What is a hormone test?
A hormone test is a test that checks for hormone levels and imbalances. As there are different hormones, there is also a range of different hormone-related tests. When hormones are in balance, you are in homeostasis however for different reasons hormones can become imbalanced. This can lead to a variety of symptoms. Hormone tests can assess these imbalances allowing medical professionals to recommend a course of action.
Although there are many different types of hormones, these can be classified into 3 families; lipid-derived, amino acid-derived, and peptide hormones.
Lipid-derived hormones are derived from cholesterol (the good one) and their (chemical) names end in either "-ol" or "-one". Testosterone (androgen) and estradiol (estrogen) are both lipid-derived hormones. These are the male and female sex hormones respectively.
Amino-acid derived hormones are produced by two specific amino acids; tyrosine and tryptophan and their chemical name will end in "-ine". Adrenaline is one example of this type of hormone which takes care of blood circulation, carb metabolism, and muscle work among other things.
Peptide hormones include hormones that are linked through peptides. Oxytocin and growth hormone are two types of hormones that are classified as peptide hormones. Oxytocin has several functions including social bonding and reproduction while growth hormone stimulates growth.
Why do a hormone test?
A hormone test can provide more information about any hormonal imbalances you might be experiencing. There are many things that can cause a hormonal imbalance including medical conditions and lifestyle decisions. Here are a few factors that can lead to hormonal imbalances.
- Over/underactive thyroid
- Poor nutrition
- Infections and allergies
When should you do a hormone test?
Because hormones regulate so many different functions of our body, the range of symptoms manifested by hormonal imbalance is wide-ranging. Here are some typical symptoms you might feel that may require a hormone test.
- Weight gain/loss
- Excessive sweating
- Sleeping problems
- Heart rate changes
- Reduced sex drive
What goes on during the Hormone Test procedure?
A hormone test can be carried out in different ways including blood, urine, and follicles testing. Pelvic exams and ultrasounds may also be carried out however the type of exam will largely depend on the symptoms being experienced and the type of hormonal imbalance the test is being run for. Other tests can include sperm counts and thyroid scans among others.
Whilst there are hormone home testing kits available on the market today, these do not offer the kind of insight a medical professional can. If you suspect a hormonal imbalance issue it is always advisable to seek the opinion of a medical professional. Try to take note of symptoms experienced and timelines to help narrow down the diagnosis.
There are a number of different therapies and medications that can treat hormonal imbalances. Speak to a specialist today.