Human chorionic gonadotropin or hCG is a hormone produced by the placenta of pregnant women. hCG prevents the degeneration of the corpus luteum, thus promoting the best conditions for the first weeks of pregnancy. The hCG levels can be measured from the blood as soon as 5–7 days after conception.
When should hCG be measured?
The hCG test can be used to determine pregnancy. The test can also be used when suspecting problems in the first stages of pregnancy. The hCG test may be necessary for women in the event of:
- delayed period
- bloody discharge during the first stages of pregnancy
- months of bleeding after having a miscarriage or giving birth.
The hCG test may be necessary for men in the event of:
- a lump in the testicles
- enlargement, pain, or changes in one of the testicles.
Changes may indicate testicular cancer. Symptoms of testicular cancer may also include back and stomach pain, coughing up blood, and shortness of breath.
The test can also be carried out when suspecting some malignant tumours that produce hCG.
What does the hCG test measure?
The test measures the amount of hCG in the blood.
How to interpret the hCG test result?
Normally, the result is:
- Women of fertile age: < 5 IU/l
- Pregnant women and women after pregnancy: > 25 IU/l
- Women postmenopausal: < 14 IU/l
Elevated hCG levels in men and women who are not pregnant may indicate a tumour.
Please contact your physician or other healthcare professional if you suspect an illness or need help interpreting the results.
The reference values of this examination have changed 11.10.2021. You will find your own result's reference values from My LOUNA in touch with the graph. Read more about defining reference values.
What can cause elevated levels in the hCG?
The hCG levels can be elevated for the following reasons:
- Multiple pregnancy
- Congenital developmental disorder or foetal disorder
- Tumours: Testicular cancer, pancreatic cancer, breast cancer, melanoma
What can cause decreased levels in the hCG?
Low hCG levels or levels decreasing after the first stages of pregnancy can be caused by the following:
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Miscarriage or stillbirth
- Foetal chromosomal abnormality
- Risk of miscarriage
- Delayed foetal development
SYNLAB test list: Human chorionic gonadotropin (2122 S-hCG) https://www.yml.fi/tuotekuvaus_show.php?tuotenro=231
Lab Tests Online: Pregnancy test (hCG) https://labtestsonline.org/tests/pregnancy-test-hcg
Terveyskirjasto health library: Kuukautiskierto ja munasolun kehitys https://www.terveyskirjasto.fi/odk00003/kuukautiskierto-ja-munasolun-kehitys?q=hcg
Fasting is not required
This examination does not require fasting