Hormone Testing for Women: Understanding and Managing Women's Health

Views: 33     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2024-04-29      Origin: testing.com

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Hormones are substances that send chemical messages in the body and have a variety of effects on processes like physical development, reproduction, and mood. 

People of any sex have a wide range of hormones in their body. Hormone testing for women and people assigned female at birth often focuses on hormones that play a role in puberty, fertility, menopause, and health conditions more common in this population. 

Hormone tests for women can be used to confirm pregnancy, track menopause, detect hormonal imbalances, and understand the cause of reproductive health issues.


The Role of Hormone Tests for Women

Women and people assigned female at birth can have hormone testing for many different reasons. Hormone testing may be used for diagnosis, monitoring, and screening:

- Diagnosis: Hormone testing is often used to identify the cause of a person’s symptoms. Testing may be helpful in diagnosing conditions like delayed development, infertility, menopause, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and certain types of tumors.

- Monitoring: After someone has been diagnosed with a medical condition, ongoing testing may be used to track any changes in their health, including whether treatments are effective. A hormone test for women may be used to monitor people who are having treatments for infertility or cancer. Testing can also help monitor hormone levels in transgender women who are having gender-affirming hormone treatment.

- Screening: Occasionally, hormone testing may be used for screening, which is looking for health issues before there are any signs or symptoms. For example, testing for certain hormones may be performed during pregnancy to screen for potential fetal health problems. In addition, women and people assigned female at birth who are of childbearing age may have hormone tests to see if they are pregnant prior to surgery or admission to a hospital. Pregnancy tests may also be done before incarceration.


Types of Hormone Tests for Women

Women and people assigned female at birth may have many different kinds of hormone tests. The following sections describe some of the most common tests related to female sex hormones or to conditions that generally affect women and people assigned female at birth.

Menopause tests

Menopause can often be identified based on a person’s health history and symptoms. However, hormone testing may be used to determine or confirm menopause in certain people, including:

- People with premature menopause, which means the permanent end of menstruation before age 40

- People with menstrual disorders, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

- People using oral contraception

- Women and anyone born with a uterus who has had treatments such as surgery to remove the uterus or to alter the uterine lining

The following hormone tests may be used to identify menopause:

Tests Related to Menopause

Test Name

Test Sample

What It Measures

Luteinizing Hormone (LH)

Blood

A hormone made by the pituitary gland that triggers the ovaries to make estrogen and signals them to release eggs

Estrogens 

Blood

Hormones made mainly in the ovaries that have multiple functions in the body

Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH)

Blood

A hormone made by the pituitary gland that helps control menstruation and triggers the release of eggs from the ovaries

Anti-Müllerian Hormone (AMH)

Blood

A hormone made in the ovaries that plays a role in the development of a fetus


Fertility tests

Fertility tests can help track ovulation to aid people in identifying the fertile period. Pregnancy and prenatal tests can diagnose and monitor the health of your pregnancy. The most common fertility and pregnancy tests include:

hCG

Estrogens

Luteinizing Hormone (LH)

Follicle-stimulating Hormone (FSH)
Prolactin (PRL)
Anti-Müllerian Hormone (AMH)
Progesterone
Testosterone
Blood Typing

HIV

Syphilis

Chlamydia

Gonorrhea
Hepatitis B

Hepatitis C
Toxoplasmosis

Rubella
Cytomegalovirus (CMV)


Pregnancy tests

Checking to see if someone is pregnant is done by testing for a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). This hormone is produced by the placenta, a temporary organ that nourishes the fetus during pregnancy.

Either blood or urine may be tested for hCG. Typically, blood tests are more accurate and can detect pregnancy as early as six days after ovulation. There are two different ways hCG results are reported:

- Qualitative: These hCG tests give a positive or negative result depending on the presence or absence of hCG in the sample. Qualitative tests can be done using either a blood or urine sample. This type of testing is done most often to confirm a pregnancy.

- Quantitative: This type of hCG testing measures the amount of hCG present in the blood. These tests frequently use a blood sample, but some urine tests can provide a degree of quantitative measurement. Along with confirming a pregnancy, quantitative hCG tests can also be used as part of the diagnostic process for abnormal pregnancies.


Thyroid tests

The thyroid is a small gland that makes hormones that are important for the body's metabolism. Thyroid diseases can affect anyone but are more common in women and people assigned female at birth, especially after pregnancy or menopause.

The following table shows hormone tests that may be used to detect or rule out thyroid disease:

Tests Related to Thyroid Function

Test Name

Sample Type

What it Measures

Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH)

Blood

A hormone made in the pituitary gland that stimulates the thyroid gland and reflects thyroid function

Free T3 or Total T3

Blood

The most active form of thyroid hormone, which is known as free or total T3 based on whether or not it is bound to protein in the blood

Free T4 or Total T4

Blood

A type of thyroid hormone referred to as free or total T4 based on whether or not it is bound to protein in the blood


Polycystic ovary syndrome tests

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition caused by a hormonal imbalance. In PCOS, women or people assigned female at birth tend to have high levels of male sex hormones known as androgens.

Symptoms of PCOS include irregular menstrual periods, infertility, acne, abnormal hair growth, and ovarian cysts. A health care provider may suggest the following hormone tests to help diagnose PCOS:

Tests Related to PCOS

Test Name

Sample Type

What It Measures

Estrogens 

Blood

Hormones made mainly in the ovaries that have many functions, including in regulating the menstrual cycle

Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH)

Blood

A hormone that helps control reproduction, development of eggs, and sexual development

Luteinizing Hormone (LH)

Blood

A hormone that helps regulate the menstrual cycle

Testosterone

Blood

A hormone produced by people of all sexes but found in higher levels in men and people assigned male at birth

Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG)

Blood or urine

A hormone produced during pregnancy as well as by some tumors

Prolactin (PRL)

Blood

A hormone made by the pituitary gland that triggers breast development and milk production

Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH)

Blood

A hormone made in the pituitary gland that activates the thyroid and reflects thyroid function

17-Hydroxyprogesterone

Blood

A hormone made in the adrenal glands that can be related to abnormal development of sex organs


Puberty testing

Puberty is the time when girls and people assigned female at birth start producing more female sex hormones. These hormones cause the body to go through changes including breast development, the growth of pubic hair, and the start of menstrual periods.

When these physical changes begin before age eight, it is considered to be early puberty, also known as precocious puberty. If these changes have not begun by the age of 13, puberty is considered delayed.

The tests in the following table may be prescribed to check hormone levels in people with either early or delayed puberty.

Tests Related to Puberty

Test Name

Sample Type

What It Measures

Estrogens 

Blood

Hormones involved in regulating the menstrual cycle, development of the breasts and uterus, and many other functions in the body

Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH)

Blood

A hormone that helps control reproduction, egg production, and sexual development

Luteinizing Hormone (LH)

Blood

A hormone that stimulates the menstrual cycle

Prolactin (PRL)

Blood

A hormone made by the pituitary gland that is involved in breast development

Insulin-Like Growth Factor 1 (IGF-1)

Blood

A hormone mainly made in the liver that helps promote normal growth of bones and tissues

Free T4

Blood

A hormone made by the thyroid gland

Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH)

Blood

A hormone made in the pituitary gland that activates the thyroid gland


Understanding and monitoring women's hormone levels is crucial for diagnosing and treating many women health issues in modern healthcare. At Medlere, we are dedicated to providing high-quality hormone testing products to help healthcare professionals better manage women's health. Our testing solutions cover a range of needs, including gynecological health, fertility, and menopausal management...... Through cutting-edge testing technologies and a dedicated team, Medlere is committed to offering personalized medical solutions for women, empowering them to lead healthier lives.



Sources: 

1. www.testing.com/hormone-test-for-women

2. www.testing.com/fertility-testing

3. www.testing.com/tests/pregnancy-test-hcg


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