Question: I think my hormones are out of balance. What tests should I ask my Doctor for?
First, good for you to recognize that one major area of our bodies often “out of balance” is our hormones!
What does it mean to have hormones out of balance?
When you simply do not feel like yourself, are irritable (raging?), gaining weight, waking up in the middle of the night, experiencing hot flashes, enduring night sweats, dealing with a dry, painful, vagina, have no sex drive, and are frequently anxious… these things can often be a major clue that our symphony of hormones (over 50!) might be out of whack.
For men with hormones out of balance, you might be experiencing lower libido, exhaustion, less stamina, loss of muscle tone, irritability, and sleeplessness. Men also have an array of hormones that function together – when one is out of balance, it will affect many aspects of how we feel.
It is important to get a baseline hormonal blood panel and/or saliva test done by a qualified health practitioner who knows how to accurately interpret the tests. Often, these are called Integrative Physicians, Bio-identical Hormone Doctors, and Healthy Aging Practitioners. I love their training – usually medical background, nutrition, hormones, herbs and more! They work collaboratively with YOU, the client, who is always your own best health advocate.
The tests you want to have done in a blood panel include: FSH, LH, DHEA-S, Progesterone, Estradiol, TSH free, T4 free T3 and Thyroid antibodies, Cortisol, Bioavailable Testosterone, fasting insulin, and CRP (for inflammation). For men it will be a reduced list, although many will be the same.
If you are really feeling your hormones are out of balance – maybe you’re exhausted and sleepless – then having a Saliva test done for all hormones, including the 4 point Cortisol test, is important for accuracy. This is especially crucial to get a true reading of the Cortisol fluctuations during the day and evening.
Your Practitioner will advise you which testing method, or both, is best for you. Then they will sit with you to review your results, make recommendations on supplements, BHRT as needed and more.
Best of luck on your health/hormone journey and solving fixing your hormones out of balance once and for all!
Camille Lawson RN, BA, MEd
Hormone, Sexuality and Health Advisor
Listen to Camille & Susan’s Amazing Podcast
Are Your Hormones Out Of Balance? Hormones & Relationships (Feb. 5, 2015 Release)