What Hormones Do We Want To Check Levels Of
The health and fitness world has been abuzz with talk about adrenal health and hormonal balance. This has left many of us looking for ways to get our hormones and adrenal levels checked out so we can address any issues that might be standing in the way of our goals. Great idea! In fact, I love this idea and offer the service to my online clients as well as my medical patients.
Many of you are probably looking for quick, easy, and affordable ways to get these levels checked out too. I want to make sure you spend your money wisely and get accurate results. So, were going to talk about the best methods of evaluation to check adrenal hormones and sex hormones like testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone. I’ll recommend some reputable companies, as well.
Preparing For Hormone Testing At Cedars
We explain the tests you need and answer any questions you may have.
Here’s 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 you’ll 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 what’s 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.
What Are The Signs Of Hormone Imbalance In Men
Many concerns surrounding a mans bodily changes can be answered by fluctuations in the male hormonal makeup. If changes are being identified, it may be a good idea to see whether there are any deficiencies or overabundance in the bodys chemistry.
1- Low Testosterone: This is also known as Low-T and is defined by the American Urology Association as testosterone in the blood accounting for less than 300ng/dL .
Signs of Low-T include:
- Hot Flashes
- Trouble Concentrating
2- Increased Estrogen: An increase in estrogen production in a mans body can cause a condition called gynecomastia. This is where you begin to develop breasts. Increased estrogen levels can also cause problems with your prostate organ that is in charge of producing one of the fluids that make up semen. Obesity can increase the production of estrogen in a mans body.
3- Low Cortisol/Adrenal Fatigue: Men suffering adrenal fatigue often have difficulty focusing mentally and are excessively tired.
4- Hyperthyroidism/Overactive Thyroid: Signs of high levels of thyroid hormone in your body include:
- Rapid Heart Rate
- Increased Sensitivity to cold
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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.
When To Test For Hormone Imbalance
So when do we want to test your estrogen and progesterone to best understand what the relative balance or imbalance is? Most of the time when there’s hormone imbalance going on, the women is premenopausal or perimenopausal. This would be from age 17-18 all the way up to say 50 or even 55. If you are still menstruating you are susceptible to the relative balance of estrogen and progesterone. Imbalance is more common closer to menopause though. When we check your estrogen and progesterone typically, we want to do this at the peak of the progesterone. We do that because low progesterone is often times part of the problem and causing the imbalance and other times it is high estrogen. To verify this you want to check the levels at a specific time of the month when the progesterone is peaking. For any female that is menstruating, we want to tested for estrogen and progesterone on cycle day 21 or close to it. If you have a shorter cycle that peak of progesterone may come a little bit earlier. If that is the case, you may want to do it on cycle day 19 or something close to day 21.
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Healthconfirm Hormone Vitality Complete+
HealthConfirm Hormone Vitality Complete+ measures your DHEA-S, cortisol, progesterone, testosterone, and estradiol levels. Checking these hormones can give you valuable information about your fertility status, whether youre getting close to menopause, or whether you might have a medical condition that needs treatment.
HealthConfirm uses saliva samples to check your hormone levels, so your kit will come with collection tubes and other supplies to ensure its easy to collect the right amount of saliva. The company also offers free shipping both ways, so theres no need to pay extra to send your samples to the laboratory.
When youre ready to check out on the HealthConfirm website, you can use a credit or debit card to pay for your order. To ensure test accuracy, HealthConfirm uses only CLIA-certified labs to process its hormone tests. The test kits have also been cleared by the FDA to ensure a high level of quality. You can access your results via a private online dashboard within a few days of mailing your sample. HealthConfirm includes physician support in the price of its hormone testing kits, ensuring that you have an opportunity to learn more about what the results mean for your health. HealthConfirm doesnt accept insurance.
Urine Test For Sex Hormones
This is my favorite way to test sex hormones using the DUTCH Hormone test and you can read my complete review of the DUTCH test where I discuss all of the different things it assesses besides the sex and adrenal hormones.
The advantage in urine testing is that it can assess the sex hormones plus how your body is metabolizing the hormones, this is important when you are assessing why the hormone levels may be out of balance. It also assesses the free hormones, this is what is available to the body and not just the total hormone level.
Another advantage of urine testing is that the test can be done at home without the need to go to a lab, this is convenient and saves time, urine testing is also great for people who dont like needles.
One of the disadvantages of urine testing is that it does not assess LH and FSH, so it cannot tell you what messages are being sent from the brain to the ovaries or testes. LH and FSH are important markers and if you do have major hormone issues I will often recommend that you get both blood and urine levels tested.
The DUTCH hormone test is the best way to assess the urine sex hormone levels, it also assesses adrenal function and this is important as adrenal hormone imbalance can be one of the main causes behind an imbalance in the sex hormones.
The DUTCH test also assesses markers for B12, B6, melatonin, neurotransmitters, and oxidative stress.
A comprehensive analysis of the sex hormones and the the metabolites
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What Companies Are Good To Use For Hormone Testing
Ive worked with several companies through the years and I can say there are some that are better than others when you are ordering cortisol testing and trying to find someone to order blood work for you. NeuroScience, ZRT Laboratory, and BioHealth Laboratory have four-point cortisol saliva test kits that enable the patient to get an idea of how they produce cortisol throughout the day. The kits are relatively easy to use and ship back to the company. Generally, its very easy for a patient to order the tests kits themselves or find a health care provider who can do it for them.
For hormone testing, I recommend either asking your health care provider to order them for you or you can find qualified professionals through numerous websites. WellnessFX and Accesa Labs are both great resources that can set you up with a provider who will order and review your labs with you. Often times you can have the labs drawn at a location convenient to you, which saves you time and money. If youd rather find a qualified healthcare provider you can see in person who specializes in hormones, BioTE Medical is another great resource.
I hope this cleared a few things up and I also hope it helps many of you get accurate labs results. Proper hormone balance and adrenal health is absolutely vital to your overall health and longevity, not to mention your fitness.
What Day Is Best For Testing
It depends on your goals. For fertility, check estradiol and FSH on day 3 of your menstrual cycle. This is a measure of egg quality and drives progesterone levels. For peak estradiol, check on day 12 of your cycle. I use that for bone mass. For progesterone and to check ovulation, I check day 21-22. If you dont know what day, aim for estradiol and progesterone on day 21-22 as most lab data are standardized for those dates before menopause. If your cycles are very irregular, test day 21-22 after a period.
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What Should I Do If I Have A Hormonal Imbalance
The testing is complete, the results are in, and it appears as though you may be experiencing some kind of hormone imbalance or age-related hormone change. While this may be frightening, its important to remember that hormone imbalances are often easily resolved.
Depending on the severity and the cause of your hormone issue, you may be able to resolve the issue naturally via careful lifestyle adjustments. In other cases, you may consider replacing the hormones your body is lacking in order to restore balance. This treatment option is called hormone replacement therapy, and its a very common first line of defense against hormone problems of all kinds.
A good hormone health practitioner will help you understand your treatment options and create a comprehensive plan that makes sense for you. With their support, you can find the best path toward symptom relief and optimal health.
If you are interested in hormone testing, BodyLogicMD can help. The practitioners in the BodyLogicMD network are experts in hormone replacement therapy and dedicated to helping patients achieve hormonal balance. Using a functional approach to medicine, each patient is treated as a whole individual, receiving nutrition and lifestyle counseling in addition to any necessary medications. If you need a hormone balance test or are looking for a specialist to interpret the results, contact a local practitioner today. Or take the BodyLogicMD Hormone Balance Quiz to better understand the impact of hormones.
What Do The Results Mean
If your estradiol or estrone levels are higher than normal, it may be due to:
- Early puberty in girls delayed puberty in boys
If your estradiol or estrone levels are lower than normal, it may be due to:
- Primary ovarian insufficiency, a condition that causes a woman’s ovaries to stop working before she is 40 years old
- Turner syndrome, a condition in which a woman’s sexual characteristics don’t develop properly
- An eating disorder, such as anorexia nervosa
- Polycystic ovary syndrome, a common hormone disorder affecting childbearing women. It is one of the leading causes of female infertility.
If you are pregnant and your estriol levels are lower than normal, it may mean your pregnancy is failing or that there is a chance your baby might have a birth defect. If the test shows a possible birth defect, you will need more testing before a diagnosis can be made.
Higher levels of estriol may mean you will be going into labor soon. Normally, estriol levels go up about four weeks before you start labor.
If you have questions about your results, talk to your health care provider.
Learn more about laboratory tests, reference ranges, and understanding results.
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Hormonal Imbalance And Men
You may think that women are the ones facing hormonal imbalances. But this is not the case. Men, as well as womens bodies, produce several hormones that are essential for wellbeing. One very well-known male hormone is testosterone. But, did you know that men, also, produce estrogen? Testosterone is mainly produced in the testicles and, a small amount is produced in the adrenal glands. It is responsible for ones manly characteristics, such as:
- Facial and Body Hair
- Muscle and Bone Density
- Deeper Voice
It also stimulates the production of sperm and affects your desire for sex. It also plays a major role in the way one gains weight and, how and where the body will end up accumulating these fat cells. Finally, red blood cells production is linked to testosterone levels.
Estrogen is made from testosterone with the help of an enzyme known as aromatase. As you age, not only do your testosterone levels naturally drop, but your estrogen levels go up simultaneously. The loss of testosterone with age is referred to by some professionals as andropause male menopause.
However, testosterone levels can drop, even in young men, from several causes, such as:
- Injuries to Scrotum or Testicles
- Testicular Cancer
- Liver Disease
But, testosterone and estrogen arent the only hormones that can get out of balance in men. You can suffer a decrease in cortisol levels if you are under a lot of stress, or even an imbalance in the thyroid hormones.
Saliva Testing For Hormone Levels
In the body, almost all hormones circulating in the bloodstream are bound to carrier proteins. Unlike blood-based tests, saliva diagnostics can measure the amount of free, unbound hormones that are available to act in the body. Salivary concentrations represent the hormone levels that are most likely to impact the body. By measuring these levels, providers can determine which hormones are available and present in excess and where there may be a deficiency.
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Who Gets An Estrogen Test
Doctors may recommend testing of estradiol or estrone for symptoms such as:
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.
Natural Ways To Support Healthy Hormones
While you should always speak to your doctor if you have hormonal imbalance, he might not have to give you any kind of medication to restore the balance. This is particularly true if the imbalance is caused by something like diet or stress. In general, people who have the following criteria are at higher risks of developing hormonal imbalances:
- Being overweight or obese
- Consuming an excessive amount of alcohol
- Being exposed to pesticides and toxins
- Experiencing high stress levels
- Not sleeping enough
Many of these risk factors are easily controlled when you’re mindful of your diet, exercise routine, and daily habits. If you quit smoking, moderate your drinking, or avoid exposure to pesticides, you can help reduce your risk factor for hormonal imbalances and naturally keep them moderated.
Changing the way you eat can go a long way towards improving your hormonal balance. For example, when you exchange carbohydrates for healthy fats, like coconut oil and avocado, you can lower your bodys inflammation and help maintain your hormone at the right levels. Consuming enough proteins will help control the ghrelin hormone that makes you feel hungry. This gives you the feeling of fullness and then, you will stop eating at the appropriate time and maintain a healthy weight.
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?
How And Why Do Men And Women Experience Hormonal Imbalances Differently
Hormones impact men and women differently, particularly when you’re 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
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