What you need to know about testing women’s hormones

When a woman goes to the doctor and says “I think my hormones are all messed up” she may be given a requisition to test her hormones.  When she’s told that her hormones are fine and brings the results to us, we often ask her to do them again.  Here’s why:

  1. The day of your cycle has everything to do with when you go to the lab.  Hormones vary with your cycle and they peak at different times.
  • Day 3 is when you test estrogen
  • Day 21 (or 7 days before your expected period) is when you test progesterone
  • This means that you need two requisitions
  1. TSH (thyroid hormone) can be tested at any time during your cycle.  If it is a repeat test, go at the same time of day as you went last time as the hormone can vary during the day.
  2. FSH (follicular stimulating hormone) should also be tested on Day3.
  3. Androgens, like testosterone and DHEA are tested to determine if PCOS is an issue.  DHEA and Testosterone can be tested at any point in your cycle.  We want to see free testosterone though as bound testosterone isn’t actively causing symptoms.

Beer Belly Blues – Book Review

I recently read this book when I was asked to by my patient. He is a 60 year old man with a beer belly. This book by Brad King is very easy to read and explains how a man’s body works as his hormones change. There was a lot you could take away from this book and here are some tips you can consider for yourself or the man in your life.

– Have lab blood tests done and analyzed

– Drink more water

– Lift weights – 3 sets of each exercise maximizes the effects

– Consume a Whey protein – get a hormone-free version. We sell some at the clinic.

– Work with a health professional to create a personalized plan for you.

Saliva Hormones Help Determine Herbs

One of my patients came in recently feeling sluggish, tired, emotional and with signs of hypothyroidism. Discussing a patient’s case fully is often enough to put me on the right path of treatment but I also find testing to be extremely helpful in determining exactly what is going on.

We decided to order a Thyroid blood test to show her levels. In naturopathic medicine we deal a lot in the grey areas and use a term called subclinical hypothyroidism where it’s not quite at the level of treating with pharmaceutical grade synthroid but may be addressed using herbs, diet and supplements. This is why its important to see the numbers on reports.

Her blood work came out fine. Then we turned to saliva hormone testing. Here is an example of a report we might get back: 

 

Her results came back as low cortisol. This was extremely helpful as some herbs used in adrenal formulas can decrease cortisol even further. I wouldn’t want to prescribe something that normally would be very helpful for most people but in her case, might make things worse.

Testing can sometimes get expensive but it is really helpful for the practitioner to measure what’s going on and then track it in the future to see your progress. Then you can literally see how you are improving.

As my favourite Scottish Reflexologist used to say, “If you don’t take care of your body, where are you going to live?”