Take a deeper look at your hormones
Your doctor says your hormones are fine. Time to test deeper.
How can you best assess what is going on?
Identifying a subclinical hormone problem is a like putting together a puzzle. Usually, there is not one simple test, but a rather combination of test results and symptoms. Here are some hints on how to proceed.
Hormone testing: Blood, saliva and urine tests
There is no perfect hormone test. You may need to look at hormones from a few angles.
Blood testing is good for some things, such as detecting menopause and confirming ovulation, but blood testing cannot accurately measure hormone levels during hormone replacement treatment.
Saliva testing is better for monitoring hormone replacement, and it is also a good choice for assessing oestrogen dominance and cortisol. Saliva levels can be somewhat unreliable. Both blood and saliva tests have the disadvantage of being a 'snapshot' look at hormones that fluctuate greatly during day.
24-hour urinary hormone testing has many advantages. Firstly, it measures total daily hormone production and metabolism. This avoids inaccuracy due to fluctuations. Secondly, it measures hormone metabolites as well as primary hormones. Hormone metabolites are hormones whose molecular structure has been changed in order to be excreted from the body.
Testing beyond hormones
Just knowing your hormone levels is not enough. Hormone balance and function is affected by other aspects of health, such as bowel and liver function. Your Naturopath will need to test for basic biochemistry, insulin balance, inflammation and more. Most of this is done by blood test, but some new urine metabolic testing is available.
Diagnosis by symptom evaluation
Your symptoms and medical history give us the best information. First consult is one hour to allow us time to gather this information.
You can start by checking your own hormones with our self-assessment quizzes.
What are the most common hormonal conditions?
- Thyroid disease
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Insulin and leptin problems causing weight gain
- Menopause and male menopause
- Oestrogen excess causing PMT, heavy periods and fibroids
Too little production of active thyroid hormone (T3) is easily overlooked by conventional blood tests. See Lara's article on underactive thyroid for more information about thyroid testing and treatment.
PCOS is a condition of high testosterone in women. It is associated with facial hair and infertility. This diagnosis is readily given by doctors, but is not always correct. See Lara's article on PCOS and our PCOS quiz.
Symptoms include heavy periods, fluid retention before the period, breast tenderness, fibroids and weight gain on the hips.
There are many ways to approach the hormonal changes that occur at menopause.
Chronically high insulin from a diet too high in bread and sugar. It directly affects the production estrogen and testosterone. See Insulin article for more information about insulin.
Appointments at Sensible-Alternative
For hormone assessment, please make an appointment with one of our naturopaths.
To reach our Receptionist Lisa on our Sydney phone number: 02 8011 1994
To email Lisa, please click here.