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For many years I’ve suspected my hormones were off. Right before I got pregnant with my third son in 2011, I remember having unusually painful cramps, headaches, hormonal acne, low energy and mood swings. I chalked it up to PMS. My OB/GYN suggested birth control, which I tried and BAM! I got pregnant. So much for that.
Much of those symptoms went away because I was pregnant, but after I started weaning my third son from breastfeeding I noticed the symptoms returned and with a vengeance. In particular, I felt moody (especially in the mornings – and I am a self-proclaimed night owl but even for me I could tell I was particularly cranky in the mornings), irritable, fatigued and had horrible hormonal breakouts again all around my chin.
Well, all of those symptoms are signs of a hormonal imbalance. And that’s not all. Signs of a hormonal imbalance can include things you would NEVER associate with hormones such as foggy thinking, forgetfulness, insomnia, anxiety, difficulty sleeping and much more (read the 21 signs of a hormonal imbalance).
I wanted to get tested, but wanted a more holistic approach to dealing with my hormonal imbalance. Then I learned about hormone testing at home.
Unlike what many of us think, it’s not just about estrogen and progesterone when it comes to hormone balancing in women. It’s about balancing the key hormones in the body to maintain optimal wellness.
Below are the key hormones in the body (according to Pure Prescriptions1):
1. Estrogen – there are three forms made by the body: estrone, estradiol and estriol. The form used in past hormone replacement therapies is estradiol, often in the form of concentrated pregnant mare’s urine (Premarin). It is a proliferative (causes growth) hormone that grows the lining of the uterus. It is also a known cancer-causing hormone: breast and endometrial (uterine) in women and prostate gland in men. It will treat menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, insomnia and memory-loss. With the bio-identical formulas estriol is matched with estradiol to provide protective effects and additional estrogenic benefits. The other major protector in keeping estradiol from running amok is progesterone.
2. Progesterone is called the anti-estrogen because it balances estradiol’s proliferative effects. It is considered preventive for breast and prostate cancers as well as osteoporosis. In addition too little progesterone promotes depression, irritability, increased inflammation, irregular menses, breast tenderness, urinary frequency and prostate gland enlargement (BPH).
3. Testosterone is an anabolic hormone (builds tissue) that is essential for men and women. The proper level of testosterone is necessary for bone health, muscle strength, stamina, sex drive and performance, heart function and mental focus.
4. DHEA is an important adrenal gland hormone, which is essential for energy production and blood sugar balance. DHEA is a precursor to other hormones, mainly testosterone.
5. Cortisol is your waking day hormone (highest in the morning and lowest at night). It is necessary for energy production, blood sugar metabolism, anti-inflammatory effects and stress response. Estrogen and progesterone are the most common treatments used in hormone therapy (HT), hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) for women.
But these types of treatment is a one-size-fits-all approach that doesn’t even take adrenal hormones into consideration. The key here is to find out how ALL of our hormones are interacting together to get the full picture.
At-Home Hormone Testing
When it comes to hormones, one size does not fit all. Our hormones are like fingerprints – we all have different levels and a one-size-fits-all treatment or solution will not work. For optimal wellness, we need to find out our specific imbalances for all key hormones in the body.
Lab tests are the key in hormone testing. There are several ways to test hormones, including saliva, serum and urine – but I’ve found that accurate testing can be done easily at home through saliva.
I got this at-home female hormone lab test from True Health Labs. It’s suitable for men or women. The kit came with instructions and 4 vials for me to collect saliva samples (morning, noon, dinner and right before bed) – and the collection had to happen at a certain point in my menstrual cycle (day 19) to get the most accurate reading. This test provides an assessment for estradiol/estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA, lutenizing hormone, follicle stimulating hormone, and cortisol (am, noon, dinner and before bed).
Consider how many hormone tests just measure at one point in the day. How accurate is that really? That’s why I loved this female hormone lab test – my hormones were tested throughout the day provide a more accurate picture of my hormonal status – not just my estrogen levels but my progesterone, testosterone and adrenal hormones too.
And the best part? You can schedule a one-on-one consultation with a functional medicine doctor with True Health Labs to go over your test results. There’s no need to schedule a doctor visits. There’s no need to drive to your appointment. Just add the consultation to your cart when you order the female hormone lab test. The entire process took about 2-3 weeks from the time I received the kit, sent in my samples, waited for the results, and had my consultation.
The Lab Results
I want to share with you in the hopes that it may help you to address hormone issues and imbalances too:
- My progesterone levels are very low.
- The number of days in my menstrual cycle are unpredictable – which could play a role in my progesterone levels and moodiness.
- Because my progesterone levels are so low, I have estrogen dominance (though my estrogen is at normal levels). Estrogen dominance is measured by the ratio of progesterone to estrogen levels in the body.
- My testosterone levels are within normal ranges.
- My DHEA and cortisol levels are high – and in particular my cortisol levels are lower than normal at night, which may be why I wake up in the mornings so tired and cranky. It also suggests that my adrenal health is not balanced – not quite adrenal fatigue (which is what I suspected) but still not within normal ranges.
- My diet and lifestyle assessment was normal – though as a working mom with three kids, stress does play a role.
Video: Are Your Hormones Out of Whack?
Female Hormone At-Home Test
Do you think your hormones are out of whack? You can do something about it. Get your hormones tested with the Female Hormone At-Home Test from True Health Labs.
Photo credit: DepositPhotos.com / wavebreakmedia
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