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
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.
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When Should You Get Hormone Testing 21 Common Symptoms
Hormone testing enables you to keep track of your hormone levels, helping you avoid the adverse effects associated with testosterone and estrogen deficiency. Once primary sex hormones levels begin to drop, you may experience a wide variety of symptoms. Here are some common symptoms and signs you need to go for hormone testing:
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How And When Will The Patient Find Out The Results
Results are returned to the doctor or specialist nurse who is looking after the patient. They may be contacted immediately to discuss the results or wait until they are next seen in clinic.
Results must be interpreted in the context of other medical details. With endocrinology in particular, the same numerical result may signify health in one person, but a problem in another. Patients should discuss results with their doctor rather than trying to interpret them themselves.
Routine results are produced within one working day providing additional measurements are not required, for example, if it has to be double-checked. Results on samples sent to reference laboratories for special tests may take one to four weeks to return.
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Overview Of Menstrual Cycle For Hormone Testing
- Day 1 this is the first day you see bright red blood.
- Day 14 this is when women are typically told they ovulate, but thats not true for everyone or every cycle. But we use this as a baseline when discussing lab tests and timing. You should monitor your cycle and symptoms to find out when you *actually* ovulate for sure.
- Day 28 not everyone has a 28-day cycle. However, youll often hear the menstrual cycle talked about in terms of 28 days. This is where your hormones drop if you don’t get pregnant. If youre tracking your period and you know that you have a shorter or longer cycle.
- Back to Day 1 this is when youll once again see blood.
> > Its important to note: While on hormonal birth control you should not ovulate and you dont have a period. Instead, you have a medication-induced withdrawal bleed that isnt actually a period. Some women will continue to ovulate with an IUD.
When To Test Thyroid Labs
We cant discuss testing for hormone imbalances without looking at the thyroid. Thyroid testing is best down first thing in the morning and can be at any point in your cycle. We typically add these in when we are testing for other hormones.
Its important to stop any supplements with biotin at least 72 hours in advance as it can skew results.
At a minimum, I would suggest looking at:
When Is The Best Time To Test Hormone Levels
If youre struggling with a hormone imbalance, testing your sex hormones can help you understand where the issue is rooted. Evaluating estrogen, progesterone and testosterone can be helpful in understanding which hormones are driving your symptoms.
Hormone levels arent static throughout the monthand this is why so many women get within range blood test 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.
What Is High Estrogen In Men
Too much estrogen in the male body can interfere with fertility, sexual function and even raise the risk for chronic diseases. One cause of hormone imbalance in aging men is that is testosterone is converted to estrogen, which can result in an excess of estradiol. Lab testing can reveal hormonal imbalances of estrogen and testosterone.
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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.
Blood Test For Sex Hormones
When you go to a doctor you are commonly only tested for estradiol, progesterone, and testosterone, just getting these markers tested is not going to tell you a lot about your hormones as it is measuring total hormone levels and not the free bioavailable hormones.
However blood testing can be quite valuable if you do a more extensive sex hormone test, one of the advantages of blood testing over saliva testing and urine testing is that it can assess Luteinising hormone and Follicle Stimulating Hormone which is the hormone messages from the pituitary to the ovaries or testes telling them to make more hormones.
The disadvantage of blood testing is that you cannot assess the metabolites of estrogen to assess estrogen detoxification, poor estrogen detoxification is associated with cancer, fibroids, and PMS. You cannot assess the metabolites of testosterone including 5a-DHT which is the more androgenic form of testosterone, but very high levels are associated with acne, hair loss, and cancer.
It is because of these disadvantages that I recommend the DUTCH hormone test which we will discuss in the urine testing for hormones.
Extensive Hormone Blood Test Includes:
Feeling Out Of Sorts But Not Sure Why Your Hormones Might Be The Answer Theyre Involved In Nearly Every Bodily Function And Can Disrupt Areas Of Your Body You Might Not Even Be Aware Of Parsley Health La Dr Tiffany Lester Shares What A Hormonal Imbalance May Look Like And What You Can Learn From A Hormone Test
Many women and men are suffering needlessly from hormonal imbalance every single day. Whether its painful periods that require medication and time off work for severe cramps or mood swings, acne, and sleepless nights, none of these symptoms are normal. They all indicate some type of hormone imbalance that can typically be corrected through diet, exercise, and supplementation. A hormonal imbalance test can help identify this.
When we talk about hormones, were not just talking about those that you learned about in middle school health class. Hormones are a huge category that includes cortisol, thyroid, and melatonin, as well as sex hormones . Each hormone plays a unique role and they work together to keep your body functioning properly, so if something is off, you may have noticeable symptoms.
Thyroid Testing With Blood
The most common way to test thyroid function, and the test that is considered the gold standard is a blood test, but it is important that you get a complete thyroid test and not just the TSH test.
The complete thyroid test includes:
- TSH This is important because we want to see what messages the brain is sending to the thyroid.
- Free T4 This is the storage form of the thyroid that is made by the thyroid gland in response to TSH, this is also the form of the thyroid that is usually prescribed in medications but some people have a problem converting T4 to T3.
- Free T3 This is the metabolically active form of thyroid hormone which makes it the most important thyroid hormone to be optimal. T4 to T3 conversion happens throughout the body.
- Reverse T3 This is an inactive form of thyroid hormone, important to test because high levels indicate adrenal issues or high levels of inflammation.
- Thyroid antibodies This indicates if you have an autoimmune thyroid problem, also important to test because often this will rise well before there is a problem with the other thyroid hormones.
You can still have normal TSH and even normal T4 levels but have a low thyroid function, check out this video below and I explain the importance of the complete thyroid test, and show a number of different examples of perfect TSH levels but low levels of the metabolically active T3. Note the measurement units in the U.S are different but the principle is still the same.
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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.
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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Natural Remedies And Lifestyle Changes That Can Help A Hormone Imbalance
If you take the holistic route bio-identical hormones are best and work quickest, says Dr. Eccles. Bio-identical hormones are described by Harvard Medical School as hormones made from a plant chemical extracted from yams and soy identical in molecular structure to the hormones women make in their bodies.
Like HRT, bio-identical hormones come in the form of drugs, such as tablets, and creams and gels that a doctor will prescribe a combination of. This form of treatment should always be monitored by a skilled doctor to get the hormone levels right for each individual, as well as testing to monitor treatment levels, advises Dr. Eccles.
While many women have reported positive results from using natural products natural doesnt necessarily mean safe, and some over-the-counter complementary remedies such as St. Johns Wort can negatively interact with certain medicines. The NHS doesnt offer or recommend bio-identical hormone therapy so its a personal choice. If you choose to go ahead with natural alternatives to HRT find an established practitioner who will be able to provide tailor-made doses.
How Is A Hormone Imbalance Found
To detect a hormone imbalance the best way is by blood test or by urine test, says Dr. Eccles. In some circumstances testing hormone levels in saliva can also be useful, adding that if tests are in a pre-menopausal woman then the timing of the test is also important.
Your GP may also offer a pelvic exam, which can include a smear test, or refer you for an ultrasound to gather images of the pituitary or thyroid gland, the ovaries or uterus. Other detection techniques include biopsies, MRI scans and X-rays.
There are home test kits available that measure hormones through saliva or blood samples. These can be expensive so its worth speaking to your GP first, who should be able to determine what specific tests you need and what tests can be conducted on the NHS.
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What Can You Learn From Hormone Testing
In some cases, hormone testing can unveil a major imbalance indicative of, say, a thyroid condition or polycystic ovary syndrome . But even a slight hormonal shift away from the optimal range can have an impact on your well-being. “There are a lot of conditions that fall on the imbalance spectrum,” says Dr. Masutto. “Your cycle can be thrown off a little, or you could have PMS or premenstrual dysphoric disorder . can even put you into premature ovarian failure, which is something that can be really life-altering.”
Once your doctor knows exactly which hormones are causing your distress, they’re able to offer a more targeted treatment. In the western medical tradition, drugs are often the answerbirth control pills, thyroid meds, or antidepressants, to name a few. And while there are certainly many cases in which pharmaceuticals are necessary, some doctors prefer to treat more moderate hormone imbalances through food and lifestyle modifications.
“From a holistic medical perspective, I would recommend that a woman with hormone imbalances use botanical medicines, acupuncture, nutritional supplements, and lifestyle and dietary therapy,” says Dr. Steelsmith. Dr. Masutto says Parsley Health takes a similar approach, adding that she’s not averse to prescribing medication in some cases. “Utilizing prescription or compounded hormone replacement can help alleviate symptoms and help you get your life back so you can work on the lifestyle changes that are needed,” she says.