Relationships between the luteinizing hormone surge and other characteristics of the menstrual cycle in normally ovulating women

Fertil Steril. 2013 Jan;99(1):279-285.e3. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2012.08.047. Epub 2012 Sep 19.


Objective: To describe the LH surge variants in ovulating women and analyze their relationship with the day of ovulation and other hormone levels.

Design: Secondary analysis of a prospective cohort observational study.

Setting: Eight natural family planning clinics.

Subjects: Normally fertile women (n = 107) over 283 cycles.

Intervention(s): Women collected daily first morning urine, charted basal body temperature and cervical mucus discharge, and underwent serial ovarian ultrasound.

Main outcome measure(s): Urinary LH, FSH, estrone-3-glucuronide (E3G), pregnanediol-3α-glucuronide (PDG), and day of ovulation by ultrasound (US-DO).

Result(s): Individual LH surges were extremely variable in configuration, amplitude, and duration. The study also showed that LH surges marked by several peaks were associated with statistically significant smaller follicle sizes before rupture and lower LH level on the day of ovulation. LH surges lasting >3 days after ovulation were associated with a lower E3G before ovulation, a smaller corpus luteum 2 days after ovulation, and a lower PDG value during the first 4 days after ovulation.

Conclusion(s): In clinical practice, LH profiles should be compared with the range of profiles observed in normally fertile cycles, not with the mean profile.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Body Temperature / physiology
  • Cervix Mucus / physiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Estrone / analogs & derivatives
  • Estrone / urine
  • Female
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / urine
  • Humans
  • Luteinizing Hormone / urine*
  • Menstrual Cycle / physiology*
  • Menstrual Cycle / urine*
  • Middle Aged
  • Ovary / diagnostic imaging
  • Ovulation / physiology*
  • Ovulation / urine*
  • Pregnanediol / analogs & derivatives
  • Pregnanediol / urine
  • Prospective Studies
  • Ultrasonography
  • Young Adult


  • pregnanediol-3 alpha-glucuronide
  • estrone-3-glucuronide
  • Estrone
  • Luteinizing Hormone
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone
  • Pregnanediol