Struggling With Hormone Imbalances?
When I ask you to think about hormone issues, what is the first words that come to your mind?
Endometriosis, pms, mood swings, weight gain, insomnia, pcos or even hair loss?
Those are quite common symptoms of hormone imbalances, but what are some of the other hormone symptoms you can have?
Let me name a few….
Fatigue – this is more common than you might think, and your hormones have a lot to do with it!
Low Libido – a lack of interest in sex, has a lot to do with hormones.
Weight loss Resistance – Hormones definitely contribute to weight gain and weight loss resistance.
Aching muscles and joints – Did you know that your hormones can actually cause you pain when they are imbalanced?
Hair loss – Hair thinning all over the head can be a sign of high androgens and other hormone imbalances.
Ovarian Cysts – This is definitely a sign that your hormones are needing some balancing.
Dry Eyes – Yes, dry eyes can also be caused by hormones.
Anxiety and Depression…
Hot flashes, insomnia, mood swings, water retention, cramps, constant colds, and many, many more…….
So, what can you do about it?
First and foremost, I suggest learning the differences between testing your hormones with blood, urine and saliva.
Yes, they are very different.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN BLOOD, URINE AND SALIVA TESTING!
Blood is an accurate reading of what is happening at one point in the day. It is great for testing the overall picture. Blood or serum is great for testing peptide hormones and total hormones such as Follicle stimulating hormone, LH, prolactin, insulin and even thyroid hormones (if the free form is included).
But, for sex hormones no distinction is made in blood between bound hormones and free hormones (the hormones your body can use).
Women have three different kinds of estrogen in the body: estradiol, estrone and estriol. In blood they are only tested as one hormone. Meaning we can’t tell the difference between the good and bad estrogens in the body by evaluating blood.
This can lead to misleading results!
It can cause hormones to appear completely normal or even high normal. Remember blood is only testing the total of your three estrogens.
But, if the free hormone level is low (your available hormone or usable hormone) you can still feel like a hot hormone mess. Even if your doctor has told you that your hormones are normal!
Serum hormone testing also does not measure estrogen, adrenal or androgen metabolites. So, it does not show how those hormones are breaking down in the body and how well the liver’s phase one and two detoxification is working.
Saliva has become really popular over the years. Saliva is non-invasive and quite easy to do. The benefit to saliva is that it allows for multiple collections over a 24 hour period, or even an entire month. This allows you to see abnormal hormone patterns, such as shortened luteal phase (the second half of a woman’s cycle), or even cortisol patterns over the entire day.
A Saliva test measures free hormones (your usable hormones or bioavailable hormones), which makes it a better measure then blood for evaluating hormone profiles.
Remember blood is measuring your total hormones and only at one point in the day, which does not give you a good indicator of hormones that may dip or spike during certain times in the month.
Saliva is a good measure of Estradiol, estrone, and estriol, progesterone, testosterone and DHEA. But, saliva does not show steroid hormone metabolites. This is limiting as it does not show you how your hormones are breaking down, or if they are being reabsorbed.
The 24 hour urine hormone test is the preferred method for testing hormones. It tests for hormones secreted at night, like cortisol and melatonin as well as growth hormone.
Got insomnia or sleeping trouble? This test can show you why!
Urine testing measures unbound hormones, reflecting the bioavailable hormones or the hormones that are available for use right now!
The advantage of urine testing is the ability to measure hormone metabolites. It will show your estrogen levels good and bad, and whether they are metabolizing down a pathyway that can be carcinogenic. Urine will also show how Androgens are metabolizing in your body, whether they are going down the pathway that will cause hair thinning and androgenic alopecia etc.
Urine testing can show the balance of protective “good” estrogens, compared to harmful or “bad” estrogens and whether your treatment protocol is working. This is huge! No longer do you have to wonder if you are getting anywhere with what you are taking!
Urine hormone testing measures both phase 1 and 2 liver detoxification. It shows how well the liver is metabolizing estrogen, among other hormones and how well the liver is functioning, which is huge in everything from hormone imbalances to depression and anxiety.
Urine is also an excellent test to evaluate adrenal health and function. It not only measures DHEA and DHEAs, but measures cortisone and cortisol, telling us the status of your adrenal glands and if adrenal fatigue is an issue.
In my opinion, urine is the gold standard of hormone testing.
I tested my Urine hormones a year ago. It led me to some eye -opening discoveries.
I found out that my liver’s phase two detoxification was quite low (I suspected as much) and that my estrogens were beginning to metabolize down a carcinogenic pathway. THIS IS HUGE. Essentially, this test allowed me to begin treating this issue before it became significant.
Blood would never have been able to show me this.
If you would like to discover your hormone profile, as a Functional Medicine Practitioner, I have begun offering these tests.
You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more or sign up for a Functional Medicine Consultation here to test your hormones.
In good health,
Medical Intuitive, Functional Medicine Practitioner & Author