Our bodies have chemical messengers which aid in the growth and regulation of different systems.
Hormones affect reproduction, mental health, and physical development. Both men and women have hormones which play different functions in their body’s daily functioning.
Hormone testing in women usually focuses on pregnancy, menopause, and thyroid.
Any kind of testing is done largely for the following reasons:
- Diagnosis: Hormone testing in women helps diagnose conditions like PCOS, tumors, infertility, menopause.
- Monitoring: Follows the diagnosis of a condition. Frequent testing helps monitor the treatment plan and if it is effective or not.
- Screening: Some tests are done to rule out potential issues even when there are no symptoms.
When should women get tested?
Hormonal imbalance can result in a wide range of symptoms since they affect so many systems in the body. The following symptoms are the most common reasons most women are recommended they get tested for hormonal imbalance:
- Difficulty in getting pregnant.
- Signs of menopause.
- Irregular periods.
- Heavy bleeding during periods lasting longer than usual.
- Severe acne.
- Abnormal hair growth.
- Sudden weight loss or gain.
- Difficulty regulating mood.
It is important to go to your doctor if you experience any of the above symptoms for an extended period.
Types of hormonal testing for women
There are different kinds of hormonal tests for women
- Testing for Menopause: Women hit menopause when they stop menstruating. Every woman experience menopause differently based on genetics, health history and lifestyle factors. Hormonal tests are especially useful for women who reach menopause before the age of 40, who have PCOS and women who’ve had uterine surgery.
- Fertility Tests: These are done when a woman has difficulty in getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to full term.
- Pregnancy Test: Testing for hCG helps determine if a woman is pregnant.
- Thyroid Test: The thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland that releases hormones supporting the body’s metabolism. Though thyroid also affects men, it is more common in women especially after pregnancy and menopause.
- PCOS (Polycystic ovary syndrome): When women have higher levels of male hormones, they suffer from PCOS. Studies have not been able to determine the cause behind PCOS, though it is thought to be connected to lifestyle management. Symptoms of PCOS include irregular periods, abnormal hair growth, acne, ovarian cysts.
How is hormones testing done
Hormone testing is done by either collecting blood or urine samples. While there are many at-home test kits available, a lab test will provide you with the most accurate result. Hormonal imbalances are usually symptoms of a more serious condition, and it is important to work with a doctor to diagnose and monitor your symptoms.