PRL - prolactin
Prolactin is a hormone secreted by the pituitary gland. It controls the proper functioning of the corpus luteum, early stages of pregnancy and the lactation process. When female’s organism secretes an excessive amount of this hormone, she suffers from hyperprolactinemia which may lead to alerted menstruation cycles and stopping of ovulation.
PRL blood test may be performed on every day of the menstrual cycle. Its result between 5 and 25 µg/ml is within the norm.
LH – luteinizing hormone
LH, luteinizing hormone or lutropin is synthetized by the hypothalamus. It stimulates ovulation and androgen production in the ovaries. In the middle of a normal menstrual cycle, its concentration level increases and causes the rupture of the follicle containing egg cell. The hormone also stimulates the corpus luteum to produce progesterone.
LH blood test is usually done along with FSH blood test. LH range changes between the menstrual cycle stages and should be within:
follicular phase: 1,1-11,6 mlU/ml
ovulation: 17-77 mlU/ml
luteal phase: 0-14,7 mlU/ml
FSH – follicle stimulating hormone
FSH is synthetized by the pituitary gland. Assessing its level may be beneficial in the process of determining the ovarian reserve. An excess of the FSH may be a sign of ovarian failure.
FSH level should be checked between the 3rd and 5th day of the menstrual cycle. 3-12 mIU/ml is a correct value on the 3rd day of the cycle.
FHS/LH ratio is also an important factor. In normal menstrual cycles, LH:FSH ratio is close to 1.
E2 – estradiol
Natural estrogen – estradiol – is synthetized in the ovaries by maturating Graaf follicles. Determining its level helps diagnose ovarian failure.
Oftentimes, E2 level is checked with FSH level between the 3rd and the 5th day of the menstrual cycle. Estradiol level may also be tested before the ovulation, in order to assess the follicle maturation- the result over 200 pg/ml means that the follicle has matured.
Estradiol range changes between the menstrual cycle stages and should be within:
follicular phase: 84–970 pg/ml (0,3–3,5 nmol/l)
ovulation: 13–330 pg/ml (0,48–1,17 nmol/l)
luteal phase: 73–200 pg/ml (0,26–0,73 nmol/l)
The ovaries and the adrenal glands synthetize around 50% of the total testosterone in female bodies, while the remaining is created as the effect of other hormones’ metabolism. A young woman has testosterone levels 10 times lower than a man her age. However, the testosterone level increases with age. Excessive testosterone level may cause ovulation disorders including stopping of the ovulation, which may diminish chances of natural pregnancy.
Free testosterone range is between 10,4-45,1 pmol/l, while total tostesterone level should be between 1 to 2,5 nmol/l in young women.
Progesterone is a hormone secreted by the ovaries, corpus luteum and the placenta (only during pregnancy). It helps prepare the endometrial lining for the fertilized egg cell. In women trying to conceive, the progesterone level tests may help assess the course of the second menstrual phase (and indirectly- the quality of ovulation).
Progesterone range changes between the menstrual cycle stages and should be within:
Follicular phase: 0,28-0,72 ng/ml
ovulation: 0,64-1,63 ng/ml
luteal phase: 4,71-18,0 ng/ml
Thyroid hormones - TSH i FT4
Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) – synthetized by the pituitary gland- and thyroxine (FT4) – the main hormone produced by the thyroid gland – help assess the functions of the thyroid. Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism may cause irregular menstrual periods and fertility disorders.
Thyroid hormones blood levels may be tested every day during the menstrual cycle. TSH range should be between 0,4-4,0 mlU/l, however, women trying for a baby should ideally have its level below 2,5 mlU/l. FT4 range should be between 10 pmol/L (8ng/l) and 25 pmol/L (20ng/l).
Everyone should remember that the hormonal tests levels should be consulted with the doctor individually. Many factors could contribute to their proper interpretation, including the laboratory method of the test itself, the age of the patient, time of the menstrual cycle when the blood sample was taken, as well as the relations between particular hormones.