Luteinizing Hormone

Understanding Your Levels Can Help You Conceive

The First Step – Knowledge and Understanding

When you’re trying to get pregnant, you need all the help you can get. It’s time for real answers to your questions.

  • How do you know if you're ovulating?
  • How can you track your ovulation and improve your chances of getting pregnant?
  • What can affect your fertility? 

Frequently Asked Questions

Studies have shown that overweight, fertile women have lower FSH and LH levels when compared to normal-weight women. Furthermore, weight reduction, associated with a very low calorie diet, results in a decrease in LH concentrations during the follicular phase. Having a very low body fat percentage can also affect ovulation. This occurs as the body attempts to preserve energy by putting a pause on certain functions like ovulation. These studies indicate the importance for each woman to understand her own cycle and hormone levels when trying to conceive.

Cycles are dynamic, meaning they can vary from month to month. This would include changes in the timing of a woman’s LH surge as well as changes in LH levels. It is normal to have variations in a cycle length from time to time. Irregular cycles can be caused by changes in stress, diet, sleep and weight. However, when a cycle varies in length for several months, by more than 7 to 9 days, it’s probably time to consult your doctor. By learning what your average cycle looks like, you’ll be better able to identify possible causes which created the change in your cycle.

It’s difficult to use the words ‘typical’ or ‘average’ when it come to LH, since levels can vary greatly from one woman to another. Here are a few examples for LH level ranges:
Follicular phase of the menstrual cycle: 1.9 to 12.5 IU/L
Peak of menstrual cycle: 8.7 to 76.3 IU/L
Luteal phase: 0.5 to 16.9 IU/L
Pregnant women: 15.9 to 54 IU/L

You may test any time of the day; however, it should be at approximately the same time each day. Also, you should not urinate for at least 2 hours before testing yourself. Make sure to reduce liquid intake during that time as well. Generally you only need to test once a day; however, if you believe you are surging, you can test multiple times a day to better understand your surge.

Hormones that are influence conception are impacted by stress. LH is produced by the pituitary gland which works together with the adrenal gland and the hypothalamus. As a woman experiences stress, cortisol is produced by the adrenal gland to enhance survival during challening times. As this process occurs, the pituitary gland receives a signal to delay a woman’s LH surge.

Cortisol Interferes with the Estradiol-Induced Surge of Luteinizing Hormone

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