Hormone blood tests can reveal a lot of vital information about a woman’s health. For example, estrogen levels would reveal where a woman is in her menstrual cycle, helping to pinpoint fertility problems or show the beginning of menopause.
The blood tests measuring female hormone levels are also used to diagnose various medical conditions like diabetes or thyroid disease and help in evaluating the effectiveness of medications. The hormones commonly evaluated as part of a comprehensive hormone panel include estrogen, progesterone, Follicle-stimulating hormone, testosterone, and thyroid hormones.
The meaning of the results of these hormone tests depends on whether a hormone is higher than normal or lower than normal.
Estrogen is a group of three hormones, estradiol, estriol, and estrone. Of the three, estradiol is the most important as a major sex hormone responsible for female characteristics, healthy bones, and sexual functioning. Estrogen levels vary with age and the menstrual cycle. Low estrogen levels may be a sign of low body fat, anorexia nervosa, low testosterone, decreased pituitary function, or polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Some medications can also decrease estrogen levels. High estrogen levels may be caused by high blood pressure, diabetes, or obesity. Certain medications are also known to increase estrogen levels.
Progesterone is produced by ovaries to help prepare the uterus to receive the fertilized egg. While high progesterone levels bear little medical consequences, persistently high progesterone levels may show an increased breast cancer risk. Low progesterone levels during pregnancy may foreshadow premature labor or miscarriage. Progesterone levels are often measured to assess the risk of miscarriage or pinpoint the cause of infertility.
3. Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH)
FSH is produced by the pituitary glands and stimulates the growth of an egg in the ovary as it gets ready for fertilization. FSH levels often increase as the levels of estrogen and other hormones decrease in menopause to compensate for the loss. FSH levels are used in evaluating conditions like ovarian cysts, pituitary gland tumors, PCOS, menopause, infertility, and abnormal menstrual bleeding. High FSH levels are often linked to malfunctioning in the ovaries. On the other hand, low FSH levels are linked to congenital defects or diseases affecting the pituitary gland, or hypothalamus, or the hypothalamic-pituitary axis.
Testosterone is typically considered a “male sex hormone.” However, women also produce testosterone in the ovaries and adrenal glands before it is converted into estradiol with the help of enzymes. High testosterone levels may cause missed or irregular menstrual periods, infertility, acne, weight gain, or virilization – the development of secondary male traits. PCOS, anabolic steroid use, and ovarian cancer also cause high testosterone levels in females. Low testosterone occurs in menopause and causes a reduced sex drive.
5. Thyroid Hormones
Thyroid hormones are a group of hormones produced by the thyroid gland or the pituitary gland and are used in evaluating thyroid function. The three main thyroid hormones are thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), thyroxine (T4), and triiodothyronine (T3). The thyroid hormones test is included in the hormone panel as thyroid diseases are more common in women than men. Elevated thyroid hormone levels may cause light and/or irregular menstrual periods, hyperactivity, goiter, and weight loss. Conversely, low thyroid hormone levels during pregnancy might cause congenital thyroid problems for the baby, low birth weight, preterm birth, miscarriage, placental abruption, and preeclampsia.
Shot Health provides blood/Lab work services that will enable you to know your hormone profile. Our team of professional and certified nurse practitioners is available to discuss with you your health and the meaning of your hormone profile test results. Get in touch with us at www.shothealth.com