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Luteinizing Hormone Test

Last updated July 23, 2019

Approved by: Maulik P. Purohit MD, MPH

The Luteinizing Hormone Test measures the levels of luteinizing hormone in blood or urine. It is used to assess fertility and health of the reproductive organs. It is also used to detect ovulation.

What are the other Names for this Test? (Equivalent Terms)

  • ICSH Test
  • Interstitial Cell Stimulating Hormone Test
  • Lutropin Test 

What is Luteinizing Hormone Test? (Background Information)

  • Luteinizing hormone (LH) is produced in the pituitary gland of men and women. It plays important functions in reproductive and sexual health
  • In women, LH levels fluctuate with the menstrual cycle; estrogens secreted by the ovaries, stimulate LH release. LH then causes the follicle cells of the ovaries to release an egg, a process known as ovulation
  • In men, GnRH (gonadotropin-releasing hormone) secreted by the hypothalamus, stimulates LH release. LH then causes the interstitial cells of the testes, to produce testosterone
  • LH also causes the development of the leftover follicle mass into a corpus luteum, which undergoes further development in the event that the egg is fertilized. The hormone causes progesterone secretion in women. Rising progesterone levels inhibit LH secretion
  • The Luteinizing Hormone Test measures the levels of luteinizing hormone in blood or urine. It is used to assess fertility and health of the reproductive organs. It is also used to detect ovulation

What are the Clinical Indications for performing the Luteinizing Hormone Test?

Following are the clinical indications for performing a Luteinizing Hormone Test:

  • To evaluate early- or late-onset puberty
  • Monitor hormone therapy
  • Irregularities in menstrual cycle
  • Infertility 

How is the Specimen Collected for Luteinizing Hormone Test?

Following is the specimen collection process for Luteinizing Hormone Test:

Sample required: Blood or urine


  • Insertion of a needle into an arm vein (for a blood sample)
  • Urination into a sterile container over a 24-hour period (for a urine sample)

Preparation required: No special preparation is needed prior to the test. 

What is the Significance of the Luteinizing Hormone Test Result?

The significance of Luteinizing Hormone Test is explained: 

Increased luteinizing hormone levels may indicate:

  • Menopause
  • Primary gonadal dysfunction, caused by:
    • Trauma
    • Viral infection
    • Chemotherapy
    • Autoimmune disease
    • Cancer
    • Radiation exposure
    • Central nervous system inflammation 

Decreased luteinizing hormone levels may indicate:

  • Malnutrition
  • Kallmann’s syndrome
  • Pituitary disorder
  • Severe stress 

The laboratory test results are NOT to be interpreted as results of a "stand-alone" test. The test results have to be interpreted after correlating with suitable clinical findings and additional supplemental tests/information. Your healthcare providers will explain the meaning of your tests results, based on the overall clinical scenario. 

Additional and Relevant Useful Information:

  • Luteinizing hormone release mirrors the release of gonadotropin-releasing hormone in women, which occurs in pulses 

Certain medications that you may be currently taking may influence the outcome of the test. Hence, it is important to inform your healthcare provider, the complete list of medications (including any herbal supplements) you are currently taking. This will help the healthcare provider interpret your test results more accurately and avoid unnecessary chances of a misdiagnosis.

References and Information Sources used for the Article:

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: July 17, 2014
Last updated: July 23, 2019