Luteinizing hormone (LH) is a hormone produced by a small pea sized pituitary gland situated in the brain. This hormone is important for both males and females for reproduction. In women LH is involved in maintenance of menses and release of egg from ovary. In males it has its role in production of testosterone, a male dominant hormone necessary for production of sperm.
Deficiency of luteinizing hormone can thus affect normal process of reproduction in both the genders. Deficiency of LH can cause delay in puberty in boys and girls. In adults deficiency may be noticed when they find out the reason of their infertility is deficient secretion of this hormone.
Causes Of Luteinizing Hormone Deficiency
Most of the hormone production is controlled and dominated by the pituitary gland and hypothalamus in brain as well as the gonads (testes and ovary).All the three form an axis called hypothalamic-pituitary- gonadal axis. The function of this axis is intertwined. They influence each other for production of LH and follicle stimulating hormone FSH.
In male luteinizing hormone stimulates the testis to produce androgen that is required to produce sperm. In females LH stimulates the ovaries to produce estrogen and progesterone both essential hormones for fertilization. Deficiency of LH can cause hypogonadism.
LH deficiency can be due to either problem related with hypothalamus or with pituitary gland.
- Kallmann syndrome: It is an inherited disease that runs in family. In this condition the patient lacks cells that produce gonadotropin releasing hormone which is instrumental in exciting the pituitary to produce luteinizing hormone. As a result the gonads do not produce androgen or estrogen and progesterone appropriately.
- Stress: Sometimes physical stress or metabolic stress can hamper the production of luteinizing hormone. Severe weight loss suddenly can affect the hormone production. Excessive exercise can also influence lesser production of this hormone. As a result woman who performs excessive sports activity may have delayed periods.
Other disorders of hypothalamus which affect secretion of gonadotropin releasing hormone can cause low level of luteinizing hormone.
Pituitary causes: Deficiency of luteinizing hormone can be caused due to tumor in this gland. Inflammation or damage to the blood vessels supplying the gland can also reduce its function of LH production. Under active thyroid, kidney dysfunction, certain anti-psychotic and anti-emetic medicines can cause deficiency of LH.
Symptoms Of Luteinizing Hormone Deficiency
The main symptoms of luteinizing hormone deficiency are noticed during pubertal age. There is delay in development of secondary sexual characteristics. Adults may come to know of the deficiency only when they find out the reason for their infertility is low level of LH. Here are some of the symptoms of luteinizing hormone deficiency.
- Delay in puberty
- Loss of smell
- Enlarged breast in men
- Irregularity of absence of menses in women.
- Absence of hair in pubic and underarm are in men and women.
- Women with underdeveloped breast.
- Impotence in men and lack of desire in female.
- The size of penis is very small.
Treatment For Luteinizing Hormone Deficiency
Treatment of luteinizing hormone deficiency can be focused on treating hypogonadism as well as treating pituitary dysfunction. Both can cause several untoward conditions such as infertility, impotence, osteoporosis of bone, bone fractures, etc.
- If there is delay of puberty in female, synthetic estrogen is given to the girl for development of secondary sexual characteristic such as pubic hair, enlargement of breast, increase of fat in buttocks etc.
- Maintaining healthy lifestyle will also help to increase estrogen in woman who has gonadal problems. She can eat certain foods that are known to increase the level of estrogen such as Miso, Soy, Tempeh, nuts, flax seeds, whole grains, broccoli, cauliflower etc.
- Women should try to gain some amount of weight if she is lean and suffering from LH deficiency.
- Synthetic testosterone preparations are given to male if he has deficiency of luteinizing hormone.
- Underlying causes such as tumor in pituitary gland should be removed surgically to increase LH.