When To Get Tested
Women: when you show symptoms of a hormone imbalance, such as abnormal vaginal bleeding, lack of menstrual periods, unusual and/or early or late sex organ development when you are undergoing infertility treatment or therapy for menopause symptoms when you are pregnant and your health care practitioner wants to monitor the health of your placenta and developing baby, if it is a high-risk pregnancy
Men: when you have signs of feminization, such as enlarged breasts
Use Your Symptoms As Your Guide
For more serious cases and symptoms, hormone testing can be very helpful. But for most women who experience the normal, if unpleasant, fluctuations of hormones during perimenopause and menopause, hormone tests are not generally needed â nor will they offer many answers. The best way to measure your hormones during perimenopause and menopause is to evaluate your symptoms. Take our quick hormonal profile to see how your symptoms rate.
What Are Female Hormones
Estrogen and progesterone are the primary sex hormones in females. Most of the body’s supply of these hormones is produced by the ovaries, although small amounts are supplied by other tissues in the body. While best known for their primary function of regulating the reproductive system, female hormones also play a role in other aspects of women’s health, including cardiac function, metabolism, bone health, skin thickness and elasticity, urinary tract health, emotional health and brain function, among others.
Cortisol and the thyroid hormone can become imbalanced for various reasons and affect both men and women. Ensuring a healthy profile means keeping abreast of your body’s levels. A comprehensive hormone test can provide much needed insight.
The three primary sex hormones in women are estrogen, progesterone and testosterone.
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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.
How To Test Estrogen Levels
Estrogen levels are tested in blood, urine, or saliva. A blood test or a urine test is usually done in a doctors office or lab, while a saliva test can be done at home.
Urine test not only detects the amount of estrogen in the body but also helps assess how estrogen levels are related to the metabolism, and how the body is using the hormones. The urine sample is collected in the morning or gradually throughout the course of the day.
Saliva test uses home test kits where a person may require collecting several saliva samples at specific times throughout the course of a day. Special instructions mentioned must be followed such as not eating or avoiding certain products such as toothpaste, mouthwash, or tobacco before collecting each sample for a certain period.
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The Hormone Test All Women Can Do At Home
While lab work like the Female Hormone Panel is super valuable information especially once you have a personal database of tests that track your bodys progress there are ways you can check in on your hormones, at home, without the assistance of your OBGYN. If youre experiencing symptoms like PMS, acne, low sex drive, mood swings the next time you get your period, look at what color it is! Like really look.
Look at the color of the bleed, the consistency, note how long your period is, how it starts and how it endsnumbers on a page can be hard to connect back to how you feel, but your period is right there in front of you. Its a part of you and its a visual indicator of whats going on with your hormones. You can tell what kind of hormone imbalance you are dealing with by observing:
- The color of your period blood
- The way it starts and the way it ends
- The consistency of the period blood
- The length of time you have your period
- How much you bleed
This easily observable, immediately accessible information is right there for your understanding. Notice it, note it, actually write it down if you like in a period diary and it can give you so much important information.
But, how to know what it all means?
Always remember, that once you have the right information about how your body really works, you can start making health choices that finally start to work for you! You can do this the science of your body is on your side!
to your FLO,
What Do I Test If I Dont Have A Period
If your period has stopped showing up , this is what is called amenorrhea.
- Primary amenorrhea is when you havent gotten your period by age 15 or 16.
- Secondary amenorrhea is when you have had a period, but now its gone.
Often, doctors will try to prescribe the birth control pill as a means of treating amenorrhea. If you begin birth control you will not be able to test FSH, LH, estradiol or progesterone accurately. The Endocrine Society guidelines clearly advocate against the use of the pill in women with functional hypothalamic amenorrhea solely to restore a period or even improve bone mass. They also recommend educating patients who are currently using the pill that it may mask these issues.
Lab Test to Consider for a Missing Period
- Follicle-stimulating hormone
- Luteinizing hormone
- Fasting insulin
- Glycated hemoglobin , fasting glucose or glucose challenge
Will you need all of these? Maybe. Maybe not. This is where an experienced clinician can help.
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The Connection Between Low T And Estrogen
Estrogen levels and testosterone levels are closely related. In fact, one of the primary causes of low estrogen is actually low testosterone.
Mens bodies produce estradiol, a form of estrogen, as a byproduct the breakdown of testosterone through an enzyme called aromatase. Aromatase is found in estrogen-producing tissue, such as the adrenal glands, the brain, fatty tissue, and even the testicles.
Estradiol is often referred to as E2 and is one hormone in a class of hormones called Estrogens. This class includes estradiol, estriol, and estrone, among others.
Estradiol is likely the main estrogen you need to worry about.
The production of estrogen in a male body is a completely normal and necessary process. Estrogen is required for the healthy physiologic functions of your brain and other important organs, including:
- Erectile function and sex interest
- Maintenance of bone health
Talk to a TRT expert and get back to feeling the way youre supposed to.Now serving patients in all Texas cities.
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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.
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What Is Being Tested
Estrogens are a group of steroids that are responsible for the development and function of reproductive organs and the formation of secondary sex characteristics in women. Along with another hormone, progesterone, they help regulate the menstrual cycle, are involved in the growth of breasts and the uterus, and help maintain a healthy pregnancy. Though considered the main sex hormones for women, they are also found in men and play a role in bone metabolism and growth in both sexes. Estrogen tests measure one of three components: estrone , estradiol , or estriol in the blood or urine.
Estrogen in Girls and WomenThe types and amounts of estrogen normally present in a womans blood will vary throughout her lifetime. Levels vary during each menstrual cycle, during pregnancy, and on a daily basis.
At BirthEstradiol and estrone are high but fall within a few days. Concentration levels are minimal during early childhood.
At PubertyConcentrations of E2 and E1 begin to rise as puberty approaches. These estrogens are responsible for the development of breasts, uterine growth, and the onset and regulation of menstruation. A moderate amount of E1 is present from puberty to menopause. This concentration will vary during the day but is otherwise relatively stable.
E1 also rises during pregnancy, increasing as much as 10-fold between weeks 24 and 40. After delivery, E1 falls and E3 again becomes essentially undetectable.
Treatment Of Womens Hormonal Imbalance
In most cases, female hormones balance can be improved or corrected with treatment. Often, changes in diet and lifestyle are sufficient to improve female hormonal imbalance and offer some protection against its potential health complications. Among the common changes recommended are:
- 30 minutes of exercise daily, including resistance and aerobic exercise.
- Dietary changes that include replacing processed, fatty and sugary foods with lean proteins, low-fat dairy and a wide range of fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Limit alcohol consumption
- Eliminate tobacco consumption
Female hormonal imbalance that cannot be resolved with lifestyle changes is most commonly treated with hormone replacement therapy. Conventional HRT uses hormone drugs to normalize levels of estrogens or progesterone in the system, while bioidentical hormone replacement therapy enhances hormone levels as needed with plant-derived supplements. HRT has been associated with health risks with long-term use, so women considering this treatment should discuss risks and benefits carefully with their doctors.
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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.
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?
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Getting Tested At Your Healthcare Providers Office
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
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
In fact, one study has shown that 30 percent of men who were overweight had low testosterone, as opposed to only 6.4 percent of men of normal weight. Another study found 24.5 percent of diabetic men having low testosterone as opposed to 12.6 percent of non-diabetic men.
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What Causes A Hormonal Imbalance
The causes of hormonal imbalances vary according to the specific hormone involved. However, in general, they are due to changes or dysfunctions of a hormone-producing gland. For instance, a thyroid gland that isnt functioning correctly may produce too much thyroid hormone, accelerating your bodys metabolism or could produce too little. Thyroid dysfunction can be caused by autoimmune diseases, thyroid nodules, medications or, rarely, thyroid cancer, among other potential causes. Imbalances in male or female sex hormones, such as estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, can be caused by age-related changes, such as menopause and andropause, as well as genetic disorders, stress, nutritional issues, or medications. Excessive stress, poor diet, aging and certain medications can contribute to imbalances in cortisol and other adrenal hormones.
There are many different underlying causes that can result in a hormonal imbalance. Each cause relates to different glands and hormones and, does impact your body differently. Many diseases and other conditions can result in a hormonal imbalance.
Diabetes is characterized by an inability to properly use the insulin hormone. An insulin imbalance can lead to other related hormonal imbalances as well such as disrupting estrogen, testosterone, thyroid, progesterone, and cortisol.
Hypothyroidism or Hyperthyroidism
What Does Estrogen Do
Oestrogens are in charge of developing the sexual characteristics of the female body, which includes the function and anatomy of their reproductive system this makes oestrogen the most important hormone for female reproduction. While these hormones are conventionally female and related to sexual characteristics, they are also important for the male body and other organs.
Hormones need receptors to execute their functions. In the case of oestrogens, they have two types of receptors which can be found in the following parts of the body:
- Genital tract: oestrogen promotes the development of female reproductive organs and regulates the menstrual and ovarian cycles.
- In the ovary, oestrogen promotes the maturation of ovarian follicles . Around 14 days before menstruation, oestrogens make LH levels increase drastically, causing the release of the oocyte .
- In the uterus, it helps the endometrial cells to grow during the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle this thickened endometrium is required for optimal implantation.