Do I need a test?
Saliva Hormone Testing
Symptoms like mood swings, low sex drive and hot flashes may be a sign of hormone imbalance. Saliva hormone testing may reveal hormone imbalances that contribute to chronic health problems or hormone conditions. It can also be used to monitor hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and in anti-aging and disease prevention programs. RMA lab information on common female hormone conditions will help you assess your need.
Common Female Hormone Conditions
Interactions between the five hormones of the female panel (estrogens, progesterone, cortisol, DHEA’s and testosterone) are fundamental to health and hormone imbalances may negtively impact health. Below are examples of how hormone imbalances may impact health:
High levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, can cause unstable blood sugars and may increase sugar cravings. High estrogen levels may interfere with thyroid gland function and result in weight gain. High levels of testosterone and/or DHEAs may be associated with polycystic ovarian syndrome, a condition that makes weight loss very difficult.
Our laboratory data shows that 2/3 of women who self-report depression or difficulty coping and 7/10 who report irritability have at least one hormone that is out of range. While there is no guarantee that restoring hormone balance will lessen these mood symptoms, many women experience some relief from mood disorders when their hormones are balanced.
High or low levels of cortisol may affect sleep, as may low levels of estradiol. For some postmenopausal women, difficulty sleeping is directly related to hot flashes and night sweats, which are often signs of hormone imbalance. Once hormone imbalances are addressed, sleep issues may resolve.
Having too little estrogen can be associated with hot flashes, but so can supplementing with too much estrogen! Maintaining the right amount of estrogen is at least one factor in controlling hot flashes.
Testosterone and estradiol help build bone, while high cortisol tends to break down bone. High cortisol is of particular concern because it breaks down bone and interferes with the bone buildinng action of testosterone!
A common pattern of hormone imbalance shows up in women with breast cancer: above range estradiol, below range progesterone, above range evening cortisol and out of range DHEAs. The Estrogen Metabolism Ratio urine test and the Melatonin Cortisol Index can also give some insights into breast cancer risk.
Why Test Saliva Hormones?
•Saliva hormone testing is excellent at uncovering hormone imbalance.
•Saliva measures hormone that has actually made it into tissue, because hormones pass through saliva gland tissue before entering saliva. Blood measures hormones that may or may not get to tissue.
•Saliva collection is painless and easy to do at home. Blood collection requires a trip to the laboratory, and some hormones cannot be tested in blood (e.g. estriol).
•The stress of a needle puncture for blood collection tends to raise cortisol levels. Saliva collection is not known to raise cortisol levels.
Restoring Female Hormone Balance
Low estrogen: Low estrogen levels are often addressed by supplementing with estrogen, however some nutritional supplements may also help improve symptoms. For example, boron may help boost estrogen production, and plant estrogens and progesterone may provide relief from symptoms of low estrogen.
High estrogen: Occurs either from making/retaining too much estrogen or supplementing with too much. Women who carry weight around their midsection often have high estrogen levels because fat cells have an enzyme that makes estrogen from adrenal hormones. Thus, weight loss often reduces estrogen levels. When estrogen levels are high, it is important to make sure there is enough progesterone to balance its effects. Supplementing with too much estrogen can make estrogen receptors less responsive to estrogen, leading to estrogen deficiency symptoms.
Low Progesterone: Treatment often includes natural progesterone supplementation, which is generally very safe and effective. The herb chasteberry may also help normalize progesterone levels. Sometimes low progesterone indicates low thyroid hormone levels, therefore lab tests for thyroid function may be recommended.
High Progesterone: Is almost always a consequence of over-supplementation. Therefore, it is likely that your health care practitioner will recommend a dose reduction. Prolonged supplementation of high doses of progesterone may cause progesterone receptors to become less sensitive, which could result in symptoms of low progesterone. Too much progesterone also sometimes leads to increased testosterone levels and symptoms of testosterone excess. A dose reduction or different progesterone type (cream instead of capsule) may be required.
Low Cortisol: Low morning cortisol may be indicative of adrenal issues, which may require further testing or interventions by our health care provider.
High Cortisol: High cortisol levels are associated with numerous symptoms and conditions including: bone loss, high blood pressure, insulin resistance and diabetes, weight gain, memory impairment and immune system suppression. High cortisol levels also interfere with the action of other hormones. Therefore, when cortisol levels are high, the first step in restoring hormone balance is often to lower cortisol levels. Your health care provider may recommend lifestyle changes as well supplements to help address high cortisol levels.
Low DHEAs: The signs and symptoms of low DHEAs are not well-defined although low DHEAs is often associated with chronic illness. Some women may benefit from supplementing with DHEA to bring saliva hormone levels within range.
High DHEAs: Is associated with polycystic ovarian syndrome and insulin resistance. Thus, it may be necessary to undergo further testing, or to receive treatment for these conditions. High levels may occur when too much DHEA is given, in which case your health care practitioner will likely recommend reducing the dose.
Low Testosterone: Sometimes adding progesterone or correcting adrenal issues can improve low testosterone symptoms. However, in some cases it may be necessary to supplement with testosterone.
High Testosterone: Is associated with polycystic ovarian syndrome and insulin resistance. Thus, it may be necessary to undergo further testing, or to receive treatment for these conditions.
** ALL INFORMATION AND TEST KITS RELATED TO THIS TEST ARE PROVIDED BY ROCKY MOUNTAIN ANALYTICAL LABORATORIES. PLEASE VISIT www.rmalab.com**