Blood Tests For Hormone Levels In Menopause
For many women, working out whether or not youre in perimenopause or menopause can feel like a bit of a guessing game, especially if you are taking hormonal contraception, which can mask or cause one of the key signs of perimenopause and menopause your periods becoming irregular or absent. One option for women looking to understand where they are in their menopause journey is the use of a hormonal blood test, which can take a measure of your hormone levels to determine if you are in menopause. Hormonal blood tests work by measuring your hormone levels to work out whether or not you are menopausal. Menopause specialist, Dr Kate Burns, explains everything you need to know about blood tests, including how they work, when you should use them, how to read menopause blood test results, and how they can help.
The Pill And Your Thyroid
Its important to note that the pillâs role in elevating TBG, Sex Hormone Binding Globulin & Cortisol Binding Globulin is well recognized. In fact, it is how researchers can verify who is & isnât actually taking the pill in clinical trials.
Itâs also listed in prescriber handbooks as a change we expect to see in labs. When TBG goes up, total thyroid hormone levels go up and free thyroid levels can go down.
Now, if you thought that total thyroid hormone was what the body utilized & that is all you measured then you might think, thyroid function is improved on birth control. However, FREE thyroid hormone is what you use, and not bound thyroid hormone .
This is why I test thyroid hormones in my patients before they start the pill and we continue to monitor symptoms & labs to ensure it is working best for them. Yes, some of my patients decide to use the pill for birth control or other reasons and I support them in doing that.
From the research, it appears progesterone, progestin, & topical estrogen do NOT elevate TBG. It is oral estrogen that influences the increase in binding proteins.
If you want a deep dive into the Birth Control-Thyroid Connection, then you can read all about it in this article.
What Is It Used For
If you take prescription thyroid hormone medicine because of hypothyroidism or because you had your thyroid removed, you’ll have regular TSH tests to check your thyroid hormone levels. TSH tests are also used to monitor your thyroid hormone levels after treatment for hyperthyroidism.
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How Is It Used
Estrogen tests are used to detect a deficiency or excess in a woman and to help diagnose a variety of conditions associated with this imbalance. They may also be used to help determine the timing of a woman’s ovulation and may be ordered to monitor the health status of the developing baby and placenta during pregnancy. In a man, estrogen testing may be performed to detect a hormone excess and its cause.
Estrogen tests measure one of three components: estrone , estradiol , or estriol . These tests each have different uses.
In Girls and Women
Estradiol and/or estrone testing may be ordered to:
In Boys and Men
- Help diagnose delayed puberty
In Boys and Men
Everlywell Womens Health Test
The Everlywell womens health test measures levels of 10 key hormones in your body, including total testosterone, thyroid-stimulating hormone, free T3, free T4, cortisol, DHEAS, luteinizing hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone, progesterone, and estradiol. It also checks for thyroid peroxidase antibodies, which can interfere with the function of your thyroid gland.
When youre ready to check out, youll be able to pay for your at-home hormone test with a credit or debit card, HSA or FSA account, or PayPal. Your kit comes with everything you need to collect blood and saliva samples and send them to the lab for processing. Everlywell also offers free shipping both ways to help keep your testing costs low.
Everlywell uses CLIA-certified laboratories to ensure the accuracy of your results. Once your sample arrives at the lab, you can expect to receive the results via email in no more than five business days. Physician support is included in the price of the kit to ensure you can ask questions and find out if theres anything you need to do to follow up on results that fall outside of normal ranges. Everlywell doesnt accept insurance, but you dont need to see a doctor before you order a hormone test kit, so home testing can still help you save money.
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What Is A Tsh Test
The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland in the front of your neck. Your thyroid makes hormones that control how your body uses energy. Thyroid hormones affect nearly every organ in your body, including your heart. They help control your weight, body temperature, muscle strength, and even your mood. If you don’t have enough thyroid hormones in your blood, many of your body functions slow down. If you have too much, many body functions speed up.
Your thyroid is controlled by a gland in your brain, called the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland makes thyroid stimulating hormone . TSH tells your thyroid how much thyroid hormone it needs to make.
If the thyroid hormone levels in your blood are too low, your pituitary gland makes larger amounts of TSH to tell your thyroid to work harder. If your thyroid hormone levels are too high, the pituitary gland makes little or no TSH. By measuring TSH levels in your blood, you can find out if your thyroid is making the right level of hormones.
Other names: thyrotropin test
Which Hormones Should You Get Tested
If you suspect that you are experiencing a hormonal imbalance or the unwanted effects of age-related hormone fluctuation, it is a good idea to begin recording your symptoms on a daily basis. This record can be an important tool when you speak to a hormone specialist and begin the journey of diagnosis and treatment. Although noticeable symptoms are not the complete picture, it is a good place to start and can help you to better understand your health goals.
While you may have a good idea of what you would like to be tested for, the guidance of an experienced practitioner is essential to determine which hormones to test for and which types of hormone tests will be best to ensure accurate diagnosis and facilitate treatment planning This chart can help you quickly understand your testing options based on the specific hormones being assessed:
When seeking out a practitioner, look for these qualities:
- Specializes in hormone health and HRT
- Has completed extensive specialized training
- Has access to wide resources for testing and treatment options
- Provides individual attention and cares about your goals
With the right hormone health practitioner to guide you forward, you can find meaningful symptom relief and find your way back to your best, most vital self.
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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 you believe you have a sex hormone imbalance, then i-screens Female Hormone Check can verify this
- If you think your thyroid may be to blame, then a Thyroid Check or Advanced Thyroid Check is a good place to start
- Or if cortisol could be the problem, then i-screens Adrenal Fatigue Check can provide further insight
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.
Signs Of Hormone Imbalance In Women
So often we attribute our body’s changes incorrectly. As women progress through life, the body responds differently, and it plays out in a number of ways.
1- Estrogen Imbalance
Estrogen is made by your ovaries, your adrenal glands, and to a much lesser extent, by your fat cells. It has many functions, including:
- Maintaining Bone Calcium
- Regulating HDL and LDL Cholesterol in Blood
- Helping Maintain Blood Sugar Levels
- Helping with Memory
- Balancing Emotions
Estrogen imbalance can cause numerous symptoms which will depend on whether you are experiencing an overabundance of the hormone or less of it. The causes and signs can be discerned, but they take a watchful eye. Too little estrogen is often caused by:
- Failed Pregnancy
3- Testosterone Imbalance
Testosterone is not just a male sex hormone. Women also have lesser amounts of this hormone. It is produced by your ovaries and adrenal glands. Testosterone has the important function of aiding you by protecting you against developing osteoporosis. It has many other effects on your health, including sex drive, mood, energy levels and body fat percentage.
If you have too much testosterone in your body, such as when you have a condition called polycystic ovary syndrome, you could experience:
- Irregular Periods
- Increased Body or Facial Hair
Too little testosterone often occurs during menopause and can lower your sex drive, cause depression, weakness of your muscles and fatigue.
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What Should I Expect From My Female Hormone Panel
The Female Hormone Panel gives detailed information on the levels currently present in a womans body, which can be useful in determining whether hormone replacement therapy is an option, or if an ongoing therapy has been effective. Some tests also provide a comprehensive view of the overall health of a patient to provide greater insight into the cause of symptoms possibly linked to menopause, infertility or other female conditions.
Questions about online blood testing or how to order a lab test?
What Happens During An Estrogen Test
Estrogens can be tested in blood, urine, or saliva. Blood or urine is usually tested in doctor’s 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 provider’s 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.
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
Why Does Your Estrogen Level Matter
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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Possible Causes Of Abnormally Low Cortisol Levels
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.
Testing + Symptoms = Diagnosis
This time is a period of great fluctuation, both in terms of your symptoms and in terms of your lab tests and hormones.
Your hormones and prohormones may fluctuate wildly during this time which means that checking just one time may not necessarily be accurate.
As a woman is going through the menopause transition its not uncommon for her body to attempt to menstruate.
This attempted menstruation may cause small to large rises in hormone levels which may alter your symptoms.
Because of this, you dont want to rely heavily on one form of diagnostic tool over another.
Instead, its best to combine both your symptoms and use them in conjunction with your lab tests .
This is especially important if you are suffering from early menopause.
Women who suffer from early menopause may be pushed aside as having depression as opposed to true ovarian failure/menopause.
The good news is that it is easily testable and that you can be sure what is happening in your body with a couple of lab tests.
During menopause, we know that your estradiol levels and progesterone levels WILL fall dramatically.
When in doubt, make sure to ask your doctor for the lab tests listed above as they may help to explain what is happening in your body.
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When Does Perimenopause Happen
Perimenopause is defined as the 10 years prior to menopause, so most women in their 40s are in perimenopause. The 40s are characterized by a decrease in fertility, which is due to the decrease in hormone production.
This decline in fertility is the same reason for the increase in complaints of women in their 40s. We commonly hear about irritability, nervousness, depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance, belly fat, water retention and weight gain from female patients in their late 30s and 40s. These symptoms are usually from the declining production of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.
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.
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Men And Estrogen: What You Need To Know
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.