How To Test Your Hormones At Home
My gold standard is a blood draw for serum testing, but its hard to get a blood draw during a pandemic! There are convenient, reliable alternatives for many biomarkers. In the video, I talk about the blood spot test from ZRT Labs. I also love the dried urine test for hormone metabolism and to follow certain hormones in my patients on bioidentical hormone therapy. Occasionally I will run saliva tests but only for limited indications.
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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.
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Write Down Your Symptoms And Diagnoses
It can be easy to forget your symptoms and medical history during your visit especially when working with a provider for the first time. To avoid missing any important information, be sure to write down a list of your symptoms and diagnoses prior to your visit.
Below are some common symptoms of a hormone imbalance that are important for your doctor to be aware of:
- Hot flashes and night sweats
- Osteoporosis or bone loss
- Vaginal dryness and low sex drive
- Hair loss, dry nails, or dry skin
- Excessive or abnormal growth of body hair
- Insomnia and fatigue
Its important to keep a record of your current and past medical conditions, hospitalizations, and surgeries. If youre seeking care for a womens health disorder and are having menstrual cycles, using a period tracker will help streamline your visit as well.
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How Safe Are The Synthetic Hormones
Prescribed medications like antidepressants, sedatives, analgesics fail to correct the physiological effects of loss of estradiol. And, the days of routinely prescribing synthetic estrogen and progesterone or both for hormonal imbalance are now pretty much ancient history because of the significant increased incidence of cancer and cardiovascular disease associated with them.
Stimulation And Suppression Hormone Testing
We use tests called stimulation and suppression tests to evaluate a hormone imbalance. We give you hormones and other substances that either start or stop your production of certain hormones. We then evaluate how your body responds.
Common types of stimulation and suppression testing include:
- Growth hormone response to glucagon: We inject a hormone, glucagon, into muscle tissue and measure growth hormone levels over four hours. This test helps us confirm or rule out adult growth hormone deficiency.
- Cortisol response to cosyntropin: We give you cosyntropin, which acts like ACTH . ACTH is a hormone produced in the pituitary gland that stimulates the adrenal glands to produce cortisol. We measure cortisol levels every 30 minutes for one hour. This test helps us confirm adrenal insufficiency.
- Glucose tolerance test: We give you a sweet drink, which should lower levels of growth hormone. We measure levels of growth hormone in the blood every two hours. This test helps us confirm acromegaly.
- Cortisol response to dexamethasone: You take a pill at night that should block cortisol production. The next day we take a blood sample to measure cortisol levels. This test helps us confirm or rule out Cushingâs syndrome.
- Metyrapone suppression test: You take a pill at night that should block cortisol production. The next day we take a blood sample to measure cortisol and ACTH levels. This test helps us confirm or rule out adrenal insufficiency.
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What Is An Estrogen Test
Your doctor may also call these estrone , estradiol , estriol , or estrogenic hormone tests.
If your doctor needs to check to see if you might have a condition caused by too much or too little of a certain estrogen type, they may recommend that you take an estrogen test. Itâs a simple blood test, and it can measure up to three types of this estrogen:
- Estrone, or E1, the main hormone women make after menopause
- Estradiol, or E2, the main hormone women make when they arenât pregnant
- Estriol, or E3, a hormone women make more of when theyâre pregnant
Best Home Hormone Test Kit
Home testing kits typically use saliva or blood from the fingertip to measure your levels of cortisol, key thyroid hormones, and sex hormones such as progesterone and testosterone. Some tests may require a urine sample.
In spite of that, are at home hormone tests accurate?
Cost range: a basic urine test is only about $9.99, while a more extensive blood test can cost anywhere from $39 to $59. The verdict: Unfortunately, high or low levels of all these hormones is not a reliable indication of whether or not you are going through menopause, says Salas-Whalen.
By no means, is there an at home estrogen test? Estrogens can be tested in blood, urine, or saliva. Blood or urine is usually tested in doctors office or lab. Saliva tests can be done at home.
Somehow, how do I know if my hormones are balanced?
5 Signs Your Hormones Are Out of Balance
What kind of doctor do you see for hormone imbalance?
In medicine when a doctor specialises in diagnosing and treating conditions that are caused by, or that affect your hormones, they are called an endocrinologist. Most endocrinologists work in endocrinology and/or diabetes departments in general hospitals, rather than in a GPs surgery.
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Common Symptoms Of A Hormonal Imbalance
Hormonal imbalances can cause many different symptoms. Some common issues to look out for include:
- A bulge in the neck
Many symptoms of a hormonal imbalance can be misleading. For example, both weight gain and weight loss can be symptomatic of a hormonal imbalance. So, its really difficult to just rely on symptoms to understand which specific hormone is the root of the problem. This is when getting tested becomes handy.
If youre having trouble falling asleep, you may have low progesterone levels that are usually in charge of helping you fall asleep. On the other hand, high progesterone levels could be problematic as well, as these will make you feel sleepy even if youre getting enough rest.
Low melatonin gives your body a signal that its time to rest. Low estrogen can give you night sweats that can be unbearable for many.
If youre struggling with any symptom of a possible hormone imbalance, you need to get tested. Your hormone levels will depict the root cause of the symptoms you are experiencing and, you will be able to target them properly.
Why Would You Go To An Endocrinologist
You would be referred to an endocrinologist by your family doctor, or you can visit him/her on your own if
- You are a diabetic and
- Your high blood sugar level has not been controlled by your doctors treatment
- Your doctor does not have experience in treating diabetes
- You are on many insulin shots or on an insulin pump
- You have developed complications of diabetes
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Causes Of Hormone Imbalance
Most cases of hormone imbalance occur in women older than 35, although an imbalance may develop at other ages. Hormone imbalance may be caused by a number of contributing factors, which include the following:
Women suffering from hormonal imbalances may experience headaches, depression, mood swings, irritability and memory lapses.
Balance Your Hormones To Optimize Your Life
If you feel like you need to be recharged, restored, and revitalized, & /or that you just arent the happy, energetic, focused, full-of-life individual that you used to be, you might benefit hugely from a snapshot of your hormonal health because if anything is out of balance, reoptimizing it will reoptimize every single aspect of your life!
Remember- hormones dont have to suck they should always be your friend, ally & protector. When you feel as if they are becoming your enemy, dont just live with it fight back and let us restore you to optimized hormonal health once again!
If you or someone you love would benefit from a hormone test, contact us today we are waiting to take your call.
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The Doctor Prescribed Three Kinds Of Medicine For Me
Hormonal imbalance in men over 50 years of age usually involve a decreased growth hormone you should always speak with your doctor before you follow anything that you read on this website. This way patients get a customized blend of hormones that will provide exactly what they needed. In this article, learn more about how to tell if a person has a fever. Even then, not all hormones are recommended for hormone imbalance is a broad term. Do i need my primary care doctor or should i see a specialist? If your pcp does not want to check your levels you can see an integrative medicine specialist or a functional medicine doctor. Hey listen, its gonna take a lot more money going to a specialist when some issues could have been clarified with a primary care physician. Nonhealing sores in your mouth or persistent white. These specialists assess and treat internal glands that produce hormones and other bodily functions. But what should you really do with. Is there a one stop shop for my issues or should i see. Becoming a doctor is not an easy path. What kind of doctor should i see?
But i really advise not to go to a specialist. Medicines should not be stored in your bathroom because heat and humidity can affect the potency of the drug. Do i need my primary care doctor or should i see a specialist? These drugs are tailored according to every persons needs. Take this quiz to find out what kind of doctor you should consider.
Why Blood And Serum Hormone Tests Do Not Reflect Your Symptoms:
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Do: Consider Having Both A Conventional And Integrative Hormone Doctor
Because of the different tools that the above providers have in their toolkits, youll likely benefit from having both a conventional and integrative practitioner in your corner. This will allow you to have access to a wider repertoire of treatments, and you can experience the best of both worlds.
For example, women with PCOS may benefit from having a conventional practitioner who can prescribe medications like birth control, hormone modifiers, and anti-inflammatories, and help with symptom management. Meanwhile, an integrative provider can look into diet, stress, poor gut health, and other factors that are known to contribute to an underlying hormonal imbalance .
Keep in mind, this is just an example, and not all women with PCOS will require all of the above interventions.
In the clinic, I often see that hormonal imbalances can be resolved through healing the gut, lifestyle changes, and other holistic treatments. However, in some cases, prescription medications may be necessary for the treatment of hormonal disorders. Using natural therapies together with pharmaceuticals can help reduce the number of medications you need to take, the strength of medications needed, and any unwanted side effects.
As you can see, blending conventional and complementary medicine can offer you more treatment options and a higher quality of care. In our next section, well discuss what to look out for when choosing your hormone doctor.
Period Problems And Period
A common complaint of women who visit Madison Womens Health is irregular periods or unexpected changes to their periods. A period is considered irregular when it occurs more often than before or less often than before, or if the amount and duration of bleeding has changed significantly for repeated months. Is your period suddenly much heavier than it has been? Or are you not having a period at all?
Keep track of your cycles, when you begin to bleed, and for how long. A popular app among our patients for tracking cycles is Period Tracker Period Calendar , although there are many options. Let your doctor know how many days there are between your periods and what your typical flow is like. Discuss what is different and why you are concerned. Let them know if youre under more stress than before, if youve changed your diet or exercise recently, or if you have a family history of irregular periods.
These changes could have a structural cause having to do with your cervix or uterus or a hormonal cause. Your doctor will likely want to perform a physical exam and may also check specific hormones on a specific day of your menstrual cycle.
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Fertility Problems Caused By Hormone Imbalances
Another common time women ask for a hormone checkup is when trying to conceive. Typically, 84% of women get pregnant after a year of unprotected sex. When conception doesnt happen, one reason could be a hormonal imbalance. To learn more, read our extensive article about fertility challenges here.
Again, its important to track your menstrual cycle, including the dates you have unprotected sex, to give your doctor a picture of what your reproductive cycle is doing. Keep in mind that your partner should also be tested for structural or hormonal issues if you have been trying to conceive for some time.
If youre having your period too often , then your uterus cant sustain a fertilized egg. If your periods are too far apart , your ovaries may not be releasing eggs often enough into your fallopian tubes.
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 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.
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Questions Your Doctor May Ask
To help determine the cause of ED, your doctor may ask about your medical and sexual history. Be prepared to answer these questions honestly. Details about your past may provide important clues to the cause of your ED.
According to the Mayo Clinic, your doctor may ask about:
- other health problems and chronic conditions
- other sexual problems
So many women come to me after trying to explain the symptoms shes experiencing before, during or after menopause to a conventional physician and failing to get any answers. They just want someone who can help them feel better and they deserve to find the help they need!
Hormonal imbalance can cause confusing and sometimes frightening symptoms. You need someone to help you sort through whats going on in your body, and to help you find solutions. And when you talk to your doctor, you shouldnt come away feeling even worse because they dont have any solutions to offer. There are lots of options but conventional health care practitioners often default to the same old thing, whether it works or not. They may not even acknowledge that theres another way!