How Can I Find Out If I Have A Hormone Imbalance
The only way to confirm a hormone imbalance is to test your hormone levels. Both blood tests and saliva tests are proven techniques in assessing a hormone imbalance. i-screen uses blood tests to accurately determine sex hormone and thyroid hormone levels, but prefers saliva testing to assess cortisol levels. This is because cortisol levels follow a diurnal pattern which means tests must be conducted throughout the course of the day this makes blood testing inconvenient.
How To Test Your Estrogen Levels
Because hormones and their functions can be so varied, there is no one single test to detect hormonal imbalances and estrogen can be tested in one of three ways:
Each test involves a different level of medical support, and can give different snapshots of information. For instance, a saliva test collected over the course of a month can provide a more accurate picture than a one time blood draw. Other than a small prick at the point of a blood draw, there are no known risks to any of the collection methods, and no special preparations need to be taken before the test.
What Are The Different Types Of Hormone Tests
Practitioners can test hormone levels using blood, urine, or saliva samples. Each type of test has advantages and disadvantages with regard to an individuals health, the hormones to be tested, the hormone treatments already underway, and other variables. In some cases, your individual preference may also be a factor in choosing the best type of test.
Read Also: How Much Is Estrogen Shots
Signs And Symptoms Of A Hormonal Imbalance
Your hormones play an integral role in your overall health. As a result, theres a broad range of signs and symptoms that could signal a hormonal imbalance. Your signs or symptoms will depend on which hormones or glands are not working properly.
Common hormonal conditions affecting people of all genders could cause any of the following signs or symptoms:
- purple or pink stretch marks
Keep in mind that these symptoms are nonspecific. Having one or a few of them doesnt necessarily mean that you have a hormonal imbalance.
Some of these symptoms may also reflect other chronic conditions. So, if you find yourself dealing with any notable changes in your body or energy levels, its a good idea to talk with your doctor.
There Is A Similar Test Advertised On The Internet Can This Test Be Taken At Home
Samples of urine, saliva, faeces and finger-prick blood, which can be collected at home, are currently used by the NHS for specific tests, especially in relation to children.
It is recommended that all tests are overseen by the patients GP and/or endocrinologist. This is because it is important that a doctor has carried out a full examination of the patient and talked to them face-to-face to ensure that they can properly interpret the results of any tests. The advantage of a professionally collected sample , eg, blood from a vein, is that enough is taken to allow double-checking of extreme results, repeating the analysis after dilution, investigating possible human or biological interference, allowing additional tests to be carried out if required without the delay and discomfort of taking another sample.
Some internet laboratories are acceptable, but the small volume of self-taken samples creates limitations. With hormones, it is often best to measure more than one at once in order to get the full-picture.
It can be difficult for internet laboratories without full knowledge of individual medical details, for example, the drugs being taken, to appreciate the significance of the results, or fully interpret them.
It is important to take care when comparing results from different laboratories because significant variation can arise from differences in the measurement technology.
Recommended Reading: How Do You Balance Out Your Hormones
A Hormone Imbalance Can Cause Chronic Health Issues
When your hormones are in proper balance they help the body thrive, but small problems with hormones can cause serious and life-altering symptoms. Specifically, imbalances of sex hormones, thyroid hormones and adrenal hormones are common problems that can contribute to a host of chronic health issues. Unfortunately, conventional medicine often doesnt understand the significant role hormone imbalances play in many health complaints.
Preparing For Hormone Testing At Cedars
We explain the tests you need and answer any questions you may have.
Here’s what to expect:
- Stop certain medications: We let you know whether to stop taking drugs such as oral steroids or estrogen supplements before your test.
- Visit one of our labs: You go to a Cedars-Sinai lab and provide a blood, urine or saliva sample. If you need stimulation or suppression testing, we let you know in advance how long you’ll need to stay.
- Collect samples at home: If we need samples over a period of time, you may be able to perform testing at home. We give you special containers for collecting saliva or urine samples and detailed instructions on how to handle them.
- Receive more than one form of hormone testing: Blood testing is one way we evaluate hormone imbalances. We may recommend additional tests, including stimulation or suppression tests, to learn more about what’s causing the imbalance.
- Undergo other forms of testing: For problems such as tumors or a possible cancer diagnosis, we use imaging to learn more about their size, location and nature.
Have Questions or Need a Second Opinion?
To make an appointment or refer a patient, call us or send a message to the Endocrinology care team.You can also have us at your convenience.
You May Like: Where Is Hormonal Acne Located
How To Get Your Hormones Tested And What To Do Next
Last updated on by Alisa Vitti
So, youve been feeling less than great lately maybe the first sign was irregular or heavy and painful periods, or maybe it was some weight gain and acne either way, you know something is wrong and you want to feel better. Youre thinking it might be hormone-related. What now?
Many women take a trip to their OBGYN and ask for a hormone test. This is a great first step towards treating your health issues. But the results can be confusing and concerning without a little background information and preparation. Knowledge is power! Theres no need to be mystified.
Remember: no result received is static, the diagnosis you get can and will change with the right kind of treatment.
How To Check Hormone Levels At Home
The FDA is very reluctant to grant approval to home hormone level testing kits. Before purchasing any at-home medical testing kit, you should check to verify FDA approval. If the kit isnt approved, its likely not useful.
Many at-home test kits utilize saliva samples and saliva tests, as well as urine tests, which are both not as accurate when compared to the results of traditional medical testing methods like bloodwork. This is especially true when testing for hormones like follicle-stimulating hormone , which increases during menopause, and cortisol levels, which are higher during times of stress.
Even if you do use an at-home kit, your doctor usually will not accept the kits findings as fact. Youll generally still need to undergo at least one additional test done in one of the previous standard methods.
Hormone level testing kits can be wrong in either direction. They may allude to a problem that doesnt exist, or miss a significant concern. Its best to avoid using them and speak directly with your doctor if you have concerns about hormone levels.
One of the best things you can do at home is keep a journal of your symptoms. Your detailed documentation of what youre experiencing and when you experience it can help to point your doctor in the right direction. The more information your doctor has, the better they will be able to compose a treatment plan that meets your unique needs.
You May Like: Do I Have To Take Hormones After Hysterectomy
When Is Hormone Testing Helpful
Women with fertility issues. For women in this category, hormone panels are key, both as a diagnostic and a therapeutic tool. So many fertility problems can be traced to irregularities in the menstrual cycle, and your practitioner needs to understand what’s wrong in order to give you the right support.
Women with ordinary symptoms of hormonal imbalance. Women often ask us: is there a test to tell whether I’m in menopause? The short answer is no. You’re menopausal when you haven’t had a period for a year. Hormone tests are not required for this largest group of women. The symptom patterns are very individual, but the first line therapy is mostly the same: build a nutritional foundation, take the right basic supplements to restore balance, and make meaningful lifestyle changes.
Women with severe symptoms of hormonal imbalance. For women with debilitating or intractable symptoms, a hormone panel is essential. When dealing with PCOS, fibroids, diagnosed alopecia , and other more severe hormone issues, your practitioner simply can’t treat you without knowing where your hormones are.
Which Hormones Should You Get Tested
If you suspect that you are experiencing a hormonal imbalance or the unwanted effects of age-related hormone fluctuation, it is a good idea to begin recording your symptoms on a daily basis. This record can be an important tool when you speak to a hormone specialist and begin the journey of diagnosis and treatment. Although noticeable symptoms are not the complete picture, it is a good place to start and can help you to better understand your health goals.
While you may have a good idea of what you would like to be tested for, the guidance of an experienced practitioner is essential to determine which hormones to test for and which types of hormone tests will be best to ensure accurate diagnosis and facilitate treatment planning This chart can help you quickly understand your testing options based on the specific hormones being assessed:
When seeking out a practitioner, look for these qualities:
- Specializes in hormone health and HRT
- Has completed extensive specialized training
- Has access to wide resources for testing and treatment options
- Provides individual attention and cares about your goals
With the right hormone health practitioner to guide you forward, you can find meaningful symptom relief and find your way back to your best, most vital self.
Don’t Miss: What Can Help Hormonal Acne
When Does Perimenopause Happen
Perimenopause is defined as the 10 years prior to menopause, so most women in their 40s are in perimenopause. The 40s are characterized by a decrease in fertility, which is due to the decrease in hormone production.
This decline in fertility is the same reason for the increase in complaints of women in their 40s. We commonly hear about irritability, nervousness, depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance, belly fat, water retention and weight gain from female patients in their late 30s and 40s. These symptoms are usually from the declining production of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.
Types Of Fertility Hormone Testing
Considerable hormone activity occurs during the menstrual cycle, so testing for hormones, such as those listed below, should be done at a specific time during the cycle.
Medications, including birth control pills, can interfere with hormone test results. Women and men should tell their physician beforehand about their medications, and may need to cease certain medications before fertility hormone testing.
Read Also: How To Get Rid Of Hormones
What Is Fertility Hormone Testing
Hormones and their interaction affect a womans fertility by ensuring proper ovulation, proper implantation of the embryo in the uterus, and the womans capability to carry a pregnancy to term. When any of these hormones are out of balance, infertility can result. Common hormonal abnormalities affecting fertility include low thyroid function, low progesterone and high male hormone levels.
Fertility hormone testing determines the various levels and presence of a variety of hormones central to reproduction. Laboratory analysis of these hormones, generally obtained via blood and urine samples, allows fertility physicians to determine potential causes of infertility and the appropriate treatment options.
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.
Recommended Reading: How To Boost Your Hormones
Is It Safe To Have Tests During The Pandemic
Dr Aziz-Scott: Its understandable that there is some hesitation about being around others at this time, but we would like to reassure you that your safety is of the utmost importance to us. It is safe to have your blood tests during the pandemic and as per Government advice, it is recommended that you keep any appointments or procedures you have booked.
What Should I Do If I Have A Hormonal Imbalance
The testing is complete, the results are in, and it appears as though you may be experiencing some kind of hormone imbalance or age-related hormone change. While this may be frightening, its important to remember that hormone imbalances are often easily resolved.
Depending on the severity and the cause of your hormone issue, you may be able to resolve the issue naturally via careful lifestyle adjustments. In other cases, you may consider replacing the hormones your body is lacking in order to restore balance. This treatment option is calledhormone replacement therapy, and its a very common first line of defense against hormone problems of all kinds.
A good hormone health practitioner will help you understand your treatment options and create a comprehensive plan of therapies and/or lifestyle changes that make sense for you. With their support, you can find the best path toward symptom relief and optimal health.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. All content on this website is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent diseases.
Also Check: How Much Melatonin Can My Child Take
How Tech Can Help Track Stress Levels
First, it was step trackers. Then, it was heart rate monitors. Now, stress monitoring is the latest evolution of wearable technology in the world of health and wellness and you can conveniently track it all on your phone.
Having a bad day? Your fitness tracker can now recognize that. Feeling ecstatic about personal news? Your fitness tracker can identify that, too. Well explore what makes this possible and how companies have tapped into new and existing technology to track stress levels.
Donât Miss: What Vitamins Help Reduce Stress
Why Hormonal Imbalance Blood Testing Makes Sense
Hormones are chemicals that are produced by glands in the endocrine system and play a critical role in regulating bodily functions. Hormones naturally fluctuate as you age, and some hormonal imbalances are to be expected as you transition through various stages of life.
However, hormonal imbalances can also occur at any time and may be indicative of an underlying disease or disorder. Below, learn all about hormones, hormonal imbalances, common endocrine disorders and hormonal testing.
You May Like: What To Take To Balance Female Hormones
How To Test Cortisol Levels
Cortisol levels are measured with lab tests. These may be blood tests, which measure levels of the hormone in the bloodstream, or saliva tests, which measure cortisol levels in a saliva sample. Cortisol testing is typically done early in the morning, when levels are normally highest. Often, to produce the most accurate results, testing is repeated in the afternoon of the same day. Cortisol testing is often done in conjunction with ACTH level tests, since this pituitary gland hormone works to regulate cortisone levels. ACTH tests measure levels of the hormone in the bloodstream.
Getting tested can be done through your health care provider, who can order your tests for you, take your blood or saliva samples or send you to a lab to have them done. Then, your provider will let you know your results once they are delivered to his or her office.
You can also order these lab tests yourself online or over the phone from independent testing services, like Health Testing Centers. Ordering your own tests is generally less expensive, since you skip the cost of an office visit, and more efficient, since the results are delivered directly to you.
However, it is important to note that if your tests show that your cortisol and/or ACTH levels are abnormal too high or too low following up on those results with a visit to your healthcare provider is essential. Abnormal levels of these important hormones require further examination and testing.
Need More Hormone Help
If youre needing some health upgrading, its time you started you looking into whats going on with your hormones.
Ive designed a 4 day hormone detox and evaluation to help you understand exactly whats out of whack and how you can start getting back to balance so that your hormones no longer have to suffer.
to get your FREE detox and evaluation!
Recommended Reading: How To Get Hormone Therapy Ftm