Do You Need A Hormone Test?

4 min read
Do You Need A Hormone Test?

Have you been feeling a little off, things not quite right but can’t pinpoint a cause? Sometimes we may experience vague symptoms such as tiredness, memory loss, weight issues, migraines, sleep problems, low libido, hair loss or stress. The list may seem endless and often we end up convincing ourselves these feelings are normal and part of being a busy mum.

Sometimes, they can also be a result of hormonal imbalances and can have a huge impact on our physical and emotional health and wellbeing. Often hormone related conditions such as menopause, hypothyroidism, adrenal fatigue and peri menopause will have similar and overlapping symptoms making an accurate diagnosis quite difficult. Hormone testing may mean diagnosis can be more specific allowing some treatments such as HRT to be better designed to suit the individual’s imbalances with less side effects and misdiagnosis in the long term.

Cortisol testing for example may prove that a woman having hot flushes is not in fact because she is menopausal but because her cortisol levels are high. She may be experiencing Adrenal Fatigue and  misdiagnosis not only wastes valuable healing time, it also means that patients are often given something to ‘try’ and see if it makes the condition better when it may well make the problem worse.

Blood or Serum tests are typically used by doctors to determine levels of most hormones. However, they are unable to distinguish between the active and inactive forms and tend to give only a rough estimate of hormone levels. They also only detect levels outside the cells as opposed to elsewhere in the body where they are active.

One exception to this is testing for a dysfunctional thyroid. The thyroids normal functioning is essential for normal growth, development and metabolic function. A blood test measures Thyroid Stimulating Hormone or TSH as well as free Thyroxine and is reliable means of testing for an imbalance.

24 hour urine testing is one of the most accurate methods of testing for hormone levels. It is not always particularly convenient especially if you are constantly on the go and can be quite expensive in comparison to saliva testing.

Saliva testing has proven to be an accurate reflection of hormone levels inside the cells, where the action takes place.  Saliva testing is also considered to be the gold standard for hormone analysis by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and is also used by NASA. It can be done in the comfort of your own home with multiple daily measurements giving the best results.

If you experience difficulty persuading your GP to order and organise alternative hormone testing for you such as saliva or 24 hour urine testing there are a couple of options. Tests can be ordered online through local Australian websites. The process is generally assisted by filling in a questionnaire to determine the most appropriate test to order. The completed test is then sent back to the lab.  When you receive the results you can take them to your GP or complimentary health practitioner for treatment options and advice.

The alternative may be to search for a Naturopath who specialises in hormone dysfunction who will assist with ordering the tests, provide detailed results information, treatment plans if applicable as well as follow up testing to ensure health goals are being met.

Have you dismissed vague symptoms as the ‘new norm’ and tried to just get on with it?

Have you had experience with hormone testing other than blood tests?

If you become concerned about your or anyone else’s health please seek immediate medical attention or go to our health hotlines and website post for further resources 

SAHM takes no responsibility for any illness, injury or death caused by misuse of this information.  All information provided is correct at time of publication. 


Jody Allen
About Author

Jody Allen

Jody Allen is the founder of Stay at Home Mum. Jody is a five-time published author with Penguin Random House and is the current Suzuki Queensland Amb...Read Moreassador. Read Less

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