A Quick Guide to How Your Hormone Levels Are Tested
Whether we like it or not, all women go through it.
As you age, your levels of hormones fluctuate, which causes uncomfortable and sometimes frustrating symptoms, like hot flashes and weight gain.
Sure, you can eat right, exercise more, and reduce stress to help minimize symptoms (which we highly recommend). But without proper hormone balance, it’s difficult to eliminate them.
That’s where bio-identical hormones come in. They replace the hormones you’ve lost, restore balance and bring zest back to your life.
But how do you know if hormone therapy is right for you? Or if it is, what dosage you need to feel healthy again?
In this article, we’ll explain how we test your hormone levels and create a custom therapy plan.
First, We Get to Know You
During our consultation, we talk about the symptoms you’re experiencing, your current lifestyle, and what lab work we need to create a therapy plan.
We check the baseline level of some important hormones, including levels of Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH), Estradiol (E2-a particular type of estrogen), Testosterone (T), and Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH).
The FSH level and estradiol level tell us how much, if any, your ovaries are functioning. Or, in other words, they help us understand if you’re in early, mid, or late menopause.
While TSH doesn’t affect your hormone therapy plan, it can cause some symptoms that are similar to menopause. This helps us eliminate the possibility of thyroid complications.
And did you know women also produce testosterone? While men produce about 10 times more, a woman’s adequate testosterone levels are essential for daily life stamina, the ability to create muscle mass through exercise and sex drive.
Of course, since we customize your therapy, we may request additional tests to address your specific needs.
Then, We Schedule Lab Work
For most people, insurance will cover lab work. But, if you don’t have health insurance or coverage for laboratory services, we can help you find a lab that’s budget-friendly.
Once we’ve determined the tests you need, we fax the order to your lab. At most labs, you can just drop in at your convenience to have your blood drawn, and at a few you can schedule an appointment online. The lab sends the results directly to us—this means you can visit any lab in your network, anywhere in the country.
This initial set of lab work helps us understand where you are now, so as we move forward we can track your progress.
For example, there is a range of normal hormone levels. What a normal level is depends upon the person’s age, body mass, genetic factors, current medications, dietary and exercise patterns, and many other factors.
But, while your best gal pal may feel great on the lower end of normal, you may need to reach the higher end to feel the benefits of hormone therapy.
Lab work helps us fine tune that therapy, so we can help you function at your best.
Finally, We Create Your Therapy Plan
As soon as the lab work is delivered and evaluated, we start your therapy.
For new patients, we may start with a moderate dose. This dosage comes in the form of a pellet, so your hormone levels are consistent throughout the day. Unlike a pill, patch, or cream where your levels may fluctuate.
In 4 to 6 weeks, we’ll test your levels again to see if you need a higher dosage or lower dosage. But once your levels look right, we won’t need lab work until your next dose.
For women, this is every 3 to 4 months. And for men, it’s usually 5 to 6 months.
But, why do we need lab work before each new dose? The reason is simple. Accuracy. We want to know where you are before giving you more bio-identical hormones.
For patients who have taken therapy for a long time, this might not be necessary. But in the beginning, we want to understand exactly how your body interacts with therapy.
Hormone therapy is the best way to get the vitality, energy, and life you used to have. And while we provide comprehensive, specialized services, our process is simple and easy to understand.
If you want to learn more about this process, schedule your own free, 15-minute consultation here.