It’s no secret that there lies an important relationship between LH surge and ovulation.
We also know that ONE question that whizzes through the heads of many women around this subject: How long after LH surge do you ovulate?
First off, let’s understand how LH surge is vital in the process of ovulation. Driven by hormonal changes in the body, an LH surge is what triggers ovulation, causing the ovary to release an egg for fertilization.
So now you know that a rise in LH levels is where the possibility of a pregnancy begins!
This article is your one-stop destination for all you need to know about the luteinizing hormone, what its significance is to your cycle, and how you can track this hormonal surge
Luteinizing hormone (LH) is a fertility hormone that kick-starts your ovulation. Produced in the anterior pituitary gland, LH works in tandem with the ovaries and its peak coincides with your fertile window.
A fertile window lasts 6 days – 4 days before ovulation, the day of ovulation, and a day after ovulation.
When understanding how LH works, you must know that its levels remain steady during your cycle and for the most part of every month.
They however jump up right before you ovulate. The period when there is a sudden surge in LH is the follicular phase of your menstrual cycle.
The follicular phase lasts between the first day of menstruation and the day of ovulation.
During this phase, the ovarian follicles, which contain the egg, grow bigger, and the egg matures for release.
Thanks to the high level of LH, one of these follicles releases the mature egg during your cycle. This is what causes ovulation. That released egg advances down your fallopian tube for fertilization.
If there is a sperm nearby to fertilize it within 24 hours, it will move into your womb, where it attaches and develops into a fetus. If this doesn’t happen, “lady red” (aka your period) comes visiting once again.
Typically, an LH surge lasts for two days, between 24 and 36 hours. It is best to note the span of your LH surge before ovulation.
That will help you in knowing when you are most fertile, and accordingly, time when you should have sex in case you are aiming for pregnancy.
LH isn’t the only hormone that predicts when your ovulation will happen. Follicles in the ovary secrete estrogen, which then leads to a release of LH from the pituitary gland. This then triggers ovulation.
Most women experience their ovulation within 24 to 36 hours after an LH surge. It is unlikely that you will get an LH surge and ovulation same day, since the hormone peak precedes the release of the egg from the ovary.
Does LH drop after ovulation?
Yes, it does. Once your ovulation is over, the LH falls back to its baseline level from before your ovulation period.
So you must now be wondering, what should my LH levels be when ovulating?
Not only is tracking your level of luteinizing hormone essential but choosing the proper methods is too.
Below, we will briefly explain three common ways that you can use to track your LH surges.
Generally, people who are trying to conceive need 10-15 tests monthly. Now, imagine the stress and inconvenience it puts you through!
If you reduce the frequency of tests then you stand a high chance of incorrectly tracking your ovulation day as it may fluctuate monthly.
But don’t stress!
It is widely accepted that a blood test to track LH surge is not a method for everyone. So there is no pressure to take this route. However, it is highly recommended for people who find it challenging to ovulate or get pregnant.
Asides from LH tests, you might want to try out other tests to confirm that you ovulated, like:
You may think your LH levels remain high even when you’re pregnant, considering all you may have read or heard.
But no, it doesn’t. The LH level in your body drops immediately after your ovulation and remains low during pregnancy (less than 1.5 IU/L).
Even though LH levels fluctuate throughout a woman’s menstrual cycle, the typical range during your period is 5 – 25 IU/L.
For women, a surge in LH levels almost always indicates the onset of ovulation. However, elevated levels of LH have also been noted in women experiencing polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a common hormonal disorder that involves an increased production of androgens in the body.
High LH levels are also present in women going through menopause. However, if you are in your reproductive years and track to see that your LH levels are constantly on the higher end, then you should consider making a visit to the doctor.
LH levels away from the baseline all the time may indicate an underlying health condition or disorder like gonadal dysgenesis.
This can happen with a condition called Luteinized Unruptured Follicle Syndrome (LUFS), where the LH rises without the ovary releasing an egg.
A case of LUFS, apart from ovulation failure, can also sometimes point towards infertility. It is best to consult your doctors if you notice any erratic changes while tracking LH.