Hormonal Changes In The Menopause
Menopause causes a change in hormone levels, such as decreased levels of the hormones oestrogen and progesterone. On average, menopause usually occurs between 45 and 55 years of age.
Menopause is a natural change which all women will go through, but it can have a big impact on a womans sense of wellbeing. Symptoms of menopause include:
- Mood changes such as depression and anxiety
- Changes to your menstrual cycle
- Reduced sex drive
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What To Expect At The Endocrinologist
You typically will see an endocrinologist in an outpatient setting, since many of the problems they treat are chronic conditions that donât require surgery. Some endocrinologists also provide consultations in inpatient settings.
Often, your primary care doctor will refer you to an endocrinologist for a suspected hormone problem. When you first visit, the endocrinologist will ask you a series of questions to learn more about your symptoms, health habits, other medical conditions, medications, and family history of hormone-related problems. They will consult with your referring doctor and review your medical records.
Additionally, the endocrinologist will perform a physical exam, checking your pulse, heart rate, and blood pressure. They will assess your skin, hair, mouth, and teeth, as some hormone-related disorders can impact these areas. They may also order blood work or urinalysis, perform a biopsy, or order an ultrasound or imaging tests like computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging scans.
Once the endocrinologist has determined a diagnosis, they will work with you and your referring doctor on a treatment plan. Some people will continue to see the endocrinologist to help them manage chronic hormone-related conditions.
Youâll continue to see your family or primary care doctor for other issues. Others may only need to see endocrinologists for a short amount of time, with further follow-up care and symptom management provided by primary care doctors.
Can You Test Hormone Levels
Yes, you can. Hormone testing is routinely done these days and is available for all types of hormones that commonly become unbalanced, including women hormones, men hormones, thyroid hormones, cortisol and much more. Most hormone imbalance tests are blood tests that measure the level of certain hormones circulating in the blood stream, and in some cases, whether complimentary hormones estrogen and progesterone, for instance are present in the proper ratios to work together effectively.
- Hormone tests are commonly done for the following purposes:
- To diagnose hormonal imbalances
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Come Armed With Your Own Research
It never hurts to present a physician with your own research on the topic that concerns you. If youve done your homework, feel free to bring along books, studies or other materials on the subject.This can help start the conversation, letting your doctor know that youre informed and serious about getting answers. Another research step you can take is to complete a comprehensive hormonal profile test at home and take the results to your appointment.
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Hormone Replacement Therapy What Men Should Know
Many think of menopause and hormone replacement, as the period when women suffer of hot flashes. But it turns out that men, too, experience effects of fluctuating hormones. Some even reported symptoms that are very similar to those of women who are in the stages of pre and full-blown menopause.
It has long been debated whether such a condition actually exist and how it could be affecting men. All this debate led to labeling the whole hormonal changes in men period as low testosterone. Sometimes it is called male menopause. Most experts agree that it is the result of a gradual decline in hormones, including testosterone and DHEA, due primarily to aging. Typically, testosterone levels in men begin to decline between the ages of 25 and 50, with up to a 50 percent reduction by the time a male reaches his 60s. However, some men can witness a simultaneous spike in their estrogen hormone levels.
Why Do I Need An Estrogen Test
If you are female, you may need estrogen testing if you:
- Have early or delayed puberty
- Are childbearing age and have abnormal periods or no periods at all
- Are having trouble getting pregnant
- Have a high-risk pregnancy
- Have symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes and/or night sweats
- Use hormone replacement therapy after menopause
- Have vaginal bleeding after menopause
- Have a tumor that may be making estrogen
If you’re pregnant, you may have an estriol test between weeks 15 and 20 of your pregnancy. The test may be part of a group of prenatal tests called a triple screen test or a quad screening test. The test can check whether your baby has a high risk for a genetic birth defect such as Down syndrome. You may be more likely to have a baby with a birth defect if you:
- Have a family history of birth defects
- Are age 35 or older
If you are male, you may need estrogen testing if you have:
- Delayed puberty
- Enlarged breasts or other symptoms of too much estrogen
- Have a tumor that may be making estrogen
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Why Do Your Hormone Levels Matter
Hormone tests are commonly used in womens health to diagnose reproductive conditions, endocrine disorders, and fertility issues. However, hormonal imbalances can be implicated in a surprisingly wide array of conditions and symptoms, such as:
- Heavy, painful, or irregular menses
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Premenstrual syndrome
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
Unfortunately, hormonal imbalances can be easily missed by conventional testing methods, leaving many women at a loss about their symptoms. This is, in part, due to the vast fluctuations in female hormone levels throughout the month, and a lack of standardized reference ranges in laboratory testing .
However, many private laboratories are now moving away from single-point hormone testing to account for these fluctuations. Several companies are now offering alternatives to conventional testing methods, and are embracing the concept of cycle mapping.
Cycle mapping measures hormone levels at multiple points throughout the month for a more in-depth and comprehensive look at hormonal status . Several labs now measure for hormone metabolites as well, potentially providing more accurate test results to women who are currently on exogenous hormones, like oral contraceptives or hormone-replacement therapy .
More Information About Hormone Testing
Hormone levels change as you agesome change throughout the day. We use hormone testing to detect and evaluate hormone imbalances that may be making you sick. We often conduct hormone testing using a blood sample, but some tests require urine or saliva samples.
We frequently test levels of:
- Estrogen and testosterone
- Adrenal gland hormones, such as cortisol
- Growth hormone, prolactin and other pituitary gland hormones
- Thyroid hormones, such as thyroxine
Things Every Hormone Doctor Wants You To Know
Ah, hormones. Such an easy scapegoat. And for good reason: They can be responsible for everything from mysterious weight gain to hair loss to crazy hunger. When things get a little out of control in that department, an endocrinologist might be able to help you.
But before you make an appointment, read on to find out what they think you should know.Simply put, “we’re hormone doctors,” says Marilyn Tan, MD, an endocrinologist at Stanford Health Care. “The three most common diagnoses we make are thyroid problems, diabetes, and osteoporosis,” she says. Other common conditions they treat: menopause, hypertension, and infertility. And while endocrinology might be a specialty in itself, these docs sub-specialize. Some may focus on weight loss, others on thyroid abnormalities, some on diabetes or reproductive health. That means you should see the one that fits your health issue to get the most targeted treatment.
Your endocrinologist is likely to feel around the front of your neck to check for a nodule or lump, which could be indicative of an undiagnosed thyroid condition or potentially thyroid cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, there were nearly 62,500 new cases of thyroid cancer in 2015. You can also perform this check on yourself .
They want to hear about your hot flashes.hot flashes during menopauseJAMA Internal Medicine
When Should You Test For Perimenopause
Tests confirming that you are heading toward menopause are not necessarily needed or recommended for women over the age of 45. If you have been keeping track of your symptoms and have shared those with your doctor, a good determination can usually be made on this basis alone.
If you are younger than 45 and experiencing menopausal symptoms, hormonal blood tests can give you a pretty accurate picture of where you are in the transition process. If you are under 40 and experiencing menopausal symptoms, hormonal blood tests can also help doctors determine whether you have premature ovarian insufficiency or premature menopause, both of which might require special care.
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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.
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Hormonal Imbalance Saliva Test
Saliva tests can also be performed at home. This can be a highly effective way to test for such hormones as:
This can be a more specific test than other tests that can better identify the hormone levels at a cellular level. This is different from how the blood tests look at the hormones, which look at the number of hormones currently circulating in your blood system.
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Saliva Testing Vs Blood Testing For Hormone Levels: Which Is Better
Have you ever said in a moment of moodiness, I think my hormones are out of whack!?
Did you consider that you might be right on the money? Fatigue, weight gain, anxiety, moodiness these can all be signs of a hormonal imbalance. A simple blood or saliva test in a doctors office can check your hormone levels and find out if lows or highs are responsible for your ongoing health concerns. But which is more accurate? Blood testing or saliva testing?
Why Is Weight Loss Recommended For Women With Certain Hormonal Imbalances
In women with hormonal imbalances, excess weight can make the symptoms worse. Medical professionals recommend weight loss to help women control their symptoms and reduce their discomfort. For women with fertility problems, excess weight can also make it more difficult to conceive. Losing weight is recommended to give a woman the best possible chance of having a baby.
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At What Age Should You Test Your Hormones
I recommend a hormone test to measure your baseline labs around age 35-40. If you need help balancing your hormones but you never did a baseline hormone panel in your 40s, a knowledgeable doctor can make an educated guess. Some women find that their doctor is unwilling to order a full hormone panel for them. If this is the case for you, negotiate for a partial list. Alternatively, you can seek a functional medicine doctor here. Id suggest reading my book THE HORMONE CURE and consider running your first test on your own, such as from one of the direct-to-consumer testing organizations mentioned in my book.
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
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Is There Anything The Patient Needs To Do To Prepare For Having Tests Taken
The doctor will advise the patient on how to prepare, because it depends on the particular test. Most preparation is obvious once it is understood that hormones keep the body working and levels change to meet various demands such as fasting, eating, thirst, smoking, exercise, posture, time of day, stage of the menstrual cycle and medicines.
When Is Hormone Testing Helpful
Women with fertility issues. For women in this category, hormone panels are key, both as a diagnostic and a therapeutic tool. So many fertility problems can be traced to irregularities in the menstrual cycle, and your practitioner needs to understand whats wrong in order to give you the right support.
Women with ordinary symptoms of hormonal imbalance. Women often ask us: is there a test to tell whether Im in menopause? The short answer is no. Youre menopausal when you havent had a period for a year. Hormone tests are not required for this largest group of women. The symptom patterns are very individual, but the first line therapy is mostly the same: build a nutritional foundation, take the right basic supplements to restore balance, and make meaningful lifestyle changes.
Women with severe symptoms of hormonal imbalance. For women with debilitating or intractable symptoms, a hormone panel is essential. When dealing with PCOS, fibroids, diagnosed alopecia , and other more severe hormone issues, your practitioner simply cant treat you without knowing where your hormones are.
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Five Reasons To See An Endocrinologist
Although many people cant define exactly what an endocrinologist is or does, that professional may be the perfect doctor to treat the many symptoms and problems caused by hormonal imbalances.
Endocrinologists specialize in glands and the hormones they produce which affect important processes that control metabolism, blood pressure, cholesterol, hunger, thirst, body temperature and more. Hormone imbalances can impact your daily life, but an endocrinologist can help you manage the imbalances to improve your quality of life.
An endocrinologist can treat you for a variety of conditions, including the following:
What Diseases Does An Endocrinologist Treat
An endocrinologist treats diseases due to the imbalance of hormones in the body. The endocrine diseases may be either due to an increase or decrease in the production or secretion of hormones.
The most common diseases treated by an endocrinologist include:
- Diabetes mellitus type 1 and type 2
- Certain cancers of the endocrine glands
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What Happens During An Estrogen Test
Estrogens can be tested in blood, urine, or saliva. Blood or urine is usually tested in doctors office or lab. Saliva tests can be done at home.
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:
Your health care provider may ask you to collect all urine passed in a 24-hour period. This is called a 24-hour urine sample test. For this test, your health care provider or a laboratory professional will give you a container to collect your urine and instructions on how to collect and store your samples. A 24-hour urine sample test generally includes the following steps:
- Empty your bladder in the morning and flush that urine down. Do not collect this urine. Record the time.
- For the next 24 hours, save all your urine passed in the container provided.
- Store your urine container in the refrigerator or a cooler with ice.
- Return the sample container to your health providers office or the laboratory as instructed.
For an at-home saliva test, talk your health care provider. He or she can tell you which kit to use and how to prepare and collect your sample.
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