Where Should I Get A Hormone Balance Test
Hormone balance tests can be performed in a variety of settings. Many people first get their hormones tested by their primary care doctor or gynecologist. Others prefer to go straight to a lab facility. While both of these methods can garner accurate results, we recommend getting your hormones tested by a hormone health specialist. These practitioners will have the training and experience necessary to determine which tests are right for you and are experts at both interpreting your results and providing treatment.
How Is Low Estrogen Treated
Women who have low levels of estrogen may benefit from hormonal treatment. Hormonal treatment is the standard for low estrogen. There are non-hormonal options to help relieve symptoms. Non-hormonal options are preferred for women at high risk for breast cancer, blood clots, stroke, or liver disease.
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.
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Hormones Are Complicated Things To Test They Change Every Single Hour Of Every Single Day We Have A 28 Day Cycle And We Need To Stop Think That Were Supposed To Be Experiencing The Same Thing Every Day So In Some Cases They Are Indicated To Test If We Need To Understand If Youre Ovulating Testing Can Be Important But Sometimes We Dont Necessarily Need To Test Your Hormones To Tell Us Whats Going On
Its important to test your hormones on specific days of your cycle because to get a really good understanding of levels and how theyre affecting your symptoms, you have to test and compare with where they should be based on the timing of your cycle. Otherwise when you simply test on the day you happen to be in the doctors office getting an exam, your levels may be just fine for that particular day.
So, heres when you should be testing your hormones and heres what you maybe dont need to test for. And, for claritys sake, you should consider day 1 to be the first full day of your bleed.
When Should You Get A Hormone Blood Test
If you have symptoms of a possible hormonal imbalance, you might need to get a hormone blood test. According to the Society for Endocrinology, it’s usually best to have your blood drawn for a hormone test in the first half of your menstrual cycle, because levels are more distinct at that time. However, if you’re having a progesterone test to see if you’re ovulating properly, it will likely be measured on day 21 of your cycle, which is in the middle of the second half.
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Why Would I Need This Test
Your doctor might suggest a blood test for oestrogen if:
- your menstrual cycle is abnormal, or you have heavy bleeding
- you can’t get pregnant
- you have symptoms of menopause, like hot flushes
- you have symptoms that might mean your hormones are unbalanced
If you are pregnant, you might have a blood test for oestrogen:
- as part of screening for Down syndrome in your unborn child
- to check that your placenta is working properly
Young girls occasionally have blood tests for oestrogen if they are developing sex organs when very young. Young boys occasionally have blood tests for oestrogen if they are developing breasts.
Who Gets An Estrogen Test
Doctors may recommend testing of estradiol or estrone for symptoms such as:
Girls whose sex organs develop earlier or later than normal may also get tested for E1 and E2 levels.
Doctors usually test E3 during pregnancy, when it temporarily becomes the main estrogen. Abnormal levels of estriol may be a sign of problems with the babyâs health — but youâd get a lot more tests to find out for sure.
You might need several tests to track changes in your estrogen levels over time.
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Treatment Of Womens Hormonal Imbalance
In most cases, female hormones balance can be improved or corrected with treatment. Often, changes in diet and lifestyle are sufficient to improve female hormonal imbalance and offer some protection against its potential health complications. Among the common changes recommended are:
- Weight control
- 30 minutes of exercise daily, including resistance and aerobic exercise.
- Dietary changes that include replacing processed, fatty and sugary foods with lean proteins, low-fat dairy and a wide range of fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Limit alcohol consumption
- Eliminate tobacco consumption
Female hormonal imbalance that cannot be resolved with lifestyle changes is most commonly treated with hormone replacement therapy. Conventional HRT uses hormone drugs to normalize levels of estrogens or progesterone in the system, while bioidentical hormone replacement therapy enhances hormone levels as needed with plant-derived supplements. HRT has been associated with health risks with long-term use, so women considering this treatment should discuss risks and benefits carefully with their doctors.
Estrogen Levels Vary On A Daily Monthly And Yearly Basis
This variation NEEDS to be taken into account when testing estrogen.
If you go into your Doctors office and your Doctor orders an estrogen on just some random day, it’s almost impossible to make any sort of claim based on that single lab test about your estrogen level.
The only exception is probably menopause because at this time in your life your estrogen is no longer fluctuating on a monthly basis and will stay relatively stable.
Because it is known that estrogen varies based on the day of the month lab tests come equipped with “ranges” which are designed to help with interpretation.
The problem with these lab tests is that the reference range is very wide :
You can see from this example that mid-follicular phase estrogen may vary from 27 to 123.
Mid-luteal phase estrogen can vary from 49 to 294.
So why is this a problem?
Let’s say that you are suffering from some symptoms, such as menstrual irregularities, which leads you to the Doctor for testing.
If your Doctor tests your estrogen and you come back in the normal range for the mid-luteal phase estrogen with a value at 58 you may be considered “normal”.
But what if the true “normal” for you is closer to 200? There would be no way to know what is actually your normal unless you have a baseline testing of estrogen .
This is just one way in which testing for estrogen is not as straightforward as it might seem.
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What Is The Difference Between Treatment You Can Get With And Without Blood Test Results
Dr Aziz-Scott: GPs follow the NICE guidelines which state that if a patient is over 45, blood tests are not mandatory and HRT can be initiated, depending on symptoms. It is only if a patient is under 45 that an FSH blood test is required. LH levels will also be checked, but estrogen will not be. This means that patients may be getting a one-size-fits-all treatment.
At the Marion Gluck Clinic, all patients are required to undergo blood tests to allow us to provide bespoke, personalised treatment tailored precisely to your bodys requirements.
Youll note that:
- We will complete a detailed hormone analysis and provide the correct hormones in the appropriate dosages for your individual needs. We know that estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and DHEA all interact, and that a balance of hormones is essential for optimum health and controlled symptoms. It is therefore the gold standard to have all hormones analysed before treatment.
- The free testosterone that we can measure in the private sector is not usually available on the NHS. We can check total testosterone and SHBG to work out the free androgen index, which tells us how much testosterone is bioavailable in the body.
- We monitor our patients hormone levels and adjust treatment accordingly. We are always monitoring the treatments efficiency and efficacy.
How To Naturally Decrease Estrogen Levels
Responsible for developing and maintaining female characteristics, estrogen is one of the two main female sex hormones. Nutrition, weight, caffeine intake, and stress may play a role in altering estrogen levels, however, its important to remember that a persons hormonal health is unique to their health history and a number of other variables play a role in overall health. Therefore if you are seeking out natural ways to decrease high estrogen levels, some of the outlined methods here may be more or less effective than others.
Some lifestyle changes that can help lower estrogen levels include:
- Ditch the caffeine
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What Day Is Best For Testing
It depends on your goals. For fertility, check estradiol and FSH on day 3 of your menstrual cycle. This is a measure of egg quality and drives progesterone levels. For peak estradiol, check on day 12 of your cycle. I use that for bone mass. For progesterone and to check ovulation, I check day 21-22. If you dont know what day, aim for estradiol and progesterone on day 21-22 as most lab data are standardized for those dates before menopause. If your cycles are very irregular, test day 21-22 after a period.
Improve Phase 3 Estrogen Detoxification
While there is Phase 1, 2, and 3 with liver detoxification I always make sure that Phase 3 is working first, because if this is not working then you will simply reabsorb toxins and hormones processed in Phases 1 and 2.
If you experience constipation then you have an issue with Phase 3 detoxification and clearance of estrogen. It is essential that you are having at least one healthy bowel motion every day.
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Can I Check My Hormone Levels At Home
You can check your hormone levels at home with an at home hormone check that involves a simple self-blood collection.
It is now possible to check your hormone levels at home via female hormone checks that involves taking a blood sample at home. Blood samples are the most accurate way to check your hormone levels.
Taking a progesterone test will prove insightful if you suspect that you are living with estrogen dominance as it measures the volume of circulating progesterone in the blood.
LetsGetCheckeds range of Female Hormone Tests provides a broad picture of a womans hormonal health. This can provide you with an insight into your current fertility status or potential shifts in hormones with online results available in just 5 days and medical support available over-the-phone for support and guidance.
You should consider taking a female hormone test if:
- Youre looking to start a family
- Youre thinking about pregnancy down the line
- Youre interested in knowing more about your hormone levels
- Youre experiencing symptoms of hormonal imbalance
Low Estrogen Levels And Weight Gain: Is There A Connection
Sex hormones, such as estrogen, influence the amount of fat in the body. Estrogen regulates glucose and lipid metabolism. If your estrogen levels are low, it can result in weight gain.
If your estrogen levels are low and its affecting your weight, speak with your doctor. They can assess your symptoms and advise you on next steps. Its always a good idea to try to eat a balanced diet and exercise as often as possible. Talk with your doctor about developing a diet and exercise plan thats right for you.
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Your Symptoms May Be The Key
So how are you supposed to navigate this complex problem of estrogen testing?
The key may be in your symptoms.
The evaluation of your estrogen should always be in the setting of whatever symptoms you are experiencing.
You are the single best way to determine if your levels are normal or abnormal.
If you KNOW that your cycle has been stable and normal for the last 5 years but suddenly it’s off by 1 week, there is definitely something wrong.
If you have previously not had any issues but you are now suffering from breast tenderness, migraines or mood issues related to your cycle, there is a high probability that something is wrong.
It’s often the case that your estrogen levels may show up “normal” even in the face of these types of symptoms.
For this reason, you should always pair up how you are feeling clinically with what your labs show.
I’ve provided a list of symptoms which tend to be associated with high and low estrogen below:
Symptoms of Low Estrogen
Low estrogen is relatively unusual among young menstruating women and thus tends to be more common as women age.
The principal cause of low estrogen is menopause which tends to occur in the fifth decade of life.
Other conditions, such as the removal of ovaries or the use of anastrozole, can trigger menopausal-like symptoms in women and lead to symptoms of low estrogen as well.
You can find a list of low estrogen symptoms below:
Estrogen Monitoring Is Crucial In Testosterone Therapy
It is an undeniable fact that testosterone levels decline naturally as a man ages. While aging is certainly at the top of the list of the causes of low testosterone, other factors such as inflammatory, genetic or endocrine conditions, excessive body weight, a western type diet, alcohol, drugs, physical and emotional stress and lack of sleep also have an impact on testosterone production. Testosterone deficiency is a common condition and many people are now considering testosterone replacement therapy.
Signs and symptoms of testosterone deficiency include anemia, depressed mood, reduced bone density with increased osteoporosis risk, reduced energy and well-being, decreased muscle mass and strength, impaired cognition and fatigue. The sexual symptoms include reduced libido, erectile dysfunction, difficulty achieving orgasm, reduced intensity of the experience of orgasm and decreased sexual penile sensation.
To ensure safety, testosterone replacement therapy should be monitored by a physician. On a regular basis, the physician will evaluate testosterone blood levels, liver functions, lipid levels, hematocrit and prostate-specific antigen levels as well as perform a physical examination including digital rectal examination. This close monitoring is important to make sure that your testosterone levels stay within the acceptable range.
However, estrogen monitoring should also be performed, considering the connection between these two hormones.
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Common Symptoms Of A Hormonal Imbalance
Hormonal imbalances can cause many different symptoms. Some common issues to look out for include:
- A bulge in the neck
- Puffy face
Many symptoms of a hormonal imbalance can be misleading. For example, both weight gain and weight loss can be symptomatic of a hormonal imbalance. So, it’s really difficult to just rely on symptoms to understand which specific hormone is the root of the problem. This is when getting tested becomes handy.
If you’re having trouble falling asleep, you may have low progesterone levels that are usually in charge of helping you fall asleep. On the other hand, high progesterone levels could be problematic as well, as these will make you feel sleepy even if you’re getting enough rest.
Low melatonin gives your body a signal that it’s time to rest. Low estrogen can give you night sweats that can be unbearable for many.
If you’re struggling with any symptom of a possible hormone imbalance, you need to get tested. Your hormone levels will depict the root cause of the symptoms you are experiencing and, you will be able to target them properly.
How Does The Male Reproductive System Work
While there are hundreds of hormones that control the bodys chemistry, testosterone is a versatile and critical part of the balance that specifically controls male characteristics and sex drive. When the levels dip, the result can cause a male to experience low sex drive and depression, among other complaints. Low T as it is commonly referred to in the media, can cause a number of symptoms, including:
- Fatigue or generalized weakness
- Memory problems or lack of concentration
- Changes in mood or irritability
- Erectile dysfunction
Some diseases, like diabetes, can cause similar symptoms, so it can be hard to diagnose. To further complicate matters, testosterone decline in men is a slow process and, some healthy men can produce sperm well into their 80s.
In addition, there are variables that affect hormonal decline and speed up the process. These include weight gain, drug use, tobacco or alcohol abuse, mental illness or severe depression, as well as stress and chronic illness. One may need to keep in mind that medical experts still disagree about the link between declining hormone levels in men and their need for HRT.
How Do I Know If I Have A Hormone Imbalance
The following list of common complaints can often be helped or eliminated by improving hormone health. The challenge is often finding out the starting place of your hormone imbalance to ensure you are treating the root of the problem rather than just the symptoms. And thats where hormone testing comes in.
- Menstrual irregularities
- Poor immune function
When assessing a hormone imbalance, its important to evaluate the endocrine system as a whole. This is because the endocrine system is complex and hormones and their actions are intricately linked this means that hormone imbalances originating from different areas can cause the same symptom.