Female Hormone Testing
A few symptoms commonly associated with female aging - weight gain, mood difficulties, sleep disturbances, bone less, etc. may be attributed to hormone fluctuations. But, as we alluded to, that's just the tip of the iceberg. A great many physical complaints that women experience as they age - and take for granted as a natural fact of growing older that they can't do anything about - are the result of hormone imbalances that, while natural - yes - can nevertheless be brought under control with astonishing ease through simple awareness and appropriate action. Indeed most of the symptoms so often dismissed as "signs of aging" can be alleviated, most frequently (and easily) through supplementation and suppression.
Getting your hormone levels tested has three clear advantages:
|We can work together to prevent and treat hormone-related symptoms and conditions|
|if indicated, hormone replacement therapies could be discussed and we could regularly monitor your progress|
|We could assess for you your risk of acquiring certain hormone-related diseases|
Additionally, most hormonal imbalances can be addressed at least in part with nutrition or lifestyle modification, through the addition or exclusion of certain foods in the diet, and/or starting to take certain vitamins or other supplements on a daily basis.
Because this is such an important point, we'd like to illustrate a bit further the broad scope of effects that hormonal imbalances can have on the female body and its cycles and rhythms. The following are just 4 examples of the severity, range, and relevance of symptoms women can experience due to deficiencies and/or excesses of certain hormones.
Bone-Loss: Testosterone and estradiol both help build up our bones. High levels of cortisol, which rise with age, break down the bones and get in the way of testosterone's bone-building property.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome: This condition, which makes it very difficult for the person afflicted to lose weight, can be associated with excessively high levels of DHEA and/or testosterone.
Hot Flashes: In a perfect case-in-point on the precariousness of hormonal balance, hot flashes can be the result of either too much or too little estrogen.
Breast Cancer: Studies have shown a similarity in the patterns of hormonal imbalances in women who have breast cancer. These commonalities are above-normal levels of cortisol and estradiol, below-normal levels of progesterone, and "out-of-range" levels of DHEA.
As you can see, the levels and proportions of hormones in our bodies are instrumental in keeping us healthy. And you can take charge of maintaining that critical balance by simply testing your hormone levels and taking action to rectify deficiencies and excesses.
Lastly, it should also be noted by diabetics and women at risk for diabetes, that imbalances in several hormones can be associated with resistance to insulin.
Here at Essential Health Solutions we use a fully-accredited medical lab for our Female Hormone Testing.
In our female hormone testing, we use a small sample of urine collected over a 24-hour-period to detect levels of the following hormones (descriptions follow at the end of this article):
Why a Urine Test and Not Blood or Saliva?
The reason we test hormone levels in urine collected in small amounts throughout a 24-hour period is because your hormone levels fluctuate throughout the course of a day, and this method provides us the clearest and most stable average of hormone levels that can be obtained. This is a far superior method to salivary testing and serum testing for hormones, both of which only give a "snapshot" of levels at one particular point in time.
Further, this method of measurement also gives us an indication of how those hormones are being metabolized as well as how much of the hormones in our bodies are actually bio-available. Neither a blood nor a saliva test can tell you that.
Description of Hormones We Test For
Estradiol- The primary and single-most potent form that the estrogen produced in women's bodies takes during their reproductive years. It is, in fact, the most powerful of the naturally-occurring female hormones. Produced in the ovaries, estradiol is involved in the menstrual cycle as well as in menopause. Estradiol imbalances can be indicated in headaches, weight gain, mood swings, PMS, and abdominal cramps, as well as more severe conditions like amenorrhea, endometriosis, and infertility. Low levels can double one's risk of cardiovascular function difficulties and bone-related illnesses.
Estrone - Another of the three kinds of estrogen produced in women's ovaries, estrone is prevalent during pregnancy, and like estradiol is also sometimes used to treat estrogen deficiencies as well as menopausal and postmenopausal symptoms and conditions.
Progesterone - The third of the three types of estrogen produced in women's ovaries (this one during ovulation particularly), progesterone is also produced, albeit in lesser amounts, by the adrenal glands. Progesterone is the kind of estrogen that enhances the beneficial properties of all the 3 types of estrogen, balances the levels all 3 together, and helps prevent problems associated with estrogen deficiencies or excesses. It is a precursor to almost all of the steroidal hormones produced in the body. It helps maintain pregnancies and regulate menstrual cycles. It is known to have soothing and calming effects as well as the properties of a diuretic.
Testosterone - Testosterone is involved in several important bodily functions: it helps regulate the body's energy levels, including both mental and physical motivation and acuity; it is the most pivotal hormone in maintaining the sex drive; and it's involved in building healthy muscles, bones, and skin. Low levels can be involved in osteoporosis (or a loss of bone density), reduced muscle mass, mental fatigue and burnout, low stamina, night-sweats, resistance to insulin, erectile dysfunction, low sex drive, depression, immune dysfunction, and cardiovascular disease; high levels can be involved in anger, aggression, and various health issues.
Cortisol - This is the primary hormone involved in the stress response; it's also the hormone responsible for giving us the motivation and energy to get out of bed each day at face life's daily challenges. Produced by the adrenal gland, cortisol (also known as hydrocortisone) is a steroidal hormone involved as well in regulating blood pressure and the metabolizing of carbohydrates. High levels are indicative of increased stress and have been associated with sleep difficulties as well as disrupting metabolism of blood sugar, leading to emotional difficulties as well as chronic tiredness and weakness. Low levels can be involved in low blood pressure and weight gain. Cortisol is an exception among hormones in that its levels tend not to decline with age but to rise instead, the effect being a decreasing resistance to stress over time. Additionally, over time a chronic cortisol imbalance unaddressed could result in joint and muscle pain, chronic insomnia, and premature aging.
DHEA - Produced by the adrenal gland, DHEA (its full name is dehydroepiandrosterone) is a steroidal hormone that is converted in the bloodstream into important sex hormones, like estrogens and androgens. It is involved in energy, mental and physical stamina, memory, mental/emotional outlook on life, the functioning of the immune system, and the metabolizing of body fat. It also seems to balance out the effects that cortisol has on the body, helping us to deal with the stress we experience. Interestingly, it is the singular hormone must abundant in the bloodstream.
Melatonin - Regulating our circadian rhythms, melatonin is known as the “sleep hormone” (although it's actually the region of the brain in charge of regulating our circadian rhythms that actually determines melatonin levels, and not the other way around). Melatonin supplementation has been found to be an effective sleep aid for many.