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How To Measure Hormone Levels

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Men And Estrogen: What You Need To Know

How To Test Estrogen Levels

Estrogen is known primarily as a female hormone that helps regulate menstrual cycles, yet the hormone plays a bigger role in mens health than most people realize. Men produce small amounts of estrogen as part of their normal functioning male reproductive system, along with the male hormone testosterone. As they age, less testosterone is produced.

Yet questions are beginning to emerge as to what specific part estrogen plays in male development, especially as a man ages. Once largely ignored, estrogen levels in men are now under the microscope as researchers are trying to determine this hormone’s role in men and how it affects the body’s different hormone levels.

A decrease in estrogen, for example, may be a factor in fat accumulation in men as well as women. One endocrinologist at Harvard Medical School reported in a 2013 study that some of the symptoms of testosterone deficiency in males, including a decline in libido, were at least partially caused by lower estrogen production.

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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Estrogen Testing In Men

Men also have estrogen, although their levels are usually lower than they are in women. Estrogen levels that are too low or too high in men can lead to health problems.

A man might have an estrogen test to:

  • Check if puberty is delayed
  • Diagnose enlarged male breasts, a condition with doctors call gynecomastia
  • Find if high estrogen levels are due to low levels of testosterone or androgen –two key hormones in men
  • Find tumors that make estrogen

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Testing Your Balance With A Hormone Imbalance Test

If you feel as though your mood is topsy-turvy and unpredictable or your energy is in a slump, you might be experiencing one of the signs of hormone imbalance and a hormone imbalance test may be in your best interest. Testing for a hormone imbalance is one of the most effective ways of properly diagnosing both hormone imbalances in women as well as hormone imbalances in men so that you can get your life, your mood, and your way of functioning back in balance.

The most common hormone imbalances include:

  • Estrogen deficiency or excess
  • DHEA deficiency or excess
  • Hydrocortisone excess or deficiency

Your symptoms will actually help determine the type of hormone imbalance test that will be most effective and accurate. Believe it or not, there are several methods of conducting a hormone imbalance test. Some test the saliva, while others require urine or blood samples. Age, gender, race, symptoms, and even the state of your general health factor into which type of testing may be right for you, so its important to get professional guidance before you make the call on your own.

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

Measuring Testosterone Levels at Home

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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Which Female Hormone Level Test Is Most Cost Effective

The answer to this question will depend on the individual lab, with factors as diverse as the local need for testing, the existing infrastructure, and whether public or private funding is available. However, it should also be remembered that we are looking at a bigger picture here: the start of a journey towards female hormone level balance at a significant point in a womans life, whether she is suffering from debilitating menstrual problems, is trying to conceive a much-wanted child, or to ride out a tough menopause. Hence, the cost of a hormone test at this time is likely to be overtaken rapidly by far more expensive consultations and follow-up treatments, such as in vitro fertilization or hormone replacement therapy .

Having said that, manual ELISA assays will always be the most economically viable, over automated ELISA, and ELISA will be cheaper than LC-MS/MS. A small community start-up lab could very easily set themselves up by simply buying female hormone saliva ELISA tests, together with a suitable plate reader, provided that the saliva sample collection methods are standardized, validated, and calibrated with other labs using similar assays.

Whole saliva testing is also likely to be more economical than blood-based testing, at least in terms of the initial sample collection, since there is no need for phlebotomist expertise, although staff training in sample collection and assay is desirable, to eliminate as many variables as possible .

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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A Comparison Of Female Hormone Test Methods

Looking over the female hormone test list and deciding which one is right for you can be complicated and confusing. While its best to work with a medical practitioner who is knowledgeable in the various hormone testing methods, this table can help direct you on where to start.

Test Method

Keep in mind that there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to assessing your hormone levels, and this female hormone test list is meant to help guide your decision not determine it.

How Are Hormones Measured A Journey In Endocrinology

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Hormones have been measured by immunoassay for more than four decades, since Berson and Yalow discovered that antibodies could be used as diagnostic agents. They were awarded a Nobel Prize and, altruistically, did not patent their findings.

However, the story of hormone assays begins earlier, with a variety of in vivo biological tests. Subsequently, colourimetric assays were discovered and used to good effect, particularly for cortisol. Since 1970, immunoassays have become increasingly routine and, after a period of dominance within the clinical laboratory, it is only now after a further 40 years that a new technology, tandem mass spectrometry , is starting to emerge as the method of choice.

‘I remember being regaled with tales of a colleague being flung skyward at the university farm by an angry ram who was in no mood to donate his blood to science.’

‘The scaling down of mass spectrometers from the size of a double bedroom to a desk top instrument has permitted the introduction of this technology to the clinical laboratory.’

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How Is A Saliva Hormone Test Performed

Saliva tests for hormone levels are non-invasive and stress-free. A patient simply spits into a sterile test tube which is sent to a lab for analysis. Saliva sampling must be done correctly, but todays collection devices make it easy. Patients will collect samples at multiple intervals during the day to establish an accurate baseline and measure changes in hormones throughout the day.

What Day Should Estrogen Levels Be Checked

When evaluating female estrogen levels, day 3 is when estradiol, along with follicle stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone blood tests will be performed. Testing at the beginning of the cycle, along with FSH can help us understand brain-ovarian communication. Measuring FSH and LH is important to assess how the brain is talking to the ovaries.

When Should FSH Levels Be Checked?For fertility or evaluating ovarian reserve, FSH is tested on day 3 of your cycle. If you cannot have lab testing done, most providers are fine testing between days 2-4. Testing on or around day 3 of your cycle can be helpful in evaluating PCOS diagnosis as well. Note, this test alone will not diagnose PCOS. FSH and LH can help us understand how the brain is talking to the ovaries and the hormones can help us know how the ovaries respond to that message.

Why Test Estradiol?During your reproductive years, estradiol or E2 is the predominant form of estrogen. As we transition into menopause, estrone or E1 becomes the most common circulating estrogen. This is important to understand because depending on the phase of life you are in, your estrogen levels and the type of estrogen will vary. If you are in a phase of life where you should be having periods, you need to check estradiol.

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Testing For A Hormonal Imbalance

Although a hormone imbalance may bring some obvious symptoms, thatâs not always the case. For example, it can be challenging for someone to decipher whether the depression theyâre experiencing is related to a life event or if itâs instead because of hormone levels that are affecting their mental health. Thatâs why consulting with a healthcare provider is a good idea any time you arenât sure whatâs going on with your health.

Hormone testing may also be worth considering if youâre curious to learn whether you have a hormonal imbalance. Everlywell makes testing your hormones easy with at-home test kits that come with everything you need for collecting your sample and sending it to a lab . Plus, you can view your results on our secure, online platform in an easy-to-understand format. This can be a simpleâbut powerfulâway to see if hormones are balanced in your body and learn your personal levels.

As an example, consider a Womenâs Health Test to check for a hormonal imbalance in women.

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When To Test Progesterone

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Progesterone levels are highest 5-7 days following ovulation, which is within our luteal phase . This is why testing is recommended days 19-22 of a 28 day cycle.

Even though were commonly told women ovulate like clockwork on day 14 of their cycle, unfortunately, this isnt always the case. Its a great idea to track your basal body temperature and evaluate your cervical mucus to get an idea of when and if you are ovulating. Or you can use over-the-counter LH strips which can help you dial in the day you ovulate. Basically, when you ovulate, your body temperature rises and your vaginal discharge becomes the consistency of stretchy egg whites. If you keep an eye on these changes to your body, theres a pretty good chance you can approximate when youre ovulating.

For a lot of women, this will mean they should test for progesterone between days 19-22 of their cycle. Again, this recommendation could change if youre not ovulating day 14 of your cycle which is actually pretty common, or if your typical cycle is shorter or longer than 28 days. Track your cycle for a few months before and talk to your doctor so that they can tell you the best day to test progesterone. If you feel confused, talk to the provider ordering your test.

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What Is An Estrogen Test

An estrogen test is a way for your doctor to help check on concerns with puberty, fertility, menopause, and other conditions.

Your doctor may also call these estradiol, estrone , estradiol , estriol , or estrogenic hormone tests.

Estrogen is the hormone that plays a key role in many aspects of a womanâs health, such as bone and reproductive health. There are several forms of estrogen?

If your doctor needs to check to see if you might have a condition caused by too much or too little of a certain estrogen type, they may recommend that you take an estrogen test. Itâs a simple blood test, and it can measure up to three types of this estrogen:

  • Estrone, or E1, the main hormone women make after menopause
  • Estradiol, or E2, the main hormone women make when they arenât pregnant
  • Estriol, or E3, a hormone women make more of when theyâre pregnant

Why Cortisol Testing Is Important

Cortisol testing is important because that system does not always function in the normal, healthy manner outlined above. Sometimes cortisone levels can stay too high for too long, which can have far-reaching effects on your health, such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Problems with memory and/or concentration

Issues That Can Cause Abnormally High Cortisol Levels include:

1- Chronic stress: The bodys natural fight-or-flight stress response system is set up to manage short-term stress situations. Stress in todays world is often a longer-term health issue. Rather than being stressed by a sudden encounter with a predator, a situation that can be resolved quickly by running away, we are more likely to face ongoing problems that cause stress, like job pressures, for instance, or financial ones. This can cause long-term activation of the stress response system, leading to chronically high levels of cortisol.

2- Problems with the pituitary gland: Tumors on the pituitary gland or excess growth of the gland can cause it to release too much ACTH, increasing cortisol levels.

3- Problems with adrenal glands: Tumors on the adrenal glands can cause overproduction of cortisol.

4- Other tumors: Growths in other areas of the body can increase cortisol production.

5- Medications: Overuse of corticosteroid medications or long-term use of them can lead to abnormally high cortisol levels.

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How Do Hormone Tests Work

The simplicity of at-home hormone tests makes them an easy, effective option. After ordering your test, a box will arrive with thorough instructions to collect testing samples.

Depending on the test selected, youll be asked to take a urine sample or blood sample using a finger pricking tool.

Once you finish your test, youll ship your results to a lab for review. Results are typically provided online between 2 and 5 business days after the samples reach the lab.

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.

Last updated on by Alisa Vitti

Remember: no result received is static, the diagnosis you get can and will change with the right kind of treatment.

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How Does A Hormone Balance Test Work

Hormone levels are typically measured through small samples of blood, urine, and/or saliva. Depending on what symptoms you experience, these samples will be evaluated by a lab to measure a variety of hormones, including:

The lab results will show a snapshot of your current hormone levels at the time the samples were taken. Many of these hormones fluctuate over the course of a day, or throughout the month, so you may need to fast prior to testing, get tested at certain points in your menstrual cycle, and/or get multiple tests to get an accurate picture of your hormonal health.

Saliva Testing Starting Point

Saliva-based diagnostics are revolutionizing the field of personalized medicine, since they can be used to evaluate many different physiological conditions. This includes tracing the progression of disease, and monitoring the efficacy of therapies, as well as measuring female hormones.1

Once you are satisfied that you can obtain equivalent results from saliva and blood, you also need to be sure that your assay technology is scientifically credible as a basis for consultation and treatment, and that your tests will be economically viable enough to warrant investment, even in the absence of routine public healthcare or insurance coverage.

As a service provider you may also be keen to become part of an infrastructure that contributes towards the universal standardization of saliva testing, as it moves into the mainstream.

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