Luteinizing hormone is one of the important hormones, which plays an important role in both males and females. Luteinizing hormone deficiency can lead to several health issues. It is important to know about the causes, symptoms and treatment for luteinizing hormone deficiency.
What is Luteinizing Hormone?
Luteinizing Hormone or LH is the hormone secreted by the brain’s pituitary gland. The pituitary gland is a pea sized gland which secretes essential hormones such as Luteinizing Hormone or LH that plays a vital role in both male as well as female reproduction. In males, Luteinizing Hormone helps in testosterone production which is essential for sperm production. In females, Luteinizing Hormone or LH finds its use in helping a woman’s body to maintain the menstrual cycle while also ensuring the release of eggs from the ovary.
Luteinizing hormone deficiency occurs due to several factors and is capable of affecting the reproductive function in both males and females. One of the major setbacks that Luteinizing Hormone has is that its early onset delays puberty in young girls and boys while in adults it can cause temporary or permanent infertility.
Causes of Luteinizing Hormone Deficiency
There is a strong connection between the hypothalamus, which is located in the brain, the pituitary gland and the individual’s gonads, which are the reproductive organs, testes in men and ovaries in women. The pituitary gland along with the hypothalamus and gonads of the individual, together control the production of luteinizing hormone.
Luteinizing Hormone or LH stimulates the testes for androgen production which is needed for sperm production in males while it stimulates the ovaries for progesterone and estrogen production, which are vital for fertilization. Thus, if there is any problem in the hypothalamus or the pituitary gland, the production of Luteinizing Hormone or LH is affected, which ultimately affects the normal development and function of the gonads.
When there is luteinizing hormone deficiency, it gives rise to a condition known as hypo-gonadism. If a person is suffering from luteinizing hormone deficiency, then either there is a problem in the pituitary gland or the hypothalamus.
Here are some of the causes of luteinizing hormone deficiency:
- Problems Related to Hypothalamus-
- Kallmann Syndrome – One of the causes of luteinizing hormone deficiency is Kallmann Syndrome, which is an inherited disease and runs in families. In this, the body is unable to produce gonadotropin releasing hormone which excites the pituitary to produce Luteinizing Hormone. With no luteinizing hormone production, the gonads too are unable to produce sufficient progesterone, androgen and estrogen.
- Stress – When a person takes on too much physical or mental stress, it inhibits the production of Luteinizing Hormone or LH thereby causing a deficiency of the same. Also, losing too much weight all of a sudden along with too much exercise can also decrease the production of the luteinizing hormone. This is why women who are into excessive sports activities often experience delayed periods. This is one of the commonest causes of luteinizing hormone deficiency.
- Problems Related to Pituitary Gland – Other common causes of luteinizing hormone deficiency are related to problems with the pituitary gland. A tumor in the pituitary gland can affect the production of Luteinizing Hormone or LH and cause a deficiency of luteinizing hormone. In some cases, the blood vessels supplying the gland get inflamed or damaged thereby reducing the Luteinizing Hormone production by a large extent. Other associated factors would include consumption of anti-psychotic or anti-emetic medications, under-active thyroid gland and kidney dysfunction, which can cause luteinizing hormone deficiency in the body.
Symptoms of Luteinizing Hormone Deficiency
It is during puberty that major symptoms of luteinizing hormone deficiency are noticeable. The boy or girl suffering from Luteinizing Hormone will experience a delay in secondary sexual characteristics development.
Some of the most common symptoms of luteinizing hormone deficiency include
- Loss of smell
- Delayed puberty
- A man’s breasts starts getting enlarged while a woman has underdeveloped breasts.
- A woman starts experiencing irregularity in menstrual cycle.
- Both men and women find that hair is absent from their underarm and pubic area.
- Men become impotent while women lack desire.
- The penis size is quite small.
Treatment of Luteinizing Hormone Deficiency
Treatment of luteinizing hormone deficiency largely depends on the underlying cause. It is necessary to diagnose Luteinizing Hormone deficiency and find the cause of it. Treatment of Luteinizing Hormone deficiency primarily aims to treat the cause and improve the functioning of the pituitary gland.
Here are some of the treatments for luteinizing hormone deficiency in both males and females.
- For delayed puberty in girls, the doctor normally administers synthetic estrogen as it helps to develop secondary sexual characteristics which would be otherwise absent in the girl. These characteristics would include breast enlargement, increase in buttock fat and most importantly pubic hair.
- Men who suffer from a deficiency of luteinizing hormone are given synthetic testosterone by their doctors as part of a treatment method. Additional treatment for luteinizing hormone deficiency may depend on associated problems.
- Lean and weak women with luteinizing hormone deficiency should try to eat healthy and gain some weight to overcome the deficiency.
- If the cause of the deficiency is a tumor in the pituitary gland, then the only treatment for luteinizing hormone deficiency is to surgically remove the tumor. This treatment option can help to improve pituitary function and promote Luteinizing Hormone production.
- If you are a woman suffering from luteinizing hormone deficiency and gonadal problems, then it becomes vital for you to lead a healthy lifestyle as it will help increase production of estrogen in the body. Eat foods such as whole grains, cauliflower, broccoli, flax seeds, nuts and soy as all these items are known to increase estrogen levels in the body naturally.
Luteinizing hormone is an essential hormone in the human body and if you experience the symptoms of luteinizing hormone deficiency, it is important to seek medical advice. Finding the cause of luteinizing hormone deficiency is important to plan the most appropriate treatment. Timely diagnosis and following medical advice can help to eliminate luteinizing hormone deficiency and increase normal production of the hormone.
- Mayo Clinic – Hypogonadism (Low Testosterone): https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/male-hypogonadism/symptoms-causes/syc-20354881
- Cleveland Clinic – Hypogonadism: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/15638-hypogonadism-low-testosterone
- Endocrine Society – Testosterone Therapy in Adult Men with Androgen Deficiency Syndromes: https://www.endocrine.org/clinical-practice-guidelines/testosterone-therapy-in-adult-men-with-androgen-deficiency-syndromes
- PubMed Health – Hypogonadism: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279053/