including fertility issues, gonadal failure, maturation concerns or pituitary tumors.[1]


  • Luteinizing hormone is also known as Interstitial Cell Stimulating Hormone (ICSH)
  • LH is produced in the anterior pituitary gland in reponse to stimulation by gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GNRH). Control of LH production is a complex system involving hormones produced by the ovaries or testes, the pituitary and the hypothalamus.
  • High levels of LH (and FSH) at mid-cycle triggers ovulation for women.
  • LH stimulates the ovaries to produce steroids, primarily estradiol.
  • In men, LH stimulates a Leydig cells which reside in the testes to produce testosterone.
  • Indications for assessing LH levels include:
  • difficulty getting pregnant, irregular or heavy menstrual periods
  • symptoms of pituitary or hypothalamic disorders
  • symptoms of ovarian or testicular disease
  • delayed or early childhood sexual maturation

Patient Preparation

  • No fasting required.
  • LH can be measured in blood, or urine
  • Factors which can cause increased levels
  • radiation therapy
  • Medications such as cimetidine, digitalis, levodopa, anticonvulsants, clomiphene, naloxone, and spironalactone
  • Factors which can cause decreased levels

Clinical Implications

High levels indicate:

  • primary ovarian failure
  • primary testicular failure

Low levels indicate:

  • Secondary ovarian failure

Associated Tests


  1. Pagana Kathleen D, Pagana Timothy J (2006) Mosby's Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, Mosby.