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Hormone blood tests

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This hormone blood test for women evaluates hormonal balance in both pre-and post-menopausal women, using a single blood sample. It looks at:

  • • Three estrogens – The balance of estrone, estradiol, and estriol.
  • • Progesterone – This hormone rises and falls during the menstrual cycle, influencing fertility and PMS, and after menopause it modulates the effects of estrogens
  • • Two androgens – Both testosterone and DHEA affect sexual function, body composition, and cognition
  • • Estrogen metabolites – The “2” and “16a” forms of hydroxylated estrone have different affects on genetic expression and rate of cell proliferation – their ratio may indicate a woman’s risk for breast and endometrial cancer
  • • Sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) – influences the circulating levels of free testosterone and estradiol.

DIAGNOSTIC TESTS TO DETERMINE IF YOU ARE GOING THROUGH EARLY MENOPAUSE

Okay, so you think you might be experiencing early menopause or premature ovarian failure. You’ve noticed a number of symptoms, and you suspect menopause might be at the heart of the matter. Now what? How can you be sure what is happening to you is menopause or POF and not something else? The only way to be sure, as you would expect, is to see your doctor.

Even then, you may run into problems. If your doctor has the knee-jerk reaction that a woman in her 20s or 30s is too young for menopause, you may wind up being misdiagnosed as suffering from anything from stress (the old catch-all) to absolutely nothing — the “it’s all in your head” diagnosis. This is why it is important for you to know what tests to ask for — and to know what those tests mean.

Following, then, is a list of the different hormone tests that may help you determine just what’s happening with your body — and whether or not your ovarian function is showing signs of menopause or ovarian failure.
Some important points to keep in mind:

— In general, if you’re still getting a period, most doctors recommend that you get your blood levels taken on day 3 of your cycle — that is, the third day of your period. If you no longer are getting a period, then you can get tested at any time.

— Because hormone levels can and do fluctuate, many doctors advise getting tested more than once — about a month apart. This is particularly important if you are still getting your period and/or have few symptoms, as there is a slim chance you’re experiencing what is sometimes called “temporary menopause” — a condition sometimes brought on by traumatic stress among other things. It’s also important if your hormone levels come back normal, but you are experiencing definite symptoms, since you may indeed be beginning menopause, but your hormone levels didn’t show it at that particular time.

— Different labs may use different ranges in their testing. So if and when you do get tested, be sure to ask your doctor not only for your specific results, but also for the range used by the lab.

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