How Can I Get My Hormones Checked For Imbalance
Are you wondering if you have a hormone imbalance or how you can get your hormone levels checked for imbalance? In this article, we look at this question and specifically look at what hormones you should check, when you should check them, and what some of the levels suggests. We will looking at estrogen, progesterone, some androgens and imbalances scenarios. As we make our way through these different scenarios you will begin to understand how some of the enzymes involved with production and breakdown of androgens and estrogen can influence your hormone balance.
If you want to know how to get your hormone checked for imbalance, keep reading.
How To Control Menopause Hormone Levels
In fact, there is no one magic pill that can control hormone levels in menopause. But, there is an efficient therapy that can eliminate most of these symptoms. Have you ever noticed that West women are more active at this age? They take hormone replacement therapy and live longer. The designated preparations contain estrogens and progesterone needed in our body in a small amount. So, hormone levels after menopause or during it will be stable, and women can feel comfortable.
Keep in mind, there is one myth around this therapy aimed to affect hormone levels in menopause, that a woman will get fat from these hormones. It is completely untrue. A woman is gaining weight only because of a lack of estrogens that once were normal. Without them, fat accumulates.
Accordingly, hormone therapy will help you to avoid such things, and menopause and hormone levels care will keep you fit. Moreover, doctors are trained enough to determine the right strength and dosages of a hormonal treatment so that a woman does not even notice any ailments or negative consequences. If you have a chance to undergo it, use this option because as of now it is the most efficient solution invented by dedicated experts for moderating and controlling hormone levels in menopause.
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Hormones Produced By The Pituitary Gland
The principal hormones produced by the pituitary gland, also called gonadotropins, are follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone . Both act upon on the ovary and trigger the release of estrogen and progesterone.
In turn, estrogen and progesterone then have an effect upon the pituitary gland, blocking the effect of hormones produced by the pituitary gland, thus closing the cycle. This process is known as feedback regulation or negative feedback.
TSH and prolactin are also released by the pituitary gland under the influence of the ovarian cycle.
Here, we are going to elaborate on the function of each one of these hormones:
For more information on how the female menstrual cycle works, we recommend the following article: The Different Phases of the Menstrual Cycle.
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What Happens During An Estrogen Test
If you are tested at your provider’s office or a lab, you will provide a blood or urine sample. If you use an at-home test, the sample is usually saliva .
For a blood test: A health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. You may feel a little sting when the needle goes in or out. This usually takes less than five minutes.
For a urine test: You’ll need to collect all your urine during a 24-hour period. This is called a 24-hour urine sample test. You will be given a special container to collect your urine and instructions on how to collect and store your samples. Your provider will tell you what time to start. The test generally includes the following steps:
- To begin, urinate in the toilet as usual. Do not collect this urine. Write down the time you urinated.
- For the next 24 hours, collect all your urine in the container.
- During the collection period, store the urine container in a refrigerator or in a cooler with ice.
- 24 hours after starting the test, try to urinate if you can. This is the last urine collection for the test.
- Return the container with your urine to your provider’s office or the laboratory as instructed.
The Role Of Hormone Testing
Metabolism. Mood regulation. Growth and development. Organ function. These are just a few of the many things hormones do in the human body. Hormones are produced by the endocrine system, which includes the thyroid, pituitary, and adrenal glands, the pancreas, the reproductive organs, and the hypothalamus region of the brain.
If any part of the endocrine system cant produce sufficient hormone levels, your health and well-being can suffer. Hormone tests measure hormone levels to pinpoint potential issues. A test for hormone imbalance can also be used to develop a treatment plan that restores hormones to their proper levels.
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Warning Signs You May Have A Hormonal Imbalance
No-one wants to be a slave to their hormones but how do you know if they are out of sync and what can you do to restore the balance?
Hormonal imbalances may be to blame for a range of unwanted symptoms from fatigue or weight gain to itchy skin or low mood.
Hormones are chemicals produced by glands in the endocrine system and released into the bloodstream. An imbalance occurs when there is too much or too little of a hormone.
Your hormones are important for regulating many different processes in the body including appetite and metabolism, sleep cycles, reproductive cycles and sexual function, body temperature and mood.
No surprise then that even the slightest imbalance may have a noticeable effect on your overall health and wellbeing.
Levels of hormones naturally fluctuate at various life stages, most noticeably during puberty and in women during the menstrual cycle, pregnancy and the menopause. They can also be affected by lifestyle and certain medical conditions.
What is important is to notice any symptoms and get them checked out by a qualified health professional so that you receive appropriate treatment, whether that involves using medication or complementary therapies, or making lifestyle changes, to restore the balance and your good health.
Here are 10 signs of hormonal imbalance to look out for and what you can do about them:
8. Headaches: Many women suffer headaches due to hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle, pregnancy or menopause.
Company Privacy And Reputation
Overall, users describe LetsGetChecked as affordable and convenient, with the added perk of a free consultation with a nurse who has reviewed your results.
One user states, The test is so easy to do by yourself and the results are returned efficiently. LetsGetChecked is helping to drive easier access to better health solutions.
Another user described it as the perfect alternative for putting their health first when they didnt have time to visit the clinic.
However, one user on Google Play says they never received an itemized receipt with services for reimbursement and had to pay out of pocket. Another user states they never received their test kit. Several other users report similar delays in shipping, whether for test kits or results.
suggests that home test kits are beneficial, as theyre likely to generate additional visits to primary care doctors, but cautions that regulations are needed to ensure accuracy.
The company doesnt appear to have any pending lawsuits.
Reasons Your Doctor Cant Give You A Hormone Imbalance Test
You may wonder why your doctor cant give you a quick test to determine if all your hormones are in balance. Testing hormones is very different from testing cholesterol or iron in your blood because your hormone levels are always changing, day by day, even hour by hour. They change based on where you are in your menstrual cycle, when you last ate, what your other hormones are doing, how stressed you are, and many other factors. Thats why a single hormone check cant really tell you if all your hormones are balanced.
Secondly, asking your doctor to check your hormones is a huge request. The human body produces more than 50 hormones! Hormones include melatonin adrenaline , oxytocin , cortisol , and progesterone , just to name a few.
The best way to discover if specific hormones are out of balance is by telling your doctor which symptoms you are experiencing so they can narrow down what should be checked and when. Your symptoms are your doctors first clues about what could be wrong.
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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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.
How Do You Get Your Hormone Levels Checked
If you suspect a hormone imbalance, the first step is to get your hormones checked. In conventional medicine, they will typically only run basic labs that look at a wide reference range. This can leave many people with normal results with no real answer to their persistent symptoms. Instead, youre told that youre either depressed, just getting older, or need to lose weight.
Functional medicine on the other hand runs more comprehensive labs and takes into account a narrower reference range. See, the reference range in conventional medicine is based on a statistical average of the population of that particular lab that you went to. Who gets lab work done? Sick people.
Thats why if your labs come back within the normal reference range, it doesnt mean its optimal. A functional medicine doctor is able to see sooner whether you are trending toward dysfunction because they look at a narrower reference range.
Depending on your particular symptoms, your doctor can determine what labs are necessary for you to run. These are the top hormone labs I run in my telehealth functional medicine clinic to get a well-rounded look at a patients health case.
Every cell of your body needs thyroid hormones to function optimally. Thyroid conversion issues, autoimmune thyroid conditions, and thyroid resistance are all issues that dont show up in standard labs.
2. Estrogen + Progesterone
Functional medicine labs: Serum leptin
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Hormonal Imbalance In Children: Does It Exist
Yes. Hormonal imbalances in children typically occur around puberty. This is when the sex hormones are first produced, signaling future growth in the body. Children whose bodies produce few or no sex hormones often have a condition known as hypogonadism.
In boys, hypogonadism stops the body from producing the muscle mass, body hair, and voice changes that are associated with puberty. The sex organs dont develop as they should, and the arms and legs will experience an excessive amount of growth compared to the trunk. Boys may also develop breast tissue. When girls have hypogonadism, they dont develop breast tissue, start their menstrual cycle, or experience the growth spurt thats typical of puberty.
Hypogonadism can occur either because the gonads are not producing the right hormone levels or, because the pituitary gland and hypothalamus arent signaling to the gonads to produce hormones at all. Though hypogonadism is a common cause of developmental and growth problems, there are other causes that may be causative. Always speak with your healthcare provider to gt the proper diagnosis of any abnormal development in children.
Risks Of Not Treating Hormone Imbalances
Hormone imbalances, when left untreated, are more than just annoying mood swings and bad PMS. They can be indicators that something more serious rarely, even cancerous is happening in your body.
Not getting your hormones back in balance could lead to other problems, like elevated cholesterol, osteoporosis, obesity, lack of sleep, and more.
Although truly identified hormonal imbalances often need medical or even surgical intervention, a healthy lifestyle can improve low-level symptoms.
Do your best to get:
- 6-8 hours of sleep each day
- 30+ minutes of vigorous exercise daily
- And a high-quality diet with enough protein and healthy fats and less sugar.
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Period Problems And Period
A common complaint of women who visit Madison Womens Health is irregular periods or unexpected changes to their periods. A period is considered irregular when it occurs more often than before or less often than before, or if the amount and duration of bleeding has changed significantly for repeated months. Is your period suddenly much heavier than it has been? Or are you not having a period at all?
Keep track of your cycles, when you begin to bleed, and for how long. A popular app among our patients for tracking cycles is Period Tracker Period Calendar , although there are many options. Let your doctor know how many days there are between your periods and what your typical flow is like. Discuss what is different and why you are concerned. Let them know if youre under more stress than before, if youve changed your diet or exercise recently, or if you have a family history of irregular periods.
These changes could have a structural cause having to do with your cervix or uterus or a hormonal cause. Your doctor will likely want to perform a physical exam and may also check specific hormones on a specific day of your menstrual cycle.
When To See A Doctor About Your Results
At-home testing kits dont replace a visit to your doctor. Plan to visit a healthcare professional to share and discuss your results, especially if your test results indicate a health concern, you have unexplained symptoms, or you want to devise a treatment plan.
A healthcare professional can analyze your results and see how they relate to your overall health and your current treatment plan, including medications. They may do additional testing or perform a complete physical examination.
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Thyroid Testing With Blood
The most common way to test thyroid function, and the test that is considered the gold standard is a blood test, but it is important that you get a complete thyroid test and not just the TSH test.
The complete thyroid test includes:
- TSH This is important because we want to see what messages the brain is sending to the thyroid.
- Free T4 This is the storage form of the thyroid that is made by the thyroid gland in response to TSH, this is also the form of the thyroid that is usually prescribed in medications but some people have a problem converting T4 to T3.
- Free T3 This is the metabolically active form of thyroid hormone which makes it the most important thyroid hormone to be optimal. T4 to T3 conversion happens throughout the body.
- Reverse T3 This is an inactive form of thyroid hormone, important to test because high levels indicate adrenal issues or high levels of inflammation.
- Thyroid antibodies This indicates if you have an autoimmune thyroid problem, also important to test because often this will rise well before there is a problem with the other thyroid hormones.
You can still have normal TSH and even normal T4 levels but have a low thyroid function, check out this video below and I explain the importance of the complete thyroid test, and show a number of different examples of perfect TSH levels but low levels of the metabolically active T3. Note the measurement units in the U.S are different but the principle is still the same.
What Are The Symptoms Of Low Hormone Levels
The symptoms of low hormone levels can vary between men and women. They can also occur at different times in the lives of men and women. Women are most likely to notice low hormone symptoms around perimenopause or menopause . Men can begin to notice them at any time, usually after age 30.
Many of the symptoms men and women experience are similar.
- Low energy levels
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Figuring Out If You Need Hormone Testing
To decide whether you need hormone testing , your doctor will likely start by asking you lots of questions about your symptoms. This will help them put together the puzzle pieces of what might be going on.
The workflow in my head focuses on three questions, Dr. Batur says. First, do these symptoms sound hormonal? If so, do they sound like theyre related to estrogen, progesterone, testosterone or some other type of hormone? And finally, is it because theyre too low or too high?
Once your doctor has a sense of what might be happening, theyll figure out which tests to run.
One symptom that indicates that you may need testing is irregular periods.
If youre having regular menstrual cycles and not having symptoms throughout the month, I dont usually start with lots of estrogen, progesterone or testosterone tests, Dr. Batur says. But if youre experiencing a lot of irregularities in your cycle, Im likely to do more testing.