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Male and female hormonal profiles

When a couple consults a fertility specialist, it is common for the specialist to recommend, both to men and women, a very simple study to know their fertility potential. This study is known as a hormonal profile analysis and is done through a blood sample whereby the main hormones that regulate fertility in both members of the couple are analyzed.

In women, we study hormones that are directly related to the functioning of the ovaries, and in men, hormones related to the production of sperm are analyzed.

According to their age and other variables such as obesity and diseases in the endocrine system, many women may have hormonal imbalances that may have an impact on their fertility and overall health. To detect these abnormalities, your doctor may order a profile to evaluate the functioning of hormones and thus recommend the appropriate treatment to improve or regulate your production.

The hormones that are usually studied in a hormonal profile are:

  • Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH): A hormone in the gonadotrophin group that acts on the ovary, favoring the development and maturation of ovarian follicles.
  • Luteinizing hormone (LH): Another gonadotropin in charge of the final step of follicular maturation, ovulation and progesterone production in the luteum body.
  • Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH): A hormone released in the pituitary that regulates the production of thyroid hormone in the thyroid gland.
  • Prolactin: This hormone is especially important during pregnancy. It stimulates milk production in the mammary glands and the synthesis of progesterone in the luteum body. Elevated levels in a non-lactating woman give the diagnosis of hyperprolactinemia, which is a cause of infertility and requires treatment to achieve pregnancy.
  • Estradiol (E2): A hormone produced by the ovaries in the ovulatory follicle in response to Gonadotrophins (FSH) which, among other functions, allows the body to complete secondary sexual development and female sexual characteristics, stimulates maturation of the ovum inside the follicle and activates the release of LH, thus inducing ovulation. In addition, together with progesterone, it intervenes in the preparation of the endometrium for embryonic implantation.
  • Progesterone (P4): A hormone, released mainly by the luteum body and the placenta (in case of pregnancy). It acts during the second phase of the menstrual cycle, preparing the endometrium for embryonic implantation. It is also in charge of maintaining pregnancy. If the pregnancy does not occur and its level decreases, it causes the expulsion of the endometrium also known as menstruation.
  • Antimullerian hormone (AMH): This hormone is secreted by the immature follicles of the ovary.  It is used as an indicative of the ovarian reserve. It does not depend on mature eggs or gonadotrophins, i.e., it is not dependent on the menstrual cycle so it can be taken at any time.
  • Free Triiodothyronine (T3): A hormone produced in the thyroid gland in response to the stimulation performed by TSH. It helps to evaluate thyroid function.
  • Free thyroxine (T4): Another hormone produced in the thyroid gland in response to TSH. Low values of free T4 and T3 may indicate decreased thyroid hormone production, which is essential for metabolism, including ovulation and pregnancy.
  • Total testosterone (T): The male hormone par excellence. However, women produce low levels of testosterone that should later become estrogen. In diseases such as congenital adrenal hyperplasia or polycystic ovaries, it may be elevated.
  • Inhibin B: A hormone produced by the ovary that allows the selection of a single follicle for ovulation. Its levels have been associated with the study of the ovarian reserve; however, its results have not been those expected as far as the prediction of ovarian reserve and its use has decreased in recent years.
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