As a woman, you are more prone to suffer from hormonal imbalances. This is because females have different endocrine organs and cycles from males, which poses a higher risk of hormonal issues. Hormones can be thrown off for many reasons such as birth control, age, menopause, pregnancy etc. It is important to know when to check your levels, and when to acquire a female hormone test.
This quick overview will fill you in on all the essential pointers you need to consider when planning your next endocrinologist visit.
Understanding the Menstrual Cycle
It is essential to familiarise yourself with your menstrual cycle, as this will help you to identify irregular cycles and abnormal problems that may arise. Understanding how it works will help you feel more empowered when discussing matters with your doctor.
The Menstrual Cycle Timeline:
- Day 1: The first day of your period.
- Day 14: The day you usually begin to ovulate. However, this is by no means a hard and fast rule and instead used as a reference point.
- Day 28: The day your hormone levels typically begin to decline, provided that you aren’t pregnant. Again, not every woman has a 28-day cycle, so it’s best to keep track.
When to Get Your Hormone Levels Checked
Measuring your female sex hormones is a good way to start if you have infertility or an irregular menstrual cycle. Some leading examples of sex hormones are estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone, mainly produced in the ovaries.
Testing these levels can help your doctor get to the root problem and nip it in the bud. However, it’s important to note that hormone levels tend to fluctuate throughout, and hence blood test results come in ranges instead of a set number.
When to Test Oestrogen
Oestrogen plays a vital role in weight and period heaviness maintenance, which is why imbalances in this hormone can have several side effects. Usually, it’s advised to check oestrogen a few days after ovulation. However, periodic testing is preferred since the ranges are compared based on your baseline values.
When to Test Testosterone
Testosterone is usually associated with men. However, it’s an essential hormone in women as well. Low levels of this hormone often lead to tiredness, decreased sex drive, and depression. In contrast, high levels cause polycystic ovarian syndrome, leading to irregular menstrual cycles and unwanted facial hair growth.
Unlike oestrogen, there is no preferred timeline to measure testosterone levels. Instead, they can be tested at any time.
When to Test Progesterone
While the recommended timeline to check for progesterone levels is around day-22 of your 28-day cycle, this can vary from female to female. Therefore, it’s essential to track your basal temperature and cycle using a period tracker to allow your doctor to make a more informed decision.
As a woman it is important to know your body, and understand when it starts to present signs and symptoms that something may not be quite right. Due to hormonal imbalances being so common in women, it is encouraged to take a female hormone test which will provide you with a personalised report of your levels and what you may be lacking in.