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What Can A Hormone Imbalance Test Detect?

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Hormones play a vital role in health, acting as the body’s internal messaging system. They are constantly working by sending signals from glands to certain parts of the body for different functions, such as sleep, metabolism, energy, sexual function, and more. Any hormone imbalance may wreak havoc in the body in varying ways depending on the hormones involved.

Let’s cover the different types, symptoms, testing methods, and treatment options for hormone imbalances.

What are hormone imbalances?

A hormone imbalance is when the body produces too much or too little of a certain hormone, which can cause many health issues. It’s important to identify and treat hormone imbalances as quickly as possible. Your doctor can offer proper testing to identify any imbalances and get you on the right treatment plan to feel your best.

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Some common hormone issues include thyroid imbalance, adrenal imbalance, testosterone imbalance, estrogen imbalance, progesterone imbalance, and insulin imbalance. Each of these can manifest different symptoms and can require different treatment options.

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Symptoms of hormone imbalances

Getting to the root cause of certain symptoms you may experience is an important aspect of health. There are a wide variety of symptoms associated with hormone imbalance, which vary depending on the hormone(s) involved. Symptoms may also be different depending on gender.

Symptoms of hormone imbalance may include:

  • Mood swings
  • Low libido
  • Painful or heavy periods
  • Poor quality of sleep
  • Weight gain
  • Weight loss
  • Skin problems
  • Fertility problems
  • Headaches
  • Slow or rapid heart rates
  • Numbness or tingling in hands
  • High cholesterol
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Memory fog
  • Dry skin
  • Acne
  • Thinning hair

Types of imbalances

Someone can have more than one hormone imbalance at the same time. Let’s explore a little about the most common types of hormone imbalance.

Thyroid imbalances

The thyroid is a small gland in the neck that creates hormones that affect many different systems in the body. Some of the most common thyroid issues are hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.

  • Hyperthyroidism is caused by an overactive thyroid, meaning it makes too many hormones.
woman touching her neck pointing to her thyroid
  • Hypothyroidism is known as an underactive thyroid, meaning not enough hormones are produced.

To determine if the thyroid is functioning properly, doctors test for the three hormones created by the thyroid: Triiodothyronine(T3), Tetraiodothyronine (T4), and Calcitonin.

Adrenal imbalances

Adrenal glands are the two small glands located above each kidney. Hormones produced in the adrenal glands include cortisol, adrenaline, and aldosterone, which are responsible for blood pressure, the immune system, and stress response. Adrenal disorders can cause the glands to overproduce or underproduce these hormones.

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Treatment options vary depending on the cause of the hormone imbalance. So far, researchers are unsure of why adrenal disorders happen or how to prevent them.

Progesterone and estrogen imbalance

Women’s hormones fluctuate on a monthly basis. Estrogen and progesterone both help each other’s function. Progesterone is created in the ovaries after ovulation, while estrogen rises during the monthly cycle’s first half or follicular phase. Progesterone may also be produced after ovulation or during the luteal phase.

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Symptoms of progesterone imbalance may include the following:

  • Absent or irregular period
  • Low libido
  • Depression
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Difficulty with pregnancy

Symptoms of estrogen imbalance may include:

  • Irregular periods
  • Painful sex
  • Mood swings
  • Hot flashes
  • Headaches
  • Weight gain
  • Fatigue

Testosterone and estrogen imbalance

Though testosterone is a predominantly male sex hormone, all people have it regardless of gender. Too little testosterone can cause low libido, loss of body hair, less lean muscle mass, fatigue, or obesity. All people have estrogen regardless of gender as well, and can experience the symptoms of estrogen imbalance.

Insulin imbalance

The body creates insulin in the pancreas. This helps glucose enter the body, which is used as an energy source. Glucose is derived from food; insulin is released into the blood when blood glucose rises and lowers glucose to a normal level. Some people have imbalances in how this process works. Insulin resistance is when the body builds up a tolerance to insulin, making this hormone less effective. This can lead to diabetes.

Scientist are unsure what causes insulin resistance and prediabetes; however, lifestyle factors, health, and genetics are thought to play a large role.

How does testing work?

Because imbalances of different hormones can cause such similar symptoms, testing is necessary to fully identify a hormone imbalance. It may seem easy to identify what kind of hormone imbalances you have based on internet searches. However, it is important to get professional testing to ensure you can properly treat your hormone imbalance.

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There are a few different ways to get tested. Tests may require blood, saliva, or urine samples. Some DIY at-home tests are available, but you should note that a doctor will want professional test results before beginning a treatment plan. You don’t usually need to do much to prepare for testing, though some doctors require fasting for certain blood tests.

It is best to have the guidance of a doctor when interpreting test results and deciding on a treatment plan. If hormone imbalances are not treated properly, they may manifest into worse health issues.

Treatment options for hormone imbalances

If you identify or test that you have a hormone imbalance, try to relax and not worry, as many treatment options are available to help balance hormones and restore health. Some lifestyle changes – such as diet, supplementation, and proper exercise – can help support treatment. Hormone replacement therapy and other prescription medications can also address hormone imbalance.

Hormone replacement therapy

Hormone replacement therapy is prescription medication designed to increase hormone production when too few hormones are being produced. It is available for many different types of hormones.

Final thoughts

Hormone imbalances are a common health problem among both genders. These imbalances can cause many different symptoms and health issues. Knowing what symptoms are getting tested and identifying imbalances is essential for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Working with a health professional to identify any hormone imbalances is important so that you can get a proper diagnosis and treatment.

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Lab Testing - Frequently Asked Questions

Why is it important to do lab tests occasionally?

It is important to do lab tests occasionally because they can provide valuable information about an individual's health and help to identify potential health issues early on. Lab tests can measure a wide range of factors, including blood count, cholesterol levels, liver and kidney function, and hormone levels, and can provide insight into an individual's overall health and wellness. Additionally, lab tests can help to diagnose and monitor the progression of certain medical conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, and can help to identify any potential health risks or concerns. By doing lab tests occasionally, individuals can take proactive steps to maintain their health and wellbeing and reduce the risk of potential health problems in the future.

What does a routine blood test cover?

A routine blood test is used to check for a range of things, including your blood count and the levels of certain chemicals and substances in your blood. Blood tests can also be used to check how well certain organs, such as your liver and kidneys, are functioning.

How is a blood sample collected for lab testing?

A blood sample for lab testing is typically collected through a process called venipuncture, which involves inserting a small needle into a vein to draw blood. This is usually done on the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand.

What is the cost of a lab test?

In general, the cost of a lab test can range from a few dollars to several hundred dollars. It is always best to consult with your doctor or healthcare provider to get an accurate estimate of the cost of a lab test.

Read More: Lab Testing FAQ