Getting your hormone levels checked
It’s very common for women to be confused by their hormones and how they might be affecting their health. We can experience a wide range of symptoms, often without really knowing what might be behind why we feel tired all the time or permanently stressed, for example. Understanding your hormone level picture can provide valuable insight on the lifestyle steps you can take to better manage your symptoms.
We caught up with functional medicine practitioner and our resident hormone expert, Sue Camp, for a fascinating chat on all things hormone tests.
How can hormones be measured?
Hormones can be measured in three ways – in blood, urine, and in saliva. Each way is helpful as it provides us with different but important information.
There are several hormones that can be checked via a blood test such as the key menstrual cycle hormones - estradiol, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinising hormone (LH), progesterone, testosterone and DHEA. Your cortisol (stress hormone) levels can also be checked via a blood hormone test too. Omnos offers an at-home Female Sex Hormone Complete blood test that looks into these as well as twenty other biomarkers.
When we look at your hormones via a urine profile, this can tell us how your body metabolises and processes your hormones. Omnos uses a revolutionary model of hormone testing that’s known as the DUTCH profile. The DUTCH test uses four dried urine collections over a 24 hour period and provides us with a comprehensive overview of your sex and adrenal hormones as well as informing us which pathways are involved in how your body processes (or metabolises) each hormone. By carrying out both the blood and urine profiles to assess your hormones, this combined testing approach would provide a complete picture of what’s happening with your hormones.
Saliva testing can be particularly helpful for mapping the cortisol hormone and your stress response. It’s very easy to measure saliva and we often repeat the test three or four times a day to plot the curve to help us learn how your cortisol fluctuates and ebbs and flows.
Why would you have your hormone levels checked?
There’s a big range of symptoms that can be addressed by understanding our hormones and their pathways. If you are experiencing symptoms such as irregular periods, heavy periods, a change in cycle length, mood swings, sleep issues or weight gain, for example, these are all signs of hormone imbalances.
You may also have symptoms of oestrogen dominance or low testosterone yet not realise that these could be contributing negatively to how you currently feel. As part of having your hormone levels checked, you will also receive personalised and easy to implement lifestyle advice such as following sleep hygiene steps so you get a better night’s rest.
What can the Omnos Hormone Profile tell me?
For regular cycling women who are pre-menopausal, the DUTCH profile can provide an indication of your hormone levels. For women that are perimenopausal, although their hormone levels are likely to be fluctuating, there is still a lot of information that can be learned. We can take a look at your cortisol level, for example, to understand how your body responds to stress. We can also analyse your sleep cycle learn more about your melatonin production. Although your hormones might be all over the place, we can still learn about the way your body is metabolising those hormones through your liver pathways. This can be very insightful. If an individual is on the contraceptive pill or is taking hormone replacement therapy to manage their menopause symptoms, hormone testing can help us to identify how well their system is dealing with the hormones that are being received.
No matter which stage of your menstrual journey you are on, everyone could learn invaluable insight about their unique hormone picture.
Visit the Omnos shop to checkout the tests mentioned in the article.
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