Hormones come in two varieties: steroids and peptides. Both travel in the bloodstream and attach to receptor cells. Upon attachment, the hormone passes along information to the receptor cell on different bodily processes. Hormones tell you when to eat, or when to sweat, and even when to sleep. Hormones also have importance in sexual development and reproduction. Follicle stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone occur in both men and women, and function in the reproductive system.
Follicle stimulating hormone
Follicle stimulating hormone regulates the production of eggs in the ovaries of females. Without follicle stimulating hormone, the ovaries would never know when to produce an egg for potential fertilisation. FSH is produced in the pituitary gland of the brain and sent through the bloodstream to the ovaries. FSH is produced in males, and helps regulate sperm production.
Luteinizing hormone works in concert with FSH. While FSH produces an egg and takes it to maturity, LH causes the release of the mature egg from the ovary. Without egg release, the mature egg would disintegrate and reproduction could not occur. LH production also occurs in the pituitary gland. The presence of LH in males triggers production of testosterone, which regulates production of sperm.
Abnormal FSH levels
Abnormal FSH levels may indicate a number of conditions, such as hypopituitarism, ovarian cancer, anorexia, or Klinefelter syndrome. A simple blood test can determine whether an individual has abnormal FSH levels. According to Dr. Robert Jansen, author of "Overcoming Infertility", high levels of FSH can result from the pituitary gland trying to overcome a lack of viable eggs in the ovaries. High levels of FSH occur very often in menopause, when egg production is reduced considerably. In men, high levels of FSH indicate primary testicular failure.
Abnormal LH levels
Blood tests can determine if a person's LH level is adequate. When ovary function decreases, especially in women at menopause, LH levels will rise along with FSH levels. High levels of LH in men indicate primary testicular failure.
Treatment for high FSH/LH levels does not typically target the high hormone level, since the high FSH/LH level indicates an underlying problem. Poor ovarian function often results in elevated levels of FSH/LH. Gonadotrophin injections cause superovulation which will return FSH/LH levels to normal.
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