Relationship of obesity-related disturbances with LH/FSH ratio among post-menopausal women in the United States

Maturitas. 2012 Jan;71(1):55-61. doi: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2011.10.010. Epub 2011 Nov 15.


Objectives: Although luteinizing hormone to follicular stimulating hormone (LH/FSH) ratio is a controversial criterion for identifying a sub-group of infertile women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and abnormalities at the level of the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis, an elevated LH/FSH ratio is frequently observed in PCOS cases. Obesity and insulin resistance are highly prevalent among PCOS women. To date, no studies have examined the associations of LH/FSH ratio with these co-morbid conditions outside the context of pre- and peri-menopausal PCOS women. The objective of this study is to evaluate whether the LH/FSH ratio is associated with obesity, insulin resistance, metabolic disturbances and chronic inflammation among post-menopausal U.S. women, 35-60 years of age.

Study design: Cross-sectional study of 693 women who participated in the 1999-2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

Main outcome measures: Body mass index, waist circumference, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, systolic and diastolic blood pressures, fasting glucose, metabolic syndrome, Homeostasis Model Assessment for Insulin Resistance and C-reactive protein (CRP).

Results: Age- and hysterectomy-adjusted regression models suggest that CRP level is positively associated with LH/FSH ratio and LH/FSH>1, high glucose level and LH/FSH>2 are inversely related and HDL<50mg/dL is positively associated with both LH/FSH>1 and LH/FSH>2.

Conclusions: In a nationally representative sample of post-menopausal women, markers of chronic inflammation and dyslipidemia which are characteristics of PCOS-associated morbidities were also significantly associated with LH/FSH ratio, meriting further investigation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dyslipidemias / blood*
  • Female
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / blood*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / blood*
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Luteinizing Hormone / blood*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Obesity / blood*
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / blood
  • Postmenopause / blood*


  • Biomarkers
  • Blood Glucose
  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Luteinizing Hormone
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone
  • C-Reactive Protein