Have you been battling any of the following lately?
- Unexplained weight changes
- Random hot flashes or night sweats
- Brain fog or fatigue
- Decreased sex drive
If any of these symptoms are starting to affect your quality of life, you may have a hormone imbalance.
Fluctuating hormones are often understood to be the reason for menstrual cycles and mood swings, but they have so many more important roles than that. They’re responsible for nearly every subconscious action our bodies take to keep us happy and healthy, from our metabolism to our sleep cycles. So when you start showing symptoms of imbalance, it can be a sign that there’s something more serious going on.
One of the most effective ways to find out if you have a hormone imbalance is by taking a hormone test. They can help determine which, if any, hormones need to be looked at, and can give you a clear path towards helping you feel like yourself again.
How Hormone Tests Work
Hormone tests analyze the levels of key hormones in your system that could be causing your symptoms. If you’re perimenopausal or menopausal, some of these tests might include tests for estrogen, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), or progesterone.
Your hormone levels are then compared to reference ranges to determine whether or not your hormone levels are where they should be.
There are a couple of different methods for collecting hormone data including blood tests, saliva tests, or urine samples. Blood tests are the most common and accurate method for hormone testing since you can detect many of the key hormones that could be causing your symptoms in your blood. Most hormone tests don’t require any special preparation like fasting beforehand.
Traditionally, you would have to go into your doctor’s office to get a hormone test. However, there are now at-home tests that you can purchase to analyze your hormone levels from the comfort of your own home. These tests generally collect data via spit samples or “finger prick” tests, which require only a drop of blood and are generally less invasive than full blood draws. You would then send your sample back to a lab to be tested and receive a report online after analysis, usually within a couple of days.
When Is The Best Time To Test For Hormone Imbalance?
The best time to test for hormone imbalance is when you start to suspect that your hormones are not where they should be.
Some of the signs and symptoms of a hormone imbalance can be subtle, like irritability and fatigue, and can overlap with various illnesses, ailments, and lifestyle conditions. These can just seem like an inconvenience, but they could be an indication of a bigger problem like a thyroid disorder or even a tumor.
In addition, a lot of different hormone imbalances can have overlapping symptoms, which is why it’s especially important to get a test to determine what you as an individual need.
Top 5 Tests To Determine Hormone Imbalance
EverlyWell has several different hormone tests including a blood test for women, men, thyroid, and metabolism. You can also use the personalized report to decide your next steps and have a webinar with a healthcare professional to answer any questions about your results.
Cost: The Women’s Health Test costs $199, and you can also join a semi-annual subscription at $169.
Parsley Health offers a comprehensive hormone test for women and focuses on holistic healing. Their membership includes a doctor and health coach to help analyze the tests you take as well as a personalized plan after your results are in to help improve any hormone imbalances you do have.
Cost: You can try the test for free for the first two weeks, then buy either a 4 Month Plan for $229/month or a 12-month plan for $154/month. You can also pay upfront at a discounted rate.
This at-home test by Precision Analytical Inc. tests is one of the most comprehensive at-home hormone tests out there. It gives you an analysis of 35 different hormones, making it perfect for when you’re unsure which hormone levels are causing issues.
Cost: The test is $399. Also note that there are restrictions for ordering in New York Maryland, and Rhode Island.
The female hormone test by Let’s Get Checked is well-suited for anyone who is looking to get pregnant, since it tests for four different reproductive hormones. There are also other tests, like a cortisol and thyroid test, if you believe that those are the culprits. A team of nurses is on standby to help explain your results.
Cost: A one-time purchase is $129, and you can subscribe and pay $90.30 every three months.
This hormone blood test is specifically for women and can give a very comprehensive panel for all hormones associated with women’s health and aging. You can buy this test and get your results online, but you have to go to a lab of your choosing to do the blood test itself.
Cost: The test is $619. Be sure to check whether there is a participating lab near you to conduct the blood test before purchasing.
Interpreting The Results
The results of your hormone tests will give you a breakdown of each hormone tested and indicate whether or not your levels are in the healthy range based on reference ranges.
However, it’s important to understand that being inside or outside or a reference range is not necessarily a diagnosis on its own. Ranges are based on averages, but some people can fall out of the normal range and still be perfectly healthy, or vice versa. This is why it’s so important to consult with a doctor in addition to taking the test to determine what your own results mean.
Many at-home tests will also include access to a team of healthcare professionals who can explain your test results and give you ideas on what to do next.
So You Have A Hormone Imbalance … What Now?
The first step to take when you find out that you have a hormone imbalance is to contact your doctor. They can help you understand what your test results mean for you and give you specific steps to start moving forward.
They can also suggest the right modes of treatment for your specific case. Natural solutions, like vitamins, minerals, and herbs can help many people balance their hormones and improve their health, but they might not be the right answer for your imbalances.
There are also plenty of things that you can do at home to give your body the tools it needs to stay healthy, including eating a nutritious and balanced diet and taking supplements for hormonal balance.
Final Thoughts On Hormone Testing
With the availability of at-home testing, it’s now easier than ever before to understand and get a handle on out-of-control hormones. If you suspect that your hormones are making you feel out of sorts, a test is a great investment that can set you down the right path towards taking action and feeling better.