Hormone Levels and PCOS
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), ObGyn Nurses, Pregnancy and Birth, Infertility
Other hormones that may be checked include:
In addition, , cholesterol (HDL, LDL and triglicerides) levels might also be assessed.
Lutenizing Hormone (LH) and Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH)
LH and FSH are the hormones that encourage ovulation. Both LH and FSH are secreted by the pituitary gland in the brain. At the beginning of the cycle, LH and FSH levels usually range between about 5-20 mlU/ml. Most women have about equal amounts of LH and FSH during the early part of their cycle. However, there is a LH surge in which the amount of LH increases to about 25-40 mlU/ml 24 hours before ovulation occurs. Once the egg is released by the ovary, the LH levels goes back down.
While many women with PCOS still have LH and FSH still within the 5-20 mlU/ml range, their LH level is often two or three times that of the FSH level. For example, it is typical for women with PCOS to have an LH level of about 18 mlU/ml and a FSH level of about 6 mlU/ml (notice that both levels fall within the normal range of 5-20 mlU/ml). This situation is called an elevated LH to FSH ratio or a ratio of 3:1. This change in the LH to FSH ratio is enough to disrupt ovulation. While this used to be considered an important aspect in diagnosing PCOS, it is now considered less useful in diagnosing PCOS, but is still helpful when looking at the overall picture.