The Role of Hormone Tests
Tests are used to detect a hormone imbalance or determine if ongoing hormone therapy is having an effect.
Who should get testing?
It’s normal for hormone levels to fluctuate. There are even certain stages of life when you should expect a more dramatic shift in your normal hormone levels, such as puberty, pregnancy, or menopause.
However, other factors may cause an imbalance outside of those expected times. An imbalance can be caused by high levels of stress, steroid use, or even certain medications. Chronic hormone-related issues can often be attributed to tumors, adenomas, or other growths, damage to the endocrine gland, or an autoimmune disorder. Male hormone testing and female hormone testing will vary.
There are many medical conditions that can be caused by a hormone imbalance. You may want to consider hormone testing if you are experiencing any of these:
- Dry skin and hair
- Extreme thirst and frequent urination
- Higher than normal cholesterol levels
- Irregular heartbeat
- Numbness or tingling in the hands
- Sensitivity to temperature fluctuation
- Skin tags
- Unexplained weight fluctuation
Types of Hormone Tests
There are many different kinds of hormone tests, most of which involve fluid testing of some type — typically either blood or urine. Here are some of the more common hormone tests:
Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH) Test
More Hormone Tests
Getting a Hormone Test
Hormone tests are typically ordered by your doctor in response to a suspected imbalance. Your doctor may ask you several questions about current symptoms, family history, outside stressors, or any medications you may be on which could explain the imbalance. Hormone tests for men and women also vary depending on symptoms.
While hormone testing is usually performed in a medical setting, such as at a hospital or a clinic, you can also get testing done at for-profit labs or even use an online service to get tested.
Costs of hormone testing
The cost of a hormone test will vary by location and test type. Some clinics, usually community or nonprofit clinics, may offer free or low-cost testing if you meet certain income guidelines. Labs, clinics, and at-home testing companies may accept insurance to cover or lower your cost of testing.
But self-paying is always an option, particularly if you want to get tested without a doctor’s prescription.
The sample for a hormone test will depend on the particular test you’re taking. Hormone blood tests and urine tests are the most common.
Getting test results
You will typically receive your test results during a follow-up appointment with your doctor, over the phone, or through online medical charts. It’s important to discuss your results with a health care professional who can help you come up with a treatment plan as well as answer any of your questions about test results.
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