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What Are the Effects of Elevated Luteinizing Hormone?

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

The effects of elevated luteinizing hormone levels can vary. Typically, elevated levels around the middle of a woman's menstrual cycle stimulate ovulation, but sometimes the effects are not beneficial. When levels are high during other times of the cycle, the hormone can interfere with ovulation and contribute to irregular periods and infertility. In fact, high levels of luteinizing hormone are also associated with a condition called polycystic ovarian syndrome. Additionally, high levels in men may cause issues with sperm and hormone production as well as symptoms including decreased sex drive and mood swings.

The most common effect of high levels of luteinizing hormone is ovulation. This hormone may be present in small amounts in a woman's body throughout her menstrual cycle. Somewhere around the midpoint of her cycle, however, a woman typically experiences a surge of luteinizing hormone that stimulates her ovaries to release an egg. The levels do not remain high for the rest of the cycle, however. Instead, they drop off significantly after this surge.

Elevated luteinizing hormone levels may contribute to infertility.
Elevated luteinizing hormone levels may contribute to infertility.

The effects of elevated luteinizing hormone levels may be more troublesome when they do not occur around the time of expected ovulation. When levels are elevated during other times in a woman's cycle, the results may be irregular periods and interference with ovulation and conception. Interestingly, low levels can also interfere with normal menstruation and a woman's chances of conceiving a child.

Elevated luteinizing hormone levels may cause a decreased sex drive.
Elevated luteinizing hormone levels may cause a decreased sex drive.

Sometimes elevated luteinizing hormone levels are associated with disorders that affect the ovaries. For instance, a woman with an elevated level of this hormone could have a condition called polycystic ovarian syndrome. This condition is typically marked by multiple cysts on the ovaries, irregular menstruation, and trouble conceiving. Unexplained weight gain, abnormal facial and body hair growth, and acne may accompany this issue as well. Additionally, some women even develop balding as a result.

Sometimes elevated luteinizing hormone levels are associated with disorders that affect the ovaries.
Sometimes elevated luteinizing hormone levels are associated with disorders that affect the ovaries.

It is important to note that in the case of polycystic ovarian syndrome, elevated luteinizing hormone does not cause the condition. Instead, the elevated level of this hormone is a symptom of the problem. Essentially, this means that a person's hormone level is higher than normal because she has the disorder — she does not have the disorder because of the hormone. The causes of this ovarian disorder are not well known, but doctors theorize that it may develop in relation to too much insulin, high levels of male hormones, inflammation that leads to insulin resistance, and genetics.

Elevated luteinizing hormone levels may cause irregular periods.
Elevated luteinizing hormone levels may cause irregular periods.

Though people most often speak of this hormone in terms of women, men have it as well. When it is present in overly high amounts in males, it can cause a range of problems. For example, it can contribute to testicular failure, which is marked by problems with the production of hormones and sperm. Abnormal levels can also contribute to mood swings, fatigue, and changes in sex drive. Low sperm count and late puberty are also among the effects of abnormal levels.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a TheHealthBoard writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a TheHealthBoard writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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Discussion Comments

anon995432

I'm 25, petite 7 and a half stone 5 foot 4. I've conceived one child young, with no problems. I was diagnosed with pcos in 2013 and today am still trying for a second child. It's now been just over six years. Don't be fooled: Pcos is not the same for everyone and unfortunately there are plenty of cases like mine. Sorry to be a bummer, but there's not always hope. If your'e skinny and can't lose weight, how do I conceive naturally?

TalkingByte

Like the article says, high insulin can be a cause of POS. For this reason, your gynecologist will usually recommend occasional glucose tests, even if you are not diabetic.

However, a lot of doctors think that obesity is a cause of both high luteinizing hormone levels and the other symptoms of POS.

This is odd because obesity is more commonly linked to high blood sugar, not high insulin levels.

Certlerant

The high levels of luteinizing hormone present in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome can normally be reduced with estrogen.

Women with this issue are usually put on birth control pills to regulate their periods. This also generally reduces other symptoms of POS like weight gain and excessive hair growth or loss.

Women with POS who do not want to be on the pill and do want to get pregnant can control their hormone levels through other, non-contraceptive hormone pills.

Once the symptoms of POS, including elevated luteinizing hormone, are under control, most affected women are able to get pregnant and have healthy babies.

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    • Elevated luteinizing hormone levels may contribute to infertility.
      By: diego cervo
      Elevated luteinizing hormone levels may contribute to infertility.
    • Elevated luteinizing hormone levels may cause a decreased sex drive.
      By: Asia Yakushevich
      Elevated luteinizing hormone levels may cause a decreased sex drive.
    • Sometimes elevated luteinizing hormone levels are associated with disorders that affect the ovaries.
      By: pankajstock123
      Sometimes elevated luteinizing hormone levels are associated with disorders that affect the ovaries.
    • Elevated luteinizing hormone levels may cause irregular periods.
      By: Dragos Iliescu
      Elevated luteinizing hormone levels may cause irregular periods.
    • Typically, elevated levels of luteinizing hormone around the middle of a woman's menstrual cycle stimulates ovulation.
      By: blueringmedia
      Typically, elevated levels of luteinizing hormone around the middle of a woman's menstrual cycle stimulates ovulation.