Friday, December 9, 2022

How To Find Out Hormone Levels

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Possible Causes Of Abnormally Low Cortisol Levels

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Addisons disease

Also called primary adrenal insufficiency, this is a condition that occurs when the adrenal glands are damaged and become unable to produce enough cortisol and/or other stress hormones. This is most often caused by auto-immune activity, where the immune system attacks the bodys own tissues. Other potential causes include long-term use of steroid medications, certain blood thinners, tumors and infections.

Problems with the pituitary gland

Low cortisol levels can be caused by the pituitary gland failing to release enough ACTH. This latter is important to trigger adequate amounts of cortisol to be released from the adrenal glands. This is typically referred to as secondary adrenal insufficiency, or hypopituitarism and, can be caused by trauma to the pituitary gland, brain tumors, pituitary gland tumors, stroke, autoimmune diseases and tuberculosis, among many other possible causes.

What Are The Most Common Endocrine Disorders

There are many different types of endocrine disorders. Many of the most common disorders relate to improper functioning of the pancreas, thyroid, adrenal and pituitary glands. In the United States, the most common endocrine disorder is diabetes. More than 29 million Americans have diabetes, but nearly one-third are unaware that they have it.

Other endocrine disorders include:

  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Advice Before Doing This Test

If you’re on hormonal contraception

Your results will only show what your hormone levels are from hormonal contraception the insights might be less useful. This includes the oral contraceptive pill, implant, ring, injection, and hormone replacement therapy .

If you just stopped hormonal contraception

Wait 3 months before doing this test this allows time for your natural cycle to return. If you were using the contraceptive injection, we recommended waiting a year.

If you use an oestrogen or testosterone cream/gel

If you use a topical oestrogen-containing or testosterone-containing cream or gel, always use a glove when applying it. Contact with your fingers could affect your finger-prick oestrogen or testosterone result.

If you’re breastfeeding

Breastfeeding can affect your hormone levels which can make it difficult to accurately interpret your results. We recommend waiting until you’ve stopped breastfeeding before doing this test.

If you’re pregnant

Dont do this test if you’re pregnant as we won’t be able to interpret your results.

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What Causes Brain Fog

“Brain fog” is a common complaint even though this is not a true medical term. It is a commonly reported symptom with many potential underlying causes. Women in perimenopause and after menopause report more memory complaints and difficulty concentrating than premenopausal women. Declining estrogen levels may be to blame, but other factors may play a role. Perimenopausal and post-menopausal women often have trouble sleeping and experience hot flashes and increased depression. These, in turn, may contribute to brain fog. Thyroid disease is another common cause of brain fog. See your doctor if you are experiencing brain fog so you can find out and treat the root cause. If declining estrogen levels are to blame, hormone therapy may offer some relief and restore hormonal balance.

How To Test Your Hormone Health

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If you are concerned about your hormone health, you can have your hormone levels tested in the following ways:

  • Saliva testing: Saliva testing measures your bodys hormones levels at the cellular level. A saliva test can measure your estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, cortisol and DHEA levels. When you provide and test multiple samples over time, your healthcare provider can formulate charting changes in hormones with saliva testing.
  • Blood testing: This type of hormone test requires that your blood is collected at a lab and then measured for hormone levels. A blood test can measure free and total hormone levels, which saliva and urine testing cannot do.
  • Urine testing: A urine hormone test requires that you collect every drop of urine for a 24-hour period. Then your urine is tested to identify each hormone that is present and at what levels on that particular day. This is the most extensive hormone health test because it measures your hormone levels throughout the entire day, instead of the levels for a moment in time, which is the case for blood and saliva tests.
  • Follicle-stimulating hormone testing: This type of test is commonly used to measure the hormonal status of premenopausal women who are beginning to experience symptoms of menopause.

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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.

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.

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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.

Biohack Your Way To Better Sleep

Women’s Health Questions : How to Reduce Estrogen Levels

When life is busy, often the first thing we sacrifice is sleep. Sleep or rather inadequate sleep quickly throws our body off balance. This is why its one of the first things our doctors ask about when patients come in for their initial visit. In a small study testing the impact of prolonged sleep restriction, participants that slept only 4 hours versus 10 or 12 hours experienced an increase in ghrelin, a hormone responsible for appetite regulation, alongside a decrease in leptin, a hormone responsible for communicating satiation. For many of us, 10 or 12 hours might be hard to achieve. Thats why here at Parsley we recommend getting at least 8 hours of sleep per night. The benefits of adequate sleep will not only increase your glucose metabolism and leptin concentrations but increase your bodys secretion of growth hormones responsible for cell reproduction and regeneration, which all take place during periods of rest.

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Why Do You Usually Recommend The Test To Be Done On Day 3

Hormones varying during menstrual cycle, therefore traditionally advice is to take day the sample on day 3. However, if it is not possible to take your sample at this time, as there are ranges for different phases of cycle, then day 3 sample is not an absolute requirement. If your sample is taken at another point in your cycle your results range will be adjusted accordingly.

Which Test Should I Choose

i-screen offers a number of hormone tests, and it can be confusing to decide which test is right for you.

If your blood tests or saliva tests do reveal that you have a hormone imbalance, then our team of qualified doctors can recommend how you can take steps to improve your health and wellbeing.

If you need further guidance on which test is right for you, then contact us and one of our medical professionals will be in touch to work through your symptoms.

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How To Get Back Into Hormonal Balance

If you have been taking birth control pills for many years, it can take several months to rebalance your natural hormone levels. This is due to the chronic suppression of your own hormone production. It is often helpful to supplement hormones during this recovery period.

If you must stay on the pill for any particular reason, consider asking your physician about using natural progesterone and/or testosterone to improve quality of life issues while taking the pill.

At Amen Clinics, we can help determine if hormonal imbalances are contributing to your depression, anxiety, brain fog, fatigue, and other issues. Our Integrative Medicine physicians combine conventional medicine with complementary and alternative therapies to provide the least toxic, most effective solutions for your needs.

At Amen Clinics, were here for you. We offer in-clinic brain scanning and appointments, as well as mental telehealth, remote clinical evaluations, and video therapy for adults, children, and couples. Find out more by speaking to a specialist today at 888-288-9834 or visit our contact page here.

Why Does Your Estrogen Level Matter

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Estrogen is a hormone. Although present in the body in small amounts, hormones have big roles in maintaining your health.

Estrogen is commonly associated with the female body. Men also produce estrogen, but women produce it in higher levels.

The hormone estrogen:

  • is responsible for the sexual development of girls when they reach puberty
  • controls the growth of the uterine lining during the menstrual cycle and at the beginning of a pregnancy
  • causes breast changes in teenagers and women who are pregnant
  • is involved in bone and cholesterol metabolism
  • regulates food intake, body weight, glucose metabolism, and insulin sensitivity

Girls who havent reached puberty and women approaching menopause are most likely to experience low estrogen. Still, women of all ages can develop low estrogen.

Common symptoms of low estrogen include:

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Are You Ready To Stop Taking Birth Control Pills

Going off the pill isnt necessarily a quick-fix solution. Some women experience a rash of symptomsincluding mood swings, anxiety, and depressionin the months following cessation of hormonal birth control. Some hormonal experts have started calling this effect post-birth control syndrome.

In addition, its important to remember that if you started taking the pill because you were experiencing irregular periods, bad cramping, or other symptoms, the pill doesnt actually address those issues. It only masks the problem. When you stop taking oral contraceptives, that original issue may return with a vengeance.

If you were experiencing menstrual Irregularities, take note that taking natural progesterone can be quite effective for some womenwithout any of the side effects of synthetic progestin in hormonal contraceptives. If youre concerned about pregnancy, there are other non-synthetic, non-hormonal birth control options available that you can discuss with an integrative physician.

How Do Testosterone And Estrogen Differ

Testosterone, the key hormone in men, is the chief regulator of muscle tone and lean body mass, or the very essence of what gives a man his masculine appearance. A normal level of testosterone is a broad term, making deficiencies difficult to detect. The hormone is produced by the adrenal glands and testicles, with levels highest in the mornings and decreasing throughout the day.

Testosterone also regulates a mans sex drive. Lack of sexual desire and performance, often associated with low levels of testosterone, or low T, is a common complaint from men as they age and hormone levels drop. Sex drive and performance, however, require the presence of both estrogen and testosterone.

Estrogen, by contrast, is the hormone responsible for sexual and reproductive development in women and is also referred to as the female sex hormone. Estrogen is really a group of hormones that includes estrone, estradiol and estriol. Estrogen is produced in the ovaries but also by fat cells and the adrenal gland.

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Hormonal Imbalance In Women

Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance

Bloating, fatigue, irritability, hair loss, palpitations, mood swings, problems with blood sugar, trouble concentrating, infertility — these are just a few symptoms of hormone imbalance. These compounds affect every cell and system in the body. Hormone imbalance can debilitate you. Some hormonal shifts are normal, like monthly fluctuations of sex hormones responsible for menstruation and ovulation or the changes that occur during pregnancy. Menopause is another time for a normal hormonal shift in a woman’s life. Many women may experience weight gain, mood swings, night sweats, and diminished sex drive during this time. Other times these fluctuations may be due to a medication or a medical condition.

Balance Your Cortisol

Cortisol is an important hormone that may become imbalanced with stress or illness. Cortisol is secreted by the adrenal glands that lie on top of the kidneys. Low intensity exercise can help lower elevated cortisol levels. Stress impacts adrenal function and hormone levels. Get acquainted with hormone imbalance symptoms and signs so you can notice when things in your body and mind don’t seem right.

If Initial Testing Shows That A Woman Has A Hormonal Imbalance Will Additional Tests Be Necessary

Do I Need Hormone Testing?

If a woman has a hormonal imbalance, she may need to get her hormone levels checked every six months to one year to ensure the treatment is working. Following the diagnosis of a hormonal imbalance, a woman may also need additional hormone tests to determine if the imbalance is causing other problems. For example, if a woman has an abnormal level of TSH in her blood, her doctor is likely to order T3 and T4 hormone tests to determine why the TSH level is abnormal.

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Additional Tips On Menopause And Hormone Levels

If you belong to the category of women who like to prepare in advance, and take care of health to provide comfortable living even in the 60s and 70s, you might find helpful the next tips on controlling the levels. Note, these are basic recommendations, a previous consultation with a doctor is a must.

  • Take vitamins. Calcium and Vitamin D will save your bones from injuries. Whenever hormone levels during menopause start fluctuating, the overall health deteriorates, and there is a big risk of breaking a bone. So, vitamins and menopause supplements will give another support
  • Medical examinations. Some women think that if there is no menstruation, so there is no point to go to the gynecologist. On the contrary, your visits should become regular. With age, ladies are more predisposed to diseases. So, for example, they can find out about the development of malignant tumors and save precious time on treatment. Note, hormone levels in menopause changes are normal but they may lead to negative consequences
  • Exercise. No need to go crazy over the gym or CrossFit for weight loss. Aerobics and swimming can become your best friends whenever hormone levels after menopause provoke hot flashes or sleep disturbances. Once you spent an hour on swimming, there are fewer chances your body will not be able to fall asleep
  • Beware of osteoporosis. This is a common disease during the climax. Ladies may lack calcium, and after that, this silent killer will lead to fatal consequences

Natural Remedies And Lifestyle Changes That Can Help A Hormone Imbalance

If you take the holistic route bio-identical hormones are best and work quickest, says Dr. Eccles. Bio-identical hormones are described by Harvard Medical School as hormones made from a plant chemical extracted from yams and soy identical in molecular structure to the hormones women make in their bodies.

Like HRT, bio-identical hormones come in the form of drugs, such as tablets, and creams and gels that a doctor will prescribe a combination of. This form of treatment should always be monitored by a skilled doctor to get the hormone levels right for each individual, as well as testing to monitor treatment levels, advises Dr. Eccles.

While many women have reported positive results from using natural products natural doesnt necessarily mean safe, and some over-the-counter complementary remedies such as St. Johns Wort can negatively interact with certain medicines. The NHS doesnt offer or recommend bio-identical hormone therapy so its a personal choice. If you choose to go ahead with natural alternatives to HRT find an established practitioner who will be able to provide tailor-made doses.

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When To Test Cortisol

We cant always get a full picture of whats going on with your hormones without looking at the adrenals, which produce the stress hormone cortisol.

Cortisol is involved in your stress response, hair loss, blood sugar regulation and more. In time of stress, the body will shift into preferentially making cortisol over progesterone. Read more about the importance of cortisol here.

Cortisol blood tests are best performed in the morning, along with Adrenocorticotropic hormone , because this is when levels are highest. ACTH is produced in the pituitary gland and helps your adrenals to function. For a more comprehensive picture of adrenal function, a 4-point salivary or urinary cortisol is best. Cortisol can be tested at any time of the month.

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Who Gets An Estrogen Test

High Hormone Levels Causes

Doctors may recommend testing of estradiol or estrone for symptoms such as:

If you take hormone therapy to treat symptoms of menopause, your doctor may give you an E1 or E2 test to see how well treatment is going.

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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