When You Should Consider Receiving Hormone Lab Tests
Did you know more than 80% of women in the United States suffer from a hormonal imbalance, and the most common imbalance for men is a decrease in testosterone levels?
The truth is millions of people suffer from hormonal imbalances but don't always recognize the symptoms. For this reason, hormone lab tests are crucial in getting healthy and staying healthy.
Hormone lab tests also guide hormone therapy and ongoing treatment and management of the hormonal imbalance that affects your life.
To learn more about hormonal imbalance and hormone lab tests, keep reading this guide to learn everything you need to know.
What Is a Hormonal Imbalance?
The first step to understanding a hormone imbalance is understanding hormones. Hormones are your body's tiny chemical messengers. Hormones are produced in your endocrine glands and tell your organs and tissues what to do.
Hormones are crucial to how your body functions and are responsible for your body's main processes like metabolism and reproduction. The smallest change in the number of hormones your body produces can have major effects on your entire body.
When you're diagnosed with a hormone imbalance, you have too much or not enough of certain hormones.
Medical Conditions That Affect Hormones
Medical conditions that most affect hormones include diabetes, thyroid conditions, and pituitary tumors.
Autoimmune diseases like Graves' Disease and Hashimoto's Thyroiditis can affect your hormone levels. Also, growth hormone problems like gigantism (acromegaly) happen in children when the pituitary gland produces too much growth hormone.
Risk Factors For a Hormonal Imbalance
Hormonal imbalances are becoming more and more common, mostly due to lifestyle factors and toxins. Risk factors for hormonal imbalance include:
- Old age
- Being overweight or obese
- A poor diet
- Not enough exercise
- Excess stress
- Toxins in your diet like excess sugars, chemicals, and food dyes
Causes of a Hormonal Imbalance
There are many causes of hormonal imbalance. Causes vary, depending on what glands or hormones are affected. Common causes include:
- Hormone replacement therapy
- Certain medications
- Cancer treatments like chemotherapy
- Cancerous or benign tumors
- Pituitary gland tumors
- Eating disorders
- Trauma or injury
There are also medical conditions that lead to further hormonal imbalances like congenital disorders that cause low levels of certain hormones. Other conditions include:
- Thyroid nodules
- Addison's disease
The most common cause of hormone imbalance is a polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) for females of reproductive age. Other causes are menopause, pregnancy, and breastfeeding.
Signs and Symptoms of a Hormonal Imbalance
Since your hormones play a huge role in your health, there is a range of symptoms you can experience depending on which hormones are out of balance. Common signs of hormonal imbalance in both men and women include:
- Weight gain
- Muscle weakness and fatigue
- Muscle aches, stiffness, and tenderness
- Pain, swelling, and stiffness in your joints
- A decrease or increase in your heart rate
- Sweating and increased sensitivity to heat and cold
- Frequent urination and increased thirst
- Depression, anxiety, or irritability
Symptoms of hormonal imbalance for females include:
- Heavy, irregular periods, or missed periods
- Excessive hair on your face, chin, or other body parts
- Acne on your face, chest, or back
- Hair loss
- Vaginal dryness
- Painful sex
- Night sweats
Symptoms of hormonal imbalance for males are slightly different. symptoms to watch for include:
- Development of breast tissue
- Breast tenderness
- Erectile dysfunction
- Decrease in body hair
- Loss of muscle mass
- Loss of bone
- Difficulty with concentration
Children with hormonal imbalance usually experience delays in puberty. Boys have a lack of development in muscle mass or a voice that doesn't deepen. Girls will have a lack of menstrual periods and breast development.
Diagnosis of a Hormonal Imbalance
If you think you have signs and symptoms of a hormonal imbalance, it's important to make an appointment to see your doctor.
Your doctor will ask you about your past medical history, do a physical exam and ask you about the symptoms you're experiencing.
While there are many blood tests that can diagnose a hormone problem, your doctor will recommend testing hormones based on the symptoms you're experiencing.
Lab Tests for Hormonal Imbalances
Hormone tests start with a hormone baseline blood test panel for women and a baseline blood test panel for men.
Tests in this panel include a cortisol test to measure the amount of cortisol in your blood. Cortisol is a steroid hormone made by the adrenal gland. A DHEA levelalso measures how much DHEA-sulfate is in your blood.
An Estradiol level is another important test to measure the number of sex hormones and how your ovaries function.
The men's and women's panels include checking your follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone or FSH and LH level. These hormones are critical to maintaining the normal function of both the male and female reproductive systems. And a testosterone level is necessary to identify low testosterone levels in males and elevated levels in females.
Another important hormone to measure is your thyroid-stimulating hormone. A thyroid-stimulating hormone level will assess if your thyroid is overactive or underactive. Finally, an insulin and blood glucose level check your blood sugar levels and risk for diabetes.
FAQS About Hormonal Imbalances
What specialist should I see about a hormonal imbalance? You should first visit your regular family doctor. If your doctor suspects you may have hormone problems, they can refer you to an endocrinologist.
How much can hormones affect my mental health? Fluctuating levels of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone can cause you to have mood swings and depression.
What is bioidentical hormone replacement therapy? Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is a natural hormone therapy that uses compounds that have the same structures as those you naturally make in your own body.
Hormone Lab Tests With Ulta Lab Tests
Ulta Lab Tests offers highly accurate tests, allowing you to make informed decisions about your health. Here are some amazing things to love about Ulta Lab Tests:
- You'll always get secure and confidential results
- Never a need for health insurance
- No need for a physician's referral
- Always affordable pricing
- A 100% satisfaction guarantee
Order your hormone lab tests today, and your results will be provided to you securely online in 24 to 48 hours in most cases.
Take charge of your health and shop with Ulta Lab Tests today!