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Luteinizing Hormone Test: Why and How is it Done?

Medically reviewed by Mary Rani Cadiz, MD · Obstetrics and Gynecology

Written by Stephanie Nera, RPh, PharmD · Updated Jun 24, 2022

    Luteinizing Hormone Test: Why and How is it Done?

    The Luteinizing Hormone Test, also referred to as the LH test, measures the level of luteinizing hormone (LH) in your blood. Luteinizing hormone is produced by the anterior pituitary gland. The hormone plays a significant role in the reproductive system and its functioning.

    Luteinizing hormone is also referred to as gonadotropin hormone. In females, the hormone affects the ovaries. The hormone also helps to manage the menstrual cycle and determine ovulation. In males, the hormone pushes the testicles to produce testosterone that is important in the production of sperm.

    It is important to maintain a healthy balance of hormones. Abnormal levels of hormones can cause a number of issues, including infertility, menstrual issues, or erection issues in men. Abnormal levels of LH in children can cause early or delayed puberty.

    If you are planning to get pregnant but have difficulty conceiving, your doctor may recommend doing the LH test. The spike that precedes ovulation can be detected using the LH test. Ovulation has occurred when the LH hormone level surges.

    Why is it done?

    The luteinizing hormone test helps measure the amount of luteinizing hormone in your blood. In females, the levels of the hormone may vary based on a number of factors including age and menstrual cycle.

    Doctors recommend the test to diagnose a number of conditions. A doctor may recommend the test to a woman if she is having difficulty getting pregnant or has irregular menstrual cycles. The test is recommended in men if they experience any signs and symptoms of low testosterone levels.

    In addition to the LH test, your doctor may recommend doing the follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) test. Both the test results are helpful in diagnosing a number of issues.

    For women, these test results are helpful to understand the cause of infertility, understand the ovulation cycle, know the cause of irregular periods, etc.

    For men, these test results are helpful to understand the cause of low sperm count and infertility.

    LH test is also recommended if you have symptoms of a pituitary disorder. Some of the common signs and symptoms of pituitary disorder include weakness, loss of appetite, sudden weight loss, etc.

    The test may also be conducted in children if puberty is too early or delayed.

    Prerequisites of an LH Test

    • Before scheduling an appointment for the test, your doctor will provide you with some instructions.
    • Inform your doctor about all the medications (prescribed and over-the-counter drugs), supplements, and herbals you take. Certain medications, herbals, and supplements might influence the results. Your doctor might recommend you to change the dosage or avoid taking certain medications for a few days before the test.
    • Your doctor may instruct you to avoid consumption of any food or drinks for at least eight to nine hours before the test.
    • For women, note the first day of your recent menstruation. This will be helpful in timing the test.
    • Avoid taking any contraceptive pills for at least one month prior to the test.
    • Inform your doctor if you have had any imaging test or any medical test in the last few days.

    LH Test: Understanding the results

    The LH blood levels are measured in international units per liter (IU/L).

    The normal levels may vary depending on the lab. So, make sure you get your reports analyzed by your doctor.

    In women, 5 to 25 IU/L is considered the normal range before menopause. The levels may change during the menstrual cycle. After menopause, the normal levels are between 14.2 and 52.3 IU/L.

    Abnormal levels of LH in the blood is an indication of issues with your ovaries. Some of the issues include ovarian tumor, underdeveloped ovaries, thyroid, excess exposure to radiation, etc.

    Elevated LH levels in women are an indication of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), or problems with ovulation. It could also be due to an underlying genetic disorder like Turner syndrome.

    Low LH levels in women are an indication of improper functioning of the pituitary gland, malnutrition, or eating disorder.

    The normal range for men is between 1.8 and 8.6 IU/L.

    Elevated LH levels in men are an indication of damage to the testicles due to alcohol abuse, chemotherapy, or any infection. It is also an indication of having Klinefelter’s syndrome. Low LH levels in men are an indication of pituitary gland disorders.

    Elevated LH levels in children are an indication of brain injury or disorder in the central nervous system. Elevated LH and follicle-stimulating hormone levels are also an indication of the start of puberty.

    Low LH levels along with follicle-stimulating hormone levels in children is an indication of delay in puberty.

    When should it be repeated?

    The test may be repeated to check your progress if you are undergoing treatment for the underlying condition.


    The procedure for Luteinizing Hormone (LH) test is similar to any other blood test. During the test, the healthcare professional will draw a small amount of blood from a vein in your arm. The collected blood sample is stored in a tube and analyzed.

    Before drawing the blood, the healthcare professional will disinfect the area with an alcohol wipe. And after drawing the blood, he/she will apply a bandage on the punctured area.

    The entire process is painless and hardly takes around 15 to 20 minutes.

    In some cases, your doctor may recommend you to visit the hospital and do the test for a few more days. Because the amount of hormones varies with your periods. Performing the test multiple times helps the doctor to diagnose the condition accurately.

    There are no potential risks associated with the test. In some cases, individuals may have bruising or bleeding on the punctured area.

    It is not a serious condition and can be addressed at home with the help of a cold compress and rest. However, if you experience severe bruising or excess bleeding, consult your doctor immediately to avoid any further complications.


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Mary Rani Cadiz, MD

    Obstetrics and Gynecology

    Written by Stephanie Nera, RPh, PharmD · Updated Jun 24, 2022

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