How To Check Estrogen Levels
This article was medically reviewed by Aimee Eyvazzadeh, MD, MA. Aimee Eyvazzadeh is a Fertility Specialist and the Founder of The Egg Whisperer Show, a fertility care program focusing on fertility education based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her work has been featured in magazines such as People, Forbes, and Marie Claire, and she has been featured on the Today Show, Good Morning America, and CNN. She earned an MD from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2001, completed an OB/GYN residency at Harvard Medical School in 2005, and finished a fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at University of Michigan, where she also completed an MPH. This article has been viewed 9,443 times.
Estrogen is a hormone that affects the reproductive system and the development of secondary sex characteristics . Estrogen levels can also impact your mood and the health of your skin, bones, liver, and heart.XResearch source Whether you are pregnant, trying to conceive, concerned about a possible hormone imbalance, or taking hormone-based medications, you may need to keep an eye on your estrogen levels. Visit your healthcare provider to get your levels tested, or ask your healthcare provider to order an at-home test kit for you.
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Is This Test Still Useful If I Am Using A Form Of Contraception
If you are taking a progesterone only form of contraception such as progesterone-only pill, progesterone implant, or Minerva coil then this test is still useful as these forms of conception do not suppress normal production of FSH, LH, or oestradiol. This test is not useful if taking a combined form of conception e.g the combined oral conceptive pill .
Treatment For A Hormonal Imbalance
There are many different treatment options for hormonal imbalances. The treatment you ultimately be given will depend on which hormone exactly is unbalance as well as the underlying cause of the imbalance. Sometimes, a life event might cause such a fluctuation in your hormones, such as menopause. In that case, your treatment would be short term one. However, if you have a genetic disorder that causes a lifelong hormonal imbalance, you will need to pursue a more prolonged course of medications.
Hormone therapy is a common treatment for hormonal imbalances. Women who are witnessing uncomfortable menopausal symptoms may choose estrogen therapy. Testosterone therapy is a common choice for men with low testosterone levels or adolescents facing delayed puberty. Taking thyroid hormones can help individuals with hypothyroidism. Such hormone replacement therapies may come in the form of pills, patches, or even injections. Your doctor will help you choose the appropriate dosage by checking your hormone levels test results. This is how he will determine the right amount of supplemented hormone you will need to recreate the balance.
Bioidentical hormones can be produced by pharmaceutical companies using different doses. Examples include bi-estrogen which is 50 to 80 percent estriol combined with estradiol, or tri-estrogen which is 10 percent estrone, 10 percent estradiol, and 80 percent estriol.
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Free Thyroxine And Free Triiodothyronine
Thyroid binding globulin is a protein that transports thyroid hormone & makes it so your body can’t use it. When thyroid hormone is bound it is measured via blood test as Total T4 & Total T3.
Your cells use Free T4 & Free T3. This is why we measure both of these markers in addition to TSH.
Your T4 is inactive and T3 is active. T3 is involved in your mood, menses, metabolism, and gut motility.
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
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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:
- 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.
You Have Zero Interest In Sex
There are a lot of reasons your sex drive may have taken a nose-dive, but stress is a major factor that wreaks havoc on your hormones and in turn depletes your libido.
Try: Spicing it up. Research has linked spicy food to higher testosterone levels in men, and testosterone is just as important for a woman’s sex drive.
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Commonly Asked Questions About Female Hormones
What is the lifelong role of estrogen in female health?
Most people think estrogen is primarily responsible for reproduction, but it also helps with bone, skin and cardiovascular health. In addition, it affects thyroid hormone production. During menopause, estrogen levels decline along with the production of progesterone and testosterone. Hormone replacement therapy , which means replacing lost hormones by re-introducing them into the body, is often suggested to offset the positive benefits of estrogen and can be helpful in reducing common symptoms of menopause. But some studies show that artificial doses of estrogen carry risks and have been linked to cancer, dementia, strokes and arthritis. Never assume that hormone replacement therapy is the right thing to do without consulting your healthcare provider.
What is Puberty? Hormones that control puberty
Puberty is the time in life when children begin to show changes through hormone secretions that indicate they are about to become adults physically. In girls, the most obvious sign of puberty is the onset of menstruation. It can happen anywhere between the ages of 9 17, with a median age of 12. The menses, or monthly cycle, is interrupted during pregnancy and typically ends when the ovaries stop secreting steroid hormones a stage known as menopause.
What are the hormonal milestones in a females life?
What Causes Hot Flashes?
Why do I feel so different during my monthly cycle?
Why dont men have monthly cycles?
Hormonal Imbalance And Weight Gain
People with Cushing syndrome have high levels of cortisol in their blood. This leads to an increase in appetite and fat storage.
Hypothyroidism, if the condition is severe, can also lead to weight gain.
During menopause, many women gain weight because the metabolism slows down. You may find that even though youre eating and exercising like normal, you still gain weight.
The only way to treat weight gain from a hormone disorder is to treat the underlying condition.
During a normal, healthy pregnancy, your body goes through major hormonal changes. This is different than a hormonal imbalance.
Causes And Symptoms Of Hormonal Imbalance
When the endocrine system is functioning smoothly, its precise and timely release of hormones works to promote optimal health and function. The glands in this system assist in nearly every critical bodily function. So, if there is a problem with one or more glands, hormonal imbalance can occur, causing a variety of problems, some more serious than others. These changes can be detected by undergoing a hormone imbalance test, which is an opening door towards getting the right kind of treatment to address your hormonal imbalance symptoms.
What Causes A Hormone Imbalance
There are a variety of factors that can cause a hormone imbalance, including illnesses such as thyroid or other endocrine gland conditions, diabetes, eating disorders, cancer treatment, hormone therapy, environmental toxins, a nutritionally poor diet that is rich in refined foods, and certain medications.
For women, a hormone imbalance often occurs in relation to the female reproductive system polycystic ovary syndrome , birth control pills, pregnancy, breastfeeding, hysterectomy and menopause can all cause issues.
There may be a genetic tendency, says Dr. Eccles, but most commonly an imbalance is related to lifestyle and less healthy lifestyles that are more often associated with hormone dysregulation .
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.
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Reasons To Get Your Hormone Levels Checked Out
People have varying outlooks regarding becoming older. Your attitude towards advancing years will probably have much to do with the condition of your overall health. If you still feel agile and look comparatively young, you most likely wont care too much about your chronological age. However, for many people, getting older comes with a minefield of incommodious health issues.
If you are older, and your overall health is diminishing, consider talking to your GP about getting a blood test to determine your hormone levels. Here are ten worthy reasons why it is a good idea to get your hormone levels evaluated:
Weight gain is a common symptom of plummeting hormone levels in both men and women. Low testosterone can cause men to develop a stout abdomen and surplus fat in the pectoral area. It can also cause the loss of muscle mass. Laboratory research has shown that in female mammals, dwindling estrogen levels can lead to lethargy and general weight gain. Carrying too much weight can cause other health complications, such as diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease.
If low levels of sex hormones, like testosterone and estrogen, have caused you to feel sluggish, you may not have the energy to exercise as much as youd like. Exercise is of vital importance to your overall health. It can safeguard you against a multitude of physical ailments and diseases. It is also excellent for your mental health, and it keeps your body looking and feeling young.
Ways To Get Your Hormones In Check Naturally
Hormones got you down? Here are some basics to getting your hormones out of wack and back on track!
Every body is individual and some hormone imbalances go much deeper but this is a good start!
1. SUPPORT YOUR LIVER & DETOX PATHWAYS, this is absolutely critical for hormone balancing. Our livers are responsible for regulating sex hormones, thyroid hormones, and adrenal hormones. It removes excess hormones from the body, if the liver is not able to do this physical and emotional symptoms will arise. Make sure you are sweating everyday and having at least one bowel movement, while also doing other liver detox methods. NO I am not talking about those fad juice cleanses or other detoxes on the market, those will only cause more harm than good.
2. BALANCE YOUR BLOOD SUGAR! When we talk about balanced hormones we are talking about safety. Our body wants to feel safe and we can do that by not making our bodies guess when it will be having its next meal. Eat at the same times everyday and always combine protein and carb together, never consume alone!
3. EAT YOUR CARBS! Now that we know how important the liver is for regulating hormones, guess what! The liver runs on glucose and what do carbs do? They turn into glucose to be used as fuel by our body! Ditch the low carb diet, its not doing you any favors.
7. LIGHT THERAPY, get your booty outside or start incorporating red light therapy if you cant get outside. Getting a proper amount of light everyday helps to build hormones.
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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 woman’s sense of wellbeing. Symptoms of menopause include:
- Hot flushes
- Mood changes such as depression and anxiety
- Night sweats
- Changes to your menstrual cycle
- Reduced sex drive
Female Hormone Imbalance: What Is It
Hormonal imbalance occurs when the amount of estrogen, progesterone or both is altered, disturbing the delicate balance between these powerful hormones. Imbalances in these vital female hormones can stem from a number of underlying causes. The most common cause is perimenopause, the transitional phase leading up to menopause, during which the production of estrogens and progesterone begin to decline. Other common causes of hormonal imbalance include pregnancy, endocrine disorders, certain drugs, especially oral contraceptives, drugs used in hormone replacement therapy and cancer medications, and lifestyle factors that include stress, overweight or obesity, poor diet, sleep deprivation and lack of exercise.
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Signs Or Symptoms Of A Hormonal Imbalance
Your hormones play an integral role in your overall health. As a result, theres a broad range of signs or symptoms that could signal a hormonal imbalance. Your signs or symptoms will depend on which hormones or glands arent working properly.
Common hormonal conditions affecting both men and women could cause any of the following signs or symptoms:
One Of The Best Things I Ever Did Was Get My Hormones Checked
This post has been a long time coming.
Weve talked about it in detail on the podcast, but I also wanted to write a blog post about it.
Its a subject so many of you have asked about. Hormones, thyroid & insulin resistance.
Yes, I did an entire solo podcast episode which you should definitely listen to but I also wanted to summarize all the takeaways here.
It goes without saying that I am not a doctor. I am just sharing my experience with hormones & what Ive discovered post-birth. So obviously check with the doctor, do your own research.
In fact, I got a hormone specialist involved, and that was very helpful. So be your own guru & advocate for yourself.
Need More Hormone Help
If youre needing some health upgrading, its time you started you looking into whats going on with your hormones.
Ive designed a 4 day hormone detox and evaluation to help you understand exactly whats out of whack and how you can start getting back to balance so that your hormones no longer have to suffer.
to get your FREE detox and evaluation!
How To Check Hormone Levels At Home
Hereâs how to test hormone levels from the comfort of home:
The Everlywell Womenâs Health test lets you easily check for 11 key hormones all from the comfort of your own home. The kit includes everything you needâ even a prepaid shipping label to send your samples to the lab.
This easy-to-use female hormone test can detect an imbalance, and it also includes detailed instructions for how to collect your blood and saliva samples.
To collect your blood sample, just prick your finger and apply a few drops of blood to the collection card. The saliva sample is collected by spitting into the saliva tubes provided in the kit.
Youâll then send your samples to the lab, and just a few days later, your test results will be ready to view on our secure, online portal.
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Signs You Have A Hormone Imbalance
Achieving balance in life is probably not a new concept to you. Just like balancing your diet and your schedule, your hormones also need to find a balance in order for you to feel your best. Women who are approaching perimenopause or menopause are commonly faced with hormone imbalance. Fortunately, your gynecologist can help, but it may be up to you to recognize the symptoms of hormone imbalance so that you can make the appointment.
Remember that there are many types of hormones in the body, ranging from estrogen, testosterone and progesterone that come from the ovaries as well as thyroid hormones, cortisol, prolactin and more.
Here are some common signs and symptoms of hormone imbalance in women:
- Irregular or absent periods
- Thinning hair or facial hair
- Heart palpitations
At North Pointe OB/GYN Associates, we dont want your health or quality of life to diminish due to out of whack hormones. We can conduct the necessary evaluations and testing to determine which hormones need adjustment. In many cases, we can prescribe hormone replacement therapy , to restore optimal balance. However, some women benefit from a change in lifestyle, including better eating habits, increased activity level and more sleep. If you can identify with the above symptoms, please call us today to schedule your consult. We treat women through all stages of life.
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