How Do Testosterone And Estrogen Differ
Testosterone, the key hormone in men, is the chief regulator of muscle tone and lean body mass, or the very essence of what gives a man his masculine appearance. A normal level of testosterone is a broad term, making deficiencies difficult to detect. The hormone is produced by the adrenal glands and testicles, with levels highest in the mornings and decreasing throughout the day.
Testosterone also regulates a mans sex drive. Lack of sexual desire and performance, often associated with low levels of testosterone, or low T, is a common complaint from men as they age and hormone levels drop. Sex drive and performance, however, require the presence of both estrogen and testosterone.
Estrogen, by contrast, is the hormone responsible for sexual and reproductive development in women and is also referred to as the female sex hormone. Estrogen is really a group of hormones that includes estrone, estradiol and estriol. Estrogen is produced in the ovaries but also by fat cells and the adrenal gland.
What To Do With Your Hormone Test Results
As soon as your test results are ready, you can review them from the comfort of your home. We recommend discussing your results with a doctor. They can help you determine how to proceed.
A health professional may request additional tests to diagnose your condition. They might also suggest lifestyle changes and have you undergo treatment.
Hormone imbalance can be a sign of a serious medical condition. Hormone testing gives you the information you need to understand your hormones.
Get an at-home hormone test if:
- You don’t feel your best
- You have concerns about thyroid function
- You feel foggy, weak, or tired
- You believe you might have a serious health problem
- You want to get pregnant
- You have problems with sexual function
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
Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia
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How Does A Hormone Balance Test Work
Saliva, urine, and/or blood tests are the most common method for testing a patients hormone levels. Youll usually only need to provide a few small samples. Then, depending on what symptoms you experience, these samples will be evaluated by a lab to measure a variety of hormones, including:
The lab results 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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Test It Out: Check Your Elisa Works
Steroid hormones are present in relatively low concentrations in saliva, compared with serum, even if the hormone is mainly free rather than bound, so quantitative assays for salivary hormone assessment must be as sensitive as possible.
ELISA assays can provide the sensitivity required, but they must also be standardized within and between testing labs, ideally with an option to participate in inter-laboratory consistency testing as part of the quality control of the assay. In this way, a database of sample results can be built as numbers accumulate, and meta-analyses then carried out, moving saliva-based testing towards universal standardization.
It might also be useful to consider whether a given saliva-based ELISA test has been calibrated against mass spectroscopy results, since MS is the established reference method for hormone quantification. Having this calibration for a given test can give extra assurance, particularly when a lab is starting out with saliva-based ELISA testing, and needs empirical evidence that it is working effectively.10
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Diversify: Use Saliva Testing For Other Applications Too
Even if you find that saliva testing is relatively easy to set up in your lab, it is good to know that the effort put into optimizing it for your particular needs is not limited to the testing of female hormone levels. Saliva can be used to measure many other biomarkers, which means you can capitalize on the investment that you put into developing the infrastructure, adapting the workflow to include, for example, male hormone levels or other types of steroids.12 More information on how to go about this can be found in our saliva-based diagnostics guide.
To this end, saliva-based tests have already been developed in various other areas, including – but not limited to – sports medicine, psychology, and occupational medicine. For instance, high levels of cortisol are associated with stress and burnout, and cortisol was one of the first markers to be measured in saliva samples, making it a realistic target for measuring stress levels in the workplace.13 It is also worth noting that many labs that test for female hormone imbalance also check adrenal status as part of an overall hormone review, and therefore measure cortisol and DHEA levels in order to give a complete picture of a womans hormone status. In effect, there are many overlaps in the different hormonal pathways, as we saw in the first article of this series. However, the exact clinical application for which a specific test is relevant should always be considered, according to the individual test instructions.
Urine And Kidney Testing
The oldest method, urine testing, is easily performed and can be more accurate because urine contains larger amounts of hormone than blood or saliva. Unfortunately, however, it can be tedious and inconvenient, as it requires the collection of all urine over a period of 24 hours. Anything less will have bearing on the accuracy of the results, as will any type of kidney malfunction. Kidney function tests are often conducted at the same time as urine hormone testing so that more accurate results can be achieved.
Hormones in the urine are generally identified using mass spectroscopy and identifies each of the individual hormones as they are available, though it is not precise enough to identify highs and lows of daily fluctuations.
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Testing Your Balance With A Hormone Imbalance Test
If you feel as though your mood is topsy-turvy and unpredictable or your energy is in a slump, you might be experiencing one of the signs of hormone imbalance and a hormone imbalance test may be in your best interest. Testing for a hormone imbalance is one of the most effective ways of properly diagnosing both hormone imbalances in women as well as hormone imbalances in men so that you can get your life, your mood, and your way of functioning back in balance.
The most common hormone imbalances include:
- Estrogen deficiency or excess
- DHEA deficiency or excess
- Hydrocortisone excess or deficiency
Your symptoms will actually help determine the type of hormone imbalance test that will be most effective and accurate. Believe it or not, there are several methods of conducting a hormone imbalance test. Some test the saliva, while others require urine or blood samples. Age, gender, race, symptoms, and even the state of your general health factor into which type of testing may be right for you, so its important to get professional guidance before you make the call on your own.
Benefits Of Saliva Hormone Testing
Have you ever heard of Avitas Saliva Hormone Test? It is very unique, and it can literally change the status of your health throughout the menopausal years.
Think of menopause as part of your journey, and the Saliva Hormone Test as the map towards your destination of HEALTH and HAPPINESS!
Here are 5 key benefits to our innovative test:
Accuracy: Saliva vs blood testing is much more accurate because it provides a clear picture of whats occurred over time at the cellular level not just whats moving in and out of our bloodstream at the moment the lab draws blood.
Convenience: The Saliva Hormone Test is completed within 5 minutes in the comfort of your own home- no lab, no line-ups, no needles.
Ease of Use: The Saliva Hormone test is so easy to use. It is completed first thing in the morning prior to your morning coffee! Simply fill the vial with a very small sample of saliva, complete the requisition form , freeze the sample and call the courier. Results are received within 10 business days!
Patient Specific: The test provides you with a very specific blueprint that is unique to you! It will help you understand the exact reason why you are experiencing so many health related symptoms not the least of which is weight gain and the inability to release weight through traditional past solutions. In addition, you can use your blueprint to guide an exact protocol of natural supplements to get the results you are desperately seeking.
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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.
Saliva Hormone Testing: Easy Accurate And Cost
The saliva tests we use are an easy, FDA-approved, and noninvasive way of assessing your hormones. Saliva tests are proving to be the most reliable medium for measuring hormone levels. Unlike blood serum tests, saliva testing detects only hormones actively delivered to receptors in the body. Clinically, it is far more relevant to test these bioavailable hormones to provide an accurate reflection of the bodys active hormone levels.
Our pharmacy offers the following hormone tests from a single saliva sample:
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What Is Hormonal Imbalance In Men
The most common hormonal imbalances in men are related to testosterone levels. Men may experience low levels of testosterone due to disorders, like hypogonadism for example when the testes cannot produce an adequate supply of testosterone. More commonly, aging is the underlying cause, with testosterone production gradually diminishing over time, beginning around age 40. For some men, levels fall so low that the bodys basic needs for the hormone cannot be fulfilled, which can lead to many of the symptoms listed above. Other factors that can contribute to low testosterone levels include excessive stress, poor diet, obesity and regular excessive alcohol use.
My Patient Is Using Fluticasone Nasal Spray Should This Be Stopped For A Period Of Time Before Testing
For safety reasons, we advise practitioners to follow proper protocols for discontinuing use of steroid medications. When medically appropriate, fluticasone and other steroid medications may be stopped to allow for more accurate hormone testing. All medications containing cortisone, hydrocortisone, or any other corticosteroid including over-the-counter and prescription skin creams and ointments, hemorrhoid creams, steroid eye drops, steroid nasal sprays , steroid inhalers, and oral corticosteroid medications can potentially interfere with cortisol testing and should be avoided for 24 hours before testing and on the day of testing. In addition, as noted above for prednisone, all corticosteroid medications may potentially suppress normal adrenal hormone levels. As such, practitioners may decide to wait several days to several weeks after a patient has discontinued using these steroid medications, depending on length of use, in order to more accurately assess baseline hormone levels.
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Which Hormone Test Is The Easiest To Get
It depends. As mentioned, serum blood testing by your doctor is the standard of practice and typically easiest for most people to get if they have easy access to the doctor. You, as the patient, dont have to do any work except drive yourself to the lab.
Finding a qualified nutrition expert or physician that is functionally trained who will order saliva and urine testing and properly interpret the results may be less accessible, but it just takes a little research to see who is in your area.
Youll have to read directions and complete the testing on your own with saliva and urine testing. There are benefits to having a combination of serum, saliva, and urine for a full picture of whats going on with your hormones.
We did it! Thanks for sticking through until the end!
As you can now see, the options for hormone imbalance tests are quite advanced these days. There are strengths and limitations to serum, saliva, and urine testing, and when used together, can provide important information about your hormones when you expect that things just feel off. You are more in touch with your body than anyone else. You know what does and does not feel right. So, if clear answers to your problems dont show up on a standard lab test, investigate further!
Sometimes the root of your symptoms is a result of food sensitivities or not following an anti-inflammatory diet. Embarking on an elimination diet could be instrumental in managing your hormonal imbalance symptoms.
Signs Of Hormone Imbalance In Women
So often we attribute our bodys 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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Diagnosis Of Womens Hormonal Imbalance
Since the symptoms of female hormone imbalance are also common signs of a number of other diseases and health conditions, women experiencing them should see a physician for a thorough physical examination. If other underlying medical conditions are ruled out, hormone level testing is the next step. Hormone levels can be measured through saliva testing and/or blood tests. Establishing an accurate diagnosis of hormone imbalance may require several tests, done at intervals, as hormone levels fluctuate throughout a womans menstrual cycle and may change greatly from one day to another.
Hormone Imbalance And Hormone Testing
A woman’s hormones are constantly changing and the slightest imbalance can change how you feel day to day. A hormonal imbalance can affect the menstrual cycle, mood, metabolism, libido, and sleep. Testing hormones is a critical step in understanding a womanâs reproductive and general health. Knowing if you have a hormonal imbalance is the first step to understanding the changes you may be experiencing in your body.
A Lifetime Of Hormonal Changes
Hormones are chemicals secreted by glands. They travel through the bloodstream to act on various organs throughout the body. Womens sex hormones can have a wide range of effects, including on energy levels, mood, weight, sexuality, reproduction, and more. Too much or too little of any one hormone can cause a hormonal imbalance, resulting in a variety of symptoms.
If symptoms suggestive of hormonal imbalance are present at any stage of a womans life, the first most practical step could be hormone testing. It is easy to measure the levels of the main female hormones and to determine if they fall within what is called the normal range. Testing should also determine whether the hormones exist in the proper ratios to each other.
Hormone imbalance testing is useful to diagnose developmental problems and for mapping a womans menstrual cycle. It can help detect the cause of infertility. It can also help determine whether a woman is in perimenopause or menopause and whether her symptoms might benefit from hormone replacement therapy or an adjustment to ongoing HRT. Hormone testing should include the determination of levels of the main female sex hormones: estradiol, estriol, estrone, and progesterone. The laboratory conducting the test will provide the level of each hormone and a normal range for each hormone tested.