What is low luteinizing hormones? Symptoms, causes and prevention

Low luteinizing hormones, also called luteinizing hormone deficiency, is a rare condition that typically occurs in combination with follicle-stimulating hormone deficiency. This is because both of those hormones are secreted by pituitary ganodotrope cells. These hormones are labelled as ‘gonadotrophic’ due to their role in female and male fertility by regulating ovaries and testicle functions respectively. This guide will explore luteinizing hormone deficiency, highlighting the causes, symptoms and prevention/treatments available.

What is low luteinizing hormones?

Luteinizing hormones control the reproductive system for both sexes:

  • In women, luteinizing hormones stimulate the production of oestradiol and regulate the release of eggs during ovulation. Luteinizing hormones also stimulate the production of progesterone to sustain pregnancy once an egg has been fertilised.
  • In men, luteinizing hormones stimulate the production of testosterone, which in turn stimulates the production of sperm.

Due to these functions, a deficiency in luteinizing hormones can lead to fertility and reproduction problems caused by a lack of sex hormone production.

What are the symptoms of low luteinizing hormones?

Low luteinizing hormones can cause the following symptoms:

In both sexes:

  • Low sex drive
  • Infertility
  • Fatigue

In women:

  • Hot flashes
  • Irregular or lack of periods
  • Loss of pubic hair
  • Inability to produce milk for breastfeeding

In men:

  • Decreased facial or body hair
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Mood swings

It is essential to note that the symptoms abovementioned aren’t necessarily a sign of low luteinizing hormones, however, it is important that you see your GP to assess the cause of such symptoms.

What are the causes of low luteinizing hormones?

Low luteinizing hormones can be caused by a number of conditions affecting the pituitary gland and thereby affecting normal hormone production. The causes can include:

  • Pituitary tumours
  • Radiation treatment to the neck/head
  • Strokes
  • Haemorrhage (bleeding into the brain or pituitary gland)
  • Inflammation of the pituitary gland
  • Brain infection and other inflammatory diseases
  • Extreme blood loss during childbirth
  • Medications such as narcotics, corticosteroids and cancer drugs

How to prevent and treat low luteinizing hormones

There are currently no recognized ways of preventing low luteinizing hormones, and treatment will largely depend on the cause. However, menotropins injections are the most common type of treatment for low luteinizing hormones as it aids fertility. It consists of a mix of luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone to aid ovulation in women and sperm production in men. This may be combined with other types of fertility treatments.

Additionally, root causes such as tumours, inflammation, strokes and bleeding will need to be diagnosed and treated adequately. Your GP will be able to assess this and prescribe the necessary treatment.

What is considered low luteinizing hormones?

The normal range of luteinizing hormones varies between men and women, and also vary depending on women’s menstrual cycle. As a general guideline, the normal levels of luteinizing hormones are as follow:

Sex Recommended range
Male 1.42 to 15.4 IU/L
Female (in follicular phase) 1.37 to 9 IU/L
Female (in midcycle peak phase) 6.17 to 17.2 IU/L
Female (in luteal phase) 1.09 to 9.2 IU/L
Female (postmenopausal) 19.3 to 100.6IU/L

Levels that are above or below the recommended ranges may indicate a hyperactive or underactive thyroid. Your GP will need to do further tests to establish a diagnosis and recommend the type of treatment needed if necessary.

How can I get tested for low luteinizing hormones?

At a clinic

You can opt for our male hormone profile health assessment package, as it assesses the levels of several hormones including luteinizing hormones, testosterone and oestrogen. Our packages consist of in-depth, face-to-face health checks with a Health Assessment Specialist, which you can easily book online at one of over 2,000 mobile clinics available nationwide. You will receive a wide array of other key health markers and a detailed results report sent through the post.