How Is A Hormonal Imbalance Diagnosed
First, make an appointment with a health care provider for a physical exam. The health care provider will ask about your symptoms. Then, depending on your symptoms, they will suggest which hormone imbalance tests to do. These could be evaluations like:
- Blood test: Estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, thyroxine, TTH, insulin, and cortisol levels can be detected in the blood.
- Pelvic exam: A health care provider will search for any lumps or cysts.
- Ultrasound: Images of your uterus, ovaries, thyroid, and pituitary gland can be obtained.
It Might Not Be Your Hormones
While its important to advocate for your health, try not to be swayed by broad, overarching claims that insist that everyone needs hormone testing or that every symptom youre experiencing is related to your hormones.
Just because youre experiencing symptoms of a hormonal imbalance doesnt mean you have a hormonal imbalance. Nearly every symptom of a hormonal imbalance can have other causes, as well. Its important to not lump everything together under hormones, and to instead break down each symptom individually, Dr. Batur advises. We have to take a deep dive to make sure were not missing anything, whether its lifestyle factors or another medical condition.
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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What Is Hormonal Imbalance
Hormones are produced by the endocrine glands, which create hormones to travel throughout the body to tell your organs what to do. These are responsible for many of the vital functions of your body, including your metabolism and reproduction. If the levels are too high or too low, this leads to significant negative effects on the body.
Various tests can be used to test your hormone levels, which can offer excellent insight as to what may be causing your problems. Then you can begin the right treatment to help you get back to feeling like yourself.
Your Periods Are Very Light Short Or Totally Missing In Action
Some women would call this a blessing, but experiencing barely there bleeding or no bleeding at all isnt healthy. A short period and only light bleeding can indicate low estrogen levels. If youve been crash dieting or restricting your food for a long time, you may have depleted your body of important micronutrients that are necessary for estrogen production.
Try: Adding in more protein. Hormones are made from amino acids, and you cant get your estrogen up if you cant make enough of it from your food.
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Is Blood Testing The Best Way To Check Your Hormones
In todays blog, were going to go through what blood testing is good for, what its not good for and how you can use the results to help you cure your hormonal acne.
Blood testing is great to pinpoint a few different things.
The number one thing is pathology. Thats diseases. Its when things have gone seriously wrong in your body or you have a major hormone imbalance. Blood testing is great for picking these things up.
Blood testing is also great for identifying nutritional deficiencies. Things like vitamin and mineral deficiencies, which well look at some results in a minute and see what they look like.
But when we think about hormonal acne and PCOS though, blood testing is only going to pick up hormone imbalances if theres a big problem. But, the one area blood testing is always good for it is when we want to look at baseline hormone levels.
In women, this is at the beginning of your menstrual cycle . This is when its good to use a blood test because you can get your baseline hormonal values and see if theres any significant dysfunction there.
At baseline, the hormones you want to look at are FSH, LH, Estradiol and Progesterone . At the beginning of your cycle, the progesterones always going to be low, which is why you see it quite a low in the above results. This is because progesterone doesnt come up until after you ovulate. So early in your cycle ovulation hasnt occurred yet so it will naturally be low.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Hormone Imbalance In Women
These can vary greatly, explains Dr. Eccles, but include the following: hot flushes, vaginal dryness, irregular bleeding, fibrocystic changes in the breasts, weight gain, fluid retention, dry skin and hair, hair loss, anxiety, irritability, mood swings, sleeplessness, headaches, breast tenderness, foggy thinking, joint pain, loss of libido and difficulty reaching orgasm.
Acne, depression, fatigue, hirsutism , increased thirst, migraines, infertility, irregular periods, loss of periods , night sweats, pain during sex, poor memory and a puffy face can also be indicative of a hormone imbalan
Hormones affect us through their daily subtle shifts, more strongly through the monthly cycle, and then through the massive hormonal swings during pregnancy, perimenopause and the menopause, says Dr Marion Gluck, womens health specialist and author of Its Not My Head, Its My Hormones . While not everyone will struggle with these changes, many women suffer physically and emotional. Heres the low-down on your hormones, and what happens when you have a hormone imbalance.
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Treatment For A Hormonal Imbalance
There are many different treatment options for hormonal imbalances. The treatment you ultimately be given will depend on which hormone exactly is unbalance as well as the underlying cause of the imbalance. Sometimes, a life event might cause such a fluctuation in your hormones, such as menopause. In that case, your treatment would be short term one. However, if you have a genetic disorder that causes a lifelong hormonal imbalance, you will need to pursue a more prolonged course of medications.
Hormone therapy is a common treatment for hormonal imbalances. Women who are witnessing uncomfortable menopausal symptoms may choose estrogen therapy. Testosterone therapy is a common choice for men with low testosterone levels or adolescents facing delayed puberty. Taking thyroid hormones can help individuals with hypothyroidism. Such hormone replacement therapies may come in the form of pills, patches, or even injections. Your doctor will help you choose the appropriate dosage by checking your hormone levels test results. This is how he will determine the right amount of supplemented hormone you will need to recreate the balance.
Bioidentical hormones can be produced by pharmaceutical companies using different doses. Examples include bi-estrogen which is 50 to 80 percent estriol combined with estradiol, or tri-estrogen which is 10 percent estrone, 10 percent estradiol, and 80 percent estriol.
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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 called hormone 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 that makes sense for you. With their support, you can find the best path toward symptom relief and optimal health.
If you are interested in hormone testing, BodyLogicMD can help. The practitioners in the BodyLogicMD network are experts in hormone replacement therapy and dedicated to helping patients achieve hormonal balance. Using a functional approach to medicine, each patient is treated as a whole individual, receiving nutrition and lifestyle counseling in addition to any necessary medications. If you need a hormone balance test or are looking for a specialist to interpret the results, contact a local practitioner today. Or take the BodyLogicMD Hormone Balance Quiz to better understand the impact of hormones.
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Your Stop For Complete Hormone Testing For Women
Now you know the 12 most common Hormone Testing for Women, 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.. Its important for you to get a baseline reading of each of your hormone biomarkers. Not only that, but you need to get tested regularly to track any changes that lead to a hormone imbalance.By keeping a close eye on your hormone biomarkers, as you go through life, you can detect the impact of disruptions or discomfort from changing hormone levels. Make sure that you not only get routinely tested but to also discuss the results with your doctor.If you need help understanding your hormones, wed love to help. We offer these key Hormone Testing for Women as part of our selection of 1,500 lab tests, and we provide explanations on each biomarker.You can select your lab tests, order directly online, choose a convenient patient service center near you, and review your test results typically in 1 to 2 days after your blood is collected.Take charge of your health and get tested today at UltaLabTests.com/Shop.
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.
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Thyroid Testing With Urine
You can also test thyroid function using a 24-hour urine sample, this is not commonly done due to the inconvenience of collecting a 24-hour urine sample, but it is a good option for anyone who has a phobia with needles or has another reason why they cannot do a blood test.
The thyroid urine test does not measure TSH but it does measure free T4 and free T3 and the results correlate well with blood testing. Another advantage of urine testing is that you can also test selenium, iodine, and tyrosine which are the cofactors in making T4 and helping with T4 to T3 conversion.
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.
What Is High Estrogen In Men
Too much estrogen in the male body can interfere with fertility, sexual function and even raise the risk for chronic diseases. One cause of hormone imbalance in aging men is that is testosterone is converted to estrogen, which can result in an excess of estradiol. Lab testing can reveal hormonal imbalances of estrogen and testosterone.
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.
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Lab Test To Consider For A Missing Period
- Pregnancy test
- 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.
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:
- rounded face
- 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.
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Stimulation And Suppression Hormone Testing
We use tests called stimulation and suppression tests to evaluate a hormone imbalance. We give you hormones and other substances that either start or stop your production of certain hormones. We then evaluate how your body responds.
Common types of stimulation and suppression testing include:
- Growth hormone response to glucagon: We inject a hormone, glucagon, into muscle tissue and measure growth hormone levels over four hours. This test helps us confirm or rule out adult growth hormone deficiency.
- Cortisol response to cosyntropin: We give you cosyntropin, which acts like ACTH . ACTH is a hormone produced in the pituitary gland that stimulates the adrenal glands to produce cortisol. We measure cortisol levels every 30 minutes for one hour. This test helps us confirm adrenal insufficiency.
- Glucose tolerance test: We give you a sweet drink, which should lower levels of growth hormone. We measure levels of growth hormone in the blood every two hours. This test helps us confirm acromegaly.
- Cortisol response to dexamethasone: You take a pill at night that should block cortisol production. The next day we take a blood sample to measure cortisol levels. This test helps us confirm or rule out Cushings syndrome.
- Metyrapone suppression test: You take a pill at night that should block cortisol production. The next day we take a blood sample to measure cortisol and ACTH levels. This test helps us confirm or rule out adrenal insufficiency.
Why Is Hormone Level Testing Important
If you are experiencing symptoms and you are unsure of the cause or have tried other treatments without success your hormone balance may be playing a role. By identifying a hormonal imbalance, you can take steps to correct the imbalance. Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy is a treatment that restores hormone balance to reduce symptoms.
Aging is not the only thing that can create a hormonal imbalance. Certain medications and stress can cause hormone levels to become elevated or depleted over time, causing symptoms to appear. Diagnoses such as Type I and II Diabetes, Thyroid Disease , menopause, and hypogonadism are a few of the many conditions that contribute to hormone imbalance.
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Do All Patients Need Blood Tests For Hormone Levels
Dr Aziz-Scott: Although treatment is bespoke to you, patients will follow a similar patient journey, and in the initial consultation, blood tests for hormone levels are required for all patients. In some cases, women may come to the clinic with blood tests conducted externally by their GP, or another healthcare professional.
We do see patients that have had a Dried Urine Test for Comprehensive Hormones . The DUTCH test is a urinary assessment of hormones and can provide a great deal of useful information about the different hormone systems in the body. It is very useful in assessing how estrogen is metabolised and this is a very important factor to consider once you are on BHRT as certain estrogen metabolites can be toxic and increase breast cancer risk.
Depending on a patients individual situation, we may be able to work with DUTCH test results, but serum blood hormone levels are the gold standard of testing to provide an accurate baseline. Many clinics offer finger prick tests, but we opt for serum blood tests as these are less likely to provide erroneous results and unnecessary additional costs if repeats needed. Once we begin treatment, the monitoring process is also much more efficient with serum blood tests.
Your Marion Gluck Clinic doctor will advise you of the tests required during your consultation and will explain the options for how you can have blood drawn.