Preparing For Hormone Testing At Cedars
We explain the tests you need and answer any questions you may have.
Heres 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 youll 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 whats 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.
Recommended Reading: Hormone Therapy And Radiation After Prostatectomy
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
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, its 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 youre 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 youre getting enough rest.
Low melatonin gives your body a signal that its time to rest. Low estrogen can give you night sweats that can be unbearable for many.
If youre 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.
What Is Hormonal Imbalance In Men
The most common hormonal imbalances in men are related to testosterone levels. Men may experience low levels of testosterone due to disorders, like hypogonadism for example when the testes cannot produce an adequate supply of testosterone. More commonly, aging is the underlying cause, with testosterone production gradually diminishing over time, beginning around age 40. For some men, levels fall so low that the bodys basic needs for the hormone cannot be fulfilled, which can lead to many of the symptoms listed above. Other factors that can contribute to low testosterone levels include excessive stress, poor diet, obesity and regular excessive alcohol use.
Also Check: How To Increase Your Hormones
My Hormone Levels Are Normal Now What
As you can see, hormonal imbalances are often the culprits for many of the symptoms that women at or over 40 claim make them feel different, but if your doctor has conducted blood tests and you do not have a hormone imbalance, we recommend taking a look at the following factors in your overall health:
We understand how tempting and easy it can be for women to blame their hormones for not feeling like they did when they were in their 20s and early 30s. And, we also know that evaluating your overall health and making changes to your routine to get enough sleep, eat a healthy diet, and exercise regularly, takes a great deal of time and effort. Thats why were here to help.
At Moreland OB-GYN, we specialize in womens health care and prioritizing the needs of our patients at all ages and stages in their life. We hope youll connect with us to answer your questions and we hope youll turn to our experts as a trusted source for information.
Dont Miss: Effects Of Hormone Imbalance In Females
Some Signs And Symptoms Of Hormonal Imbalance
Since hormone are an essential part of overall health there are actually many signs signs and symptoms that can indicate hormonal imbalance. The signs and symptoms can depend on which glands or hormones are not functioning well. Hormonal imbalances affect both women and men and can cause the following:
- Muscle tenderness, stiffness, aches, and/or weakness
- Unexplained weight loss or gain
- Joint pain, swelling, stiffness, and/or pain
- Sweating and/or night sweats
- Anxiety, nervousness, irritability, and/or depression
- Stretch marks that are purple or pink in color
Please note that these signs and symptoms are considered nonspecific, so if you have one or some of these it does not necessarily indicate hormonal imbalance. There are also specific symptoms that can manifest in children and teenagers, so if you suspect any imbalance for a child or teenager going through puberty it is important to consult with a doctor.
You May Like: How To Balance Hormones After Hysterectomy
Female Hormone Imbalance: What Is It
Hormonal imbalance occurs when the amount of estrogen, progesterone or both is altered, disturbing the delicate balance between these powerful hormones. Imbalances in these vital female hormones can stem from a number of underlying causes. The most common cause is perimenopause, the transitional phase leading up to menopause, during which the production of estrogens and progesterone begin to decline. Other common causes of hormonal imbalance include pregnancy, endocrine disorders, certain drugs, especially oral contraceptives, drugs used in hormone replacement therapy and cancer medications, and lifestyle factors that include stress, overweight or obesity, poor diet, sleep deprivation and lack of exercise.
Hot Flashes And Night Sweats
One of the most common symptoms of perimenopause is hot flashes, which often coexists with night sweats. Almost 80 percent of people who are in perimenopause or transitioning into menopause have hot flashes. Also, most women who receive chemotherapy or undergo surgery to remove their ovaries will experience hot flashes.
Scientists know that hot flashes occur as a result of low estrogen levels. Each hot flash involves a sensation of heat that starts in the chest area and travels to the neck and the head. It can last for a few minutes and may cause sweating. Some women also develop a faster heart rate during hot flashes.
If a hot flash happens during sleep, they are called night sweats. Women who have night sweats often wake up in the morning feeling tired.
Some people experience redness along their neck and face during a hot flash. This is called a hot flush.
On average, each hot flash lasts for about three to four minutes. Hot flashes can occur for a few months to several years. In a few rare cases, some people had hot flashes for 10 years.
Other signs of hormonal imbalance include:
- Heavy or irregular periods, missed periods, frequent periods, or stopped periods
- Vaginal dryness and itching
- Weakened muscles
- Pain in the muscles, tenderness, and stiffness
- Pain and swelling in the joints
- Cancer treatments
Read Also: Natural Ways To Help Hormonal Imbalance
Incidence Causes And Development Contributing Risk Factors
Normal hormone levels are usually maintained by the endocrine system but external factors can cause an imbalance, whereby there is too little or too much of certain hormone. There are many different hormones and many possible causes of imbalance, including:
There are some causes which are unique to women. These include:
- Menopause Fluctuating hormones during this period can trigger hormonal imbalance
- Pregnancy A woman’s body will experience a surge of hormones during pregnancy which can be disrupted by the slightest emotional or physical disturbance
- BreastfeedingEstrogen levels drop while a woman is breastfeeding
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Hormone drugs These directly affect hormone levels within the body
- Primary ovarian failure Women with POF are unable to produce a normal amount of estrogen
There are some conditions such as PCOS or Premature Ovarian Failure linked to hormonal imbalances that an individual may be genetically predisposed to. These conditions will increase the risk of suffering from hormonal imbalance. Other risk factors include:
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:
- 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.
Don’t Miss: Is It Necessary To Take Hormones After Menopause
How Can I Balance Back My Hormones
If you have been diagnosed with a hormonal imbalance, your doctor can advise you on ways of bringing your body back into proper balance. Typical treatments for improved hormonal balance include hormone replacement therapy and lifestyle changes, such as dietary changes, stress management and exercise. In the case of thyroid dysfunction, medications and/or surgical intervention may be necessary to restore health levels of thyroid hormones.
Engage In Regular Exercise
Physical activity can strongly influence hormonal health. A major benefit of exercise is its ability to reduce insulin levels and increase insulin sensitivity.
Insulin is a hormone that has several functions. One is allowing cells to take up sugar and amino acids from the bloodstream, which are then used for energy and maintaining muscle.
However, a little insulin goes a long way. Too much can be downright dangerous.
High insulin levels have been linked to inflammation, heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Whats more, they are connected to insulin resistance, a condition in which your cells dont respond properly to insulins signals .
Many types of physical activity have been found to increase insulin sensitivity and reduce insulin levels, including aerobic exercise, strength training and endurance exercise (
For people who are unable to perform vigorous exercise, even regular walking may increase these hormone levels, potentially improving strength and quality of life .
Although a combination of resistance and aerobic training seems to provide the best results, engaging in any type of physical activity on a regular basis is beneficial.
Performing strength training, aerobics, walking or other forms of physical activity can modify hormone levels in a way that reduces the risk of disease and protects muscle mass during the aging process.
Recommended Reading: Best All Natural Hormone Replacement
All About Hormone Disruptors
Hormone disruptors occur all around you, and you can ingest them without even knowing just by eating, drinking, and breathing. You can even absorb them through your skin!
Hormone disruptors are most often found in chemicals. BPA and DDE are two of the most common hormone disruptors.
They can also occur in nature. Examples include soybeans and fungi. But heres the tricky part: foods that arent truly hormone disruptors can become contaminated through water, pesticides, run-offs, and other means. Foods that should be clean may actually be full of chemicals, such as fruit that has been sprayed with pesticides.
Other than food, some of the most common places where hormone disruptors can be found include:
How Is Hormone Imbalance Treated
Restoring hormone balance is the goal of treatment. Your Stoneleigh Medical Group specialist offers various methods for increasing low hormone levels within your body.
They may recommend one of the following hormone treatments:
- Vaginal applications for women
Your specialist can also insert tiny pellets underneath your skin to release a steady stream of hormones over time.
Periodic monitoring using blood tests helps ensure that your hormone replacement therapy is effective.
Adopt healthy habits to enhance your treatment. Eat nutritious foods, get regular exercise, get enough sleep, and maintain an ideal body weight.
If you suspect you have a hormone imbalance, call the Stoneleigh Medical Group office or schedule an appointment online today.
You May Like: Signs Your Hormones Are Balanced
Appetite And Weight Gain
You may gain weight during hormonal shifts, such as menopause. But hormone changes donât directly affect your weight. Instead, it likely happens because of other factors, like aging or lifestyle. For example, when youâre feeling blue or irritated, as you can be when your estrogen levels drop, you may want to eat more. It can also impact your bodyâs levels of leptin, a hunger-revving hormone.
How And Why Do Men And Women Experience Hormonal Imbalances Differently
Hormones impact men and women differently, particularly when youre dealing with those specific to the reproductive system. Men and women also go through different developmental stages. Women will experience hormonal changes with their menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause, which men do not experience. Women may experience hormonal imbalances that present through:
- Vaginal dryness or discomfort
- Erectile dysfunction
You May Like: How Much Hormones Does Nexplanon Release
Symptoms Of Hormonal Imbalance
Often times, hormonal imbalance is not diagnosed until an individual experiences infertility. Women may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Increased hair growth on the face, neck, chest, and back.
- Unexplained weight gain.
- Constipation and diarrhea.
Men are less likely to have a hormonal imbalance that contributes to infertility than women, but they may still experience symptoms such as:
- Erectile dysfunction.
An Example Of How Hormone Disruptors Work
One of the most common natural hormone disruptors is soy. Soy molecules resemble estrogen closely enough that a cellular receptor can be confused into thinking that it received a legitimate estrogen signal.
In response, levels of estrogen will fluctuate and the body will slowly start to produce more feminine traits, such as wider hips and fuller breasts. In young girls, this can lead to early puberty. This can also occur in males, who will then start developing more feminine physical traits. Too much estrogen can be especially dangerous as high estrogen levels are a high risk factor of breast cancer.
However, not all soy and soy products are equal and there are several factors which can influence how it affects the human body including ethnicity, age, health status, existing hormone levels, the presence or absence of specific gut microflora, and the type of soy.
Other estrogen level disruptors will have the opposite effect. They will mimic estrogen closely enough to fool the receptors, but will send a weaker signal. The body will react, but not effectively. This can result in things like delayed puberty in young girls.
And this is a double-whammy effect. Not only does the estrogen disruptor produce a less effective reaction, it also blocks the cellular receptor. That means that if a legitimate estrogen hormone makes its way to the cell, it would be unable to communicate with it.
Read Also: Chinese Herbs For Hormonal Acne
Make Eating Into A Mindful Practice
What you eat is just as important as when and how you eat.
In order to maintain whats known as balanced blood sugar which means youre keeping your blood sugar in a rather straight line versus having big spikes and dips throughout the day you should be eating every three to four hours.
Please dont wait until youre starving, have the shakes, feel like youll throw up, or faint. In addition, follow these rules at mealtime. Slooowww it down, girlfriend.
Sit down while eating , chew your food 20 to 30 times , and focus on something positive while eating. When youre stressed out, your gut cant easily absorb the nutrients youre consuming, so it doesnt matter how much broccoli you eat!
Consider How Caffeine Is Affecting You
When I talk to most women about caffeine, I usually hear something like, Ill do anything you want me to, but dont make me give up coffee.
I get it. Life is nuts, and most of us need to mainline caffeine just to get by. As I said above, though, this could be really problematic, especially if you experience anxiety on the regular, feel like you cant get out of bed in the morning, have energy crashes in the day, or have trouble falling asleep at night.
If youre not ready to ditch the joe, then just observe how you feel 30, 60, and 120 minutes after youve had coffee. If youre wanting to call it quits, ease into it with half decaf and half regular, replace a cup a day with decaf, or experiment with matcha.
Life is full-on for so many of us these days, which is why I hope that you have a clearer picture of what a hormone imbalance actually looks like and how to start to reverse it. Hormones exist in a hierarchy, so its important to take a top down approach to addressing problems that arise from a hormone imbalance.
Hormones are also talking to each other all day long, so once you work on one hormone, the rest will start to fall in line. Thats the beauty of hormones. Theyre working together to support you, always.
You May Like: Hormones And Weight Loss Meridian
What Kinds Of Hormone Imbalance Are There
There are about 50 different hormones in the body, and as a consequence, a plethora of different hormone imbalances a patient can suffer from. These include diabetes, hypothyroidism , hyperthyroidism , and Addison’s disease.
Dr Simon Aylwin, consultant endocrinologistat London Bridge Hospital , says: “The most common disorders include: menstrual disturbance due to polycystic ovary syndrome , which leads to infrequent periods, unwanted hair growth and acne underactive thyroid causing a general slowdown in a lot of body functions, and tiredness, brain fog and weight gain an overactive thyroid causing weight loss, irritability and palpitations and low testosterone in males, leading to reduced sexual interest and lack of drive and energy.”
The symptoms that lead to a referral vary widely depending on age and gender. Depending on the hormone imbalance, a patient may experience a combination of different symptoms, including but not limited to: tiredness insomnia sensitivity to cold constipation or diarrhoea increased or decreased appetite depression mood swings or behavioural changes muscle weakness hair loss irregular periods a fast heartbeat fatigue stunted growth vaginal dryness sexual dysfunction insomnia weight loss or weight gain anxiety craving salt or sugar and abnormal blood pressure.
Common signs of a hormonal imbalance