What is the LH Surge and Why Don't I Have One?



LH Surge and Ovulation

One of the things about trying to conceive is that there are several different ways you can detect your fertility. Ultimately, all of these techniques, from cervical mucus charting to tracking your Basal Body Temperature, are designed to help you know when exactly it is that you ovulate.

One way to help detect whether you're ovulating is to watch for the LH Surge.

What is LH or Luteinizing Hormone?

The luteinizing hormone is excreted by your pituitary gland and is responsible for the release of your egg at ovulation. LH is always in your system but usually at low levels.

What is an LH Surge

There is a surge of luteinizing hormone (LH) when your body's estrogen level reaches a certain level. The estrogen level tells your pituitary gland to release a surge of LH. When the LH surges, your most mature egg fully ripens and then erupts from your ovary. This eruption is ovulation.

How to Detect Your LH Surge

If you are trying to get pregnant, knowing when your LH surge happens lets you know that having sex now would be a good idea. As you can only get pregnant for a very short period around ovulation, knowing this information is vital.

You can use an ovulation predictor kit (OPK), to determine when there is an increase in luteinizing hormone. That surge usually takes place about a day before ovulation, though for some women it can occur as many as three days before ovulation.

What if I Don't Detect an LH Surge?

Now, the problem comes when you can't detect your LH surge. In some cases, it means that you're not ovulating. In other cases, however, it means that your LH surge may be mild enough that the OPK can't detect it.

One of the most common reasons women fail to detect an LH surge is because they aren't using the OPK at the right time. It's hard to know when to test, for example, if you tend to have an irregular cycle. The instructions in the OPK are designed for a woman with a 28-day cycle, in many cases.

There is also the possibility that the OPK or the individual test strip that you used was defective. Defective ovulation tests are a relatively rare occurrence, however. You might not have used the strip correctly, either. But these are errors that are few and far between.

The most likely scenario, if you're not detecting an LH surge, is that you're not ovulating and that it may be time to try some more intense fertility treatments, or even talk to your doctor.


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