How Hormone Testing For Women Can Help
While there are some symptoms, such as hot flashes, that you can almost always associate with a hormonal imbalance, others make it more challenging to connect the dots.
Thats where a laboratory blood test, specifically a female hormone panel, comes in.
In years past, the process of obtaining one and completing one was complicated and costly at best, requiring an in-person visit to your doctor.
Now, you can hop online and order the lab test you need, right from the comfort of your own home. Our platform makes the process a cinch.
You can search by the test category you prefer and see all of the available options, including the:
- Test Count
- Biomarker Count
Using this data, you can identify and order the tests that meet your needs and budget. Then, youll visit a nearby patient service center to complete the test and analyze your results online days later.
Healthconfirm Hormone Vitality Complete+
HealthConfirm Hormone Vitality Complete+ measures your DHEA-S, cortisol, progesterone, testosterone, and estradiol levels. Checking these hormones can give you valuable information about your fertility status, whether youre getting close to menopause, or whether you might have a medical condition that needs treatment.
HealthConfirm uses saliva samples to check your hormone levels, so your kit will come with collection tubes and other supplies to ensure its easy to collect the right amount of saliva. The company also offers free shipping both ways, so theres no need to pay extra to send your samples to the laboratory.
When youre ready to check out on the HealthConfirm website, you can use a credit or debit card to pay for your order. To ensure test accuracy, HealthConfirm uses only CLIA-certified labs to process its hormone tests. The test kits have also been cleared by the FDA to ensure a high level of quality. You can access your results via a private online dashboard within a few days of mailing your sample. HealthConfirm includes physician support in the price of its hormone testing kits, ensuring that you have an opportunity to learn more about what the results mean for your health. HealthConfirm doesnt accept insurance.
What Are The Different Types Of Hormones
Endocrine glands are located throughout the body. These glands include the:
- Hypothalamus: controls thirst, hunger, sleep, sex drive, moods, body temperature, and the release of other hormones
- Parathyroid: controls calcium
- Ovaries, in women: controls female sex hormones
- Testes, in men: controls male sex hormones
There are several different types of hormones in the body. When you have a hormonal imbalance, you may have a problem in one of more of these glands. The specific hormone that’s imbalanced will determine the signs and symptoms that you experience as a result. Some of the major hormones found in the body include:
- Estrogen: controls sex drive in both men and women, and regulates the menstrual cycle in women
- Progesterone: influences the body’s changes through pregnancy
- Testosterone: controls sex drive in both men and women
- Cortisol: controls stress
- Melatonin: control’s the body’s circadian rhythm and sleep cycles
- Serotonin: controls sleep cycles, appetite, and mood
- Growth hormone: controls the reproduction of cells and their subsequent growth
- Leptin: controls appetite, signaling when you’re full
- Ghrelin: controls appetite, signaling when you’re hungry
- Insulin: responds to sugar in the bloodstream
If your hormones are well-balanced, you will thrive. An imbalance, however, is something you cannot afford to ignore.
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What Are The Treatment Options
Hormone replacement therapy is one of the most common treatments of low hormone levels.
For people experiencing menopause, premature menopause, or primary ovarian insufficiency as well as after oophorectomy or chemotherapy estrogen therapy can offer some relief. Estrogen therapy alone is recommended for those who have had a hysterectomy. You can take estrogen in different forms, generally estrogen pills and estrogen patches.
Natural Ways To Support Healthy Hormones
While you should always speak to your doctor if you have hormonal imbalance, he might not have to give you any kind of medication to restore the balance. This is particularly true if the imbalance is caused by something like diet or stress. In general, people who have the following criteria are at higher risks of developing hormonal imbalances:
- Being overweight or obese
- Consuming an excessive amount of alcohol
- Being exposed to pesticides and toxins
- Experiencing high stress levels
- Not sleeping enough
Many of these risk factors are easily controlled when you’re mindful of your diet, exercise routine, and daily habits. If you quit smoking, moderate your drinking, or avoid exposure to pesticides, you can help reduce your risk factor for hormonal imbalances and naturally keep them moderated.
Changing the way you eat can go a long way towards improving your hormonal balance. For example, when you exchange carbohydrates for healthy fats, like coconut oil and avocado, you can lower your bodys inflammation and help maintain your hormone at the right levels. Consuming enough proteins will help control the ghrelin hormone that makes you feel hungry. This gives you the feeling of fullness and then, you will stop eating at the appropriate time and maintain a healthy weight.
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The Pill And Your Thyroid
Its important to note that the pill’s role in elevating TBG, Sex Hormone Binding Globulin & Cortisol Binding Globulin is well recognized. In fact, it is how researchers can verify who is & isn’t actually taking the pill in clinical trials.
It’s also listed in prescriber handbooks as a change we expect to see in labs. When TBG goes up, total thyroid hormone levels go up and free thyroid levels can go down.
Now, if you thought that total thyroid hormone was what the body utilized & that is all you measured then you might think, thyroid function is improved on birth control. However, FREE thyroid hormone is what you use, and not bound thyroid hormone .
This is why I test thyroid hormones in my patients before they start the pill and we continue to monitor symptoms & labs to ensure it is working best for them. Yes, some of my patients decide to use the pill for birth control or other reasons and I support them in doing that.
From the research, it appears progesterone, progestin, & topical estrogen do NOT elevate TBG. It is oral estrogen that influences the increase in binding proteins.
If you want a deep dive into the Birth Control-Thyroid Connection, then you can read all about it in this article.
What The Research Says
Progestins can increase appetite, while high levels of estrogen tend to increase fluid or water retention. Changes in hormonal birth control and advances in combination forms of the pill have addressed this issue.
Most, if not all, pills lack estrogen levels that are high enough to cause weight gain. The first birth control pill, developed in the 1950s, contained 150 micrograms of the estrogen mestranol.
Todays pills only contain 20 to 50 mcg of estrogen, according to a 2012 review .
Study after study has examined the relationship between weight gain and todays most popular forms of hormonal contraception, including the pill and the patch. The vast majority of these studies showed limited evidence that birth control pills are associated with weight gain.
Any weight gain that may occur in the first weeks or months after beginning birth control is typically due to water retention. It isnt actual fat gain.
One literature review found that study participants gained, on average, fewer than 4.4 pounds after 6 or 12 months of using a progestin-only pill.
If you gain substantially more than that after starting hormonal birth control, your weight gain is likely caused by something else.
If youre noticing weight gain and cant pinpoint a reason, it could be due to one of the following common causes.
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Can Blood Tests Help To Manage Menopause And Hrt
There is increasing interest in whether blood testing can predict the onset of menopause, and whether it is useful in the management of hormone replacement therapy . We ask the experts if blood tests to assess hormones are worth considering.
Reviewed byDr Sarah Jarvis MBE
29-Sep-20·7 mins read
In the UK, the average age a woman will reach menopause is 51, though anywhere between 45 and 55 is still considered to be within the normal range. For some women, menopausal night sweats, painful joints, depression, and vaginal and bladder issues can be hugely debilitating. Hormone replacement therapy is one option to help manage these symptoms and alternatives to HRT are also available.
Getting Tested At Your Healthcare Providers Office
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Lab Test To Consider For A Missing Period
- Pregnancy test
- Follicle-stimulating hormone
- Luteinizing hormone
- Fasting insulin
- Glycated hemoglobin , fasting glucose or glucose challenge
Will you need all of these? Maybe. Maybe not. This is where an experienced clinician can help.
I know that many women experience resistance to their request to have comprehensive hormone testing. I would urge you to seek out a functional medicine practitioner, a naturopathic physician, a reproductive endocrinologist, or a gynecologist. I know it can be super frustrating to try to find a provider that will help you but there are many amazing practitioners out there who can and will help you get the labs you need.
Also dont let a doctor convince you that a missing period doesnt matter because youre not interested in baby-making at the moment. Amenorrhea is a sign of an underlying issue that needs to be addressed, whether youre trying to conceive or not. The quality of care you receive should not be dependent on your whether or not you want to have a baby at this moment.
If your period is missing, Id encourage you to check out my full article on amenorrhea here.
Is Your Period Healthy
How do you know if your hormones are healthy? The answer is in your 5th vital sign – your period.
The color of your flow, frequency of your period, and symptoms you have each month can tell you a lot about your health. There are 5 different V-SIGN TYPES, and knowing which one you have will help you get healthy now and prevent disease in the future.
How Serious Are Side Effects Of Hormone Replacement Therapy
Most side effects of HRT are not severe. However, HRT can rarely cause more severe side effects, including double vision, depression, extreme weakness and fatigue, fever, and severe abdominal pain. If you experience these or any other concerning or persistent symptoms, call your healthcare provider immediately.
At What Age Should You Test Your Hormones
I recommend a hormone test to measure your baseline labs around age 35-40. If you need help balancing your hormones but you never did a baseline hormone panel in your 40s, a knowledgeable doctor can make an educated guess. Some women find that their doctor is unwilling to order a full hormone panel for them. If this is the case for you, negotiate for a partial list. Alternatively, you can seek a functional medicine doctor here. Id suggest reading my book THE HORMONE CURE and consider running your first test on your own, such as from one of the direct-to-consumer testing organizations mentioned in my book.
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The Relationship Between Estradiol And Urinary E2
Estrone-3-glucuronide is the main metabolite of estradiol in urine and detecting its presence highly correlates with E2 blood levels. Urine hormone tests are measuring E3G or urinary E2 to positively correlate with E2 levels that might be found in the blood. Detecting a rise in E2 through an at home hormone test is done to predict and detect ovulation.
Hormone Testing For Womens Fertility
Are you TTC, planning ahead, or just curious about your reproductive health? Let’s break down what hormones play a role in fertility and how you can test your own hormone levels at home.
By OBGYN and fertility expert Dr. Kenosha Gleaton
Hormone levels can tell you a lot about your fertility, including how many eggs you likely have, if youre nearing or past menopause, and potential pregnancy outcomes. Hormone imbalances may even explain symptoms such as hair loss, fatigue, irregular periods, weight gain, and more. If youre trying to conceive , understanding your hormone levels can help guide you, your partner, and your provider to making personalized decisions during your fertility journey.
How Reliable Is A Salivary Hormone Testing Kit
Saliva hormone testing can give you accurate information about your hormone levels. A large amount of research done in the past decades has shown that hormone levels in saliva correlate with hormone levels in blood . So saliva tests offer a convenient, noninvasive way to evaluate a wide range of hormones, and saliva testing techniques can be just as accurate as blood testing methods.
How To Lower Estrogen Levels In Females
Doctors may prescribe medications that lower estrogen levels, or if hormone replacement therapy is the cause, the treatment plan may be changed. Surgery may also be performed if required to remove the ovaries.
A few simple lifestyle approaches to decrease estrogen levels are
The body requires magnesium and B vitamins to metabolize estrogen. Consider incorporating these minerals into your daily diet. Foods that contain these are dark leafy greens and vegetables.
Plenty of sleep is required as it affects every aspect of health. Melatonin, a hormone produced by the pineal gland at night, has a key role in overall hormone balance. Adequate melatonin helps in balancing female sex hormones in the body.
3. Eat More Fiber
Estrogen excretion takes place both in the urine and feces. If you take a long time to pass stools, estrogen gets reabsorbed by the body in the process. Eating fiber-rich foods will avoid reabsorption by easing and speeding up bowel movements.
4. Lose Excess Body Fat
A healthy weight is important to maintain hormonal balance. Weight reduction through a balanced diet and exercise decreases the excess fat cells in the body, which produce more estrogen than required for the healthy functioning of the body.
5. Reduce Stress
Stress is found to increase the levels of estrogen. Consider managing stress by having mindfulness, good sleep, and fitness.
6. Avoid Caffeine
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How Is A Saliva Hormone Test Performed
Saliva tests for hormone levels are non-invasive and stress-free. A patient simply spits into a sterile test tube which is sent to a lab for analysis. Saliva sampling must be done correctly, but today’s collection devices make it easy, and patients can collect samples during the day or night as needed to establish an accurate baseline and measure changes in hormones throughout the day or throughout the month.
How Do I Know My Estrogen Levels Are Low Or High
As estrogen levels do fluctuate regularly throughout the cycle, its difficult to pinpoint a typical or normal level of estrogen because they tend to change almost every day . In saying that, when estrogen levels fluctuate or become low, you may experience a number of signs and symptoms. This can occur for a number of reasons – from an underlying condition or things such as age, or the use of certain medications.
Some common indicators of hormonal imbalance include:
- Irregular periods, heavier or lighter periods, or total cessation of periods
- Weight gain or difficulty losing weight
- Feeling tired all of the time
- Mood changes
- Acne on the face, back or chest
- Hair growth on the face, chin and breasts
The most reliable way to check estrogen levels at home is with an at-home hormone test because its processed by a highly accredited network of laboratories. The process is simple:
Its recommended that you check your hormone levels if:
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What Does Estrogen Do
Estrogen is responsible for female sexual development, triggering the growth of breasts, pubic hair, and other sex characteristics during puberty. This hormone also plays an important role in maintaining your reproductive health by controlling the growth of the uterine lining at the beginning of your menstrual cycle and during pregnancy.
However, estrogen also plays an important role in your overall health. Estrogen regulates your bone and cholesterol metabolism, as well as your body weight, glucose metabolism, and insulin sensitivity.