If you've been suffering from symptoms of hormone imbalance (whether you're pre, peri or post menopause), hormone testing can often be the missing link in your journey back to full health.
Doctors will often say that hormone testing is not worth doing, especially during peri-menopause. It's too unreliable as hormones are often fluctuating throughout the month.
And they're right when they only have access to blood tests, which are essentially a snapshot of one hormone in the blood at any one time.
But there are other ways of testing that can be incredibly useful for identifying what your hormones are up to, and therefore the best way to naturally support them.
Why test your hormones?
I often get asked why we do so much hormone testing with our clients? And the answer is simply because they get us the best and quickest results!
Of course, we start with a look at your symptoms and history and that gives us a good idea about what might be going on. But there are 4 main reasons we love to test;
- there’s no guesswork – we can get straight to the issue
- it’s totally personal – every woman is unique
- it’s motivating – when you see results on paper, it's easier to make the changes!
- it’s measurable – tests provide a baseline for us to measure your progress
And those 4 things get us better and faster results for women who want to get back to their best and get on with their lives!
Hormone Testing Options
So what tests are available at your doctor, and what can you get privately to measure your hormones?
There are several blood tests that your doctor may use to measure your sex hormones. You may get your FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone) and LH (Luteinising Hormone) levels tested. If these are raised it can indicate lower levels of oestrogen and progesterone, indicating you are peri menopausal – but it’s not that useful because you probably know that already!
You may also get your oestradiol (your main reproductive oestrogen) or progesterone tested, but doctors are often reluctant to run these tests and won't do them at all if you're over 45.
Why urine tests are the best
The good news is there’s a much better way to test your hormones. The hormone testing we offer is the most sophisticated and accurate test I’ve come across.
1/ It's done over 24 hours – it's a urine test that measures 4 samples that you do over a 24 hour period. This not only gives us your active hormone levels, but also the metabolites of those hormones over the course of a whole day, not just a snapshot. This shows a much bigger picture of how hormones are actually behaving, and crucially how they are being detoxified and eliminated.
2/ It's done at a certain point in your cycle – the timing of the test is in your luteal phase, roughly 5-7 days after ovulation if you are still having periods. This gives us a much more accurate picture of where your hormones should be at exactly that time of your cycle. If you’re not having regular periods, you can do the test any time, it still shows us where your hormones are and what they are up to.
3/ It measures all 3 of your Oestrogens – oestradiol, oestrone, oestriol. This gives us a more accurate picture of your overall oestrogen levels and which type your body is favouring. This is really useful when assessing whether you might need HRT, or whether you need to review your dose of HRT.
4/ It measures your adrenal health – not only are we looking at your sex hormones; all 3 oestrogens, progesterone and testosterone, but also your adrenal hormones, cortisol and DHEA. Again we are looking at your levels over 4 points of the day so we can see where your adrenals may be struggling. Knowing how your body is dealing with stress can give you that extra motivation to make some changes to support your adrenals. Not surprisingly I have only seen a handful of perfect cortisol results!
And the beauty of it is that you can do it in the privacy of your own home and its non-invasive.
Like I said above, you can do this test if you’re on HRT, to see where your levels are and if you’re on the right HRT and if you need to discuss your dose with your doctor. Or if you’ve got the Mirena coil – to see how it might be affecting your natural hormone production and therefore causing any symptoms.
How do we use the results of hormone tests?
This test is very useful;
- to know exactly where to focus your efforts
- to know what foods you need to focus on to give you specific nutrients
- to know what supplements you actually need (and not just what you think you should be taking),
- to identify whether HRT will actually be of benefit
- to understand the unique behaviour of hormones in the body and potential risks of further conditions
Once we know what’s going on for you as an individual, we can then tailor our protocols and get you rebalanced quickly. Not only can we focus on the symptoms you’re suffering from but we can also put in some preventative protocols too, so that we are reducing your risk of conditions down the line. And that’s why we get really good results for our clients, really quickly.
Hormone testing was life-changing for me back in my early 40’s. It enabled me to pinpoint the exact hormone imbalances that were causing my issues (fatigue, weight gain, brain fog, mood swings, night sweats). And by targeting individual hormones just using natural solutions got me really fast and effective results.
Who is this test for?
Testing may not be for you, but if any of these apply to you, then you might want to consider it;
- You're doing everything right, but still not feeling your best
- Your doctor has told you everything is ‘normal'
- You want to get to the root cause, not just manage your symptoms
- You would like to be ‘optimal' not just ‘normal'
- You need a personalised programme that is right for you
- You're prepared to invest in your health not just for now, but for the future
And this last one is important. Testing isn’t cheap, it’s all done privately. But suffering symptoms and missing out on being your best is probably costing you more. When you’re prepared to invest in your health and happiness, it can bring huge rewards.
image courtesy of www.michelestanford.com
Listen to this on Episode 7 of my Happy Hormones Podcast!