Modern medicine has led us to believe that, for most medical issues, there's a single test that will confirm a clear and concise diagnosis. This is about as helpful as a 6-minute doctor visit, and springs from the same limited thinking. Women are especially hurt by this kind of medical approach to hormonal imbalance. That's because hormone panels and other tests aren't as helpful as you might wish. But in the hands of a skilled doctor who will take the time to "connect the dots", the tests can be very meaningful. Here's a general overview of the basic hormone tests and what they mean to your health and hormonal balance. When is hormone testing helpful? By dividing women into three generalized groups it will help you understand who benefits from hormone testing and who may not.
Women with fertility issues. For women in this category, hormone panels are key, both as a diagnostic and a therapeutic tool. So many fertility problems can be traced to irregularities in the menstrual cycle, and your practitioner needs to understand what's wrong in order to give you the right support.
Women with ordinary symptoms of hormonal imbalance. Women often ask us: is there a test to tell whether I'm in menopause? The short answer is no. You're menopausal when you haven't had a period for a year. Hormone tests are not required for this largest group of women. The symptom patterns are very individual, but the first line therapy is mostly the same: build a nutritional foundation, take the right basic supplements to restore balance, and make meaningful lifestyle changes.
Women with severe symptoms of hormonal imbalance. For women with debilitating or intractable symptoms, a hormone panel is essential. When dealing with PCOS, fibroids, diagnosed alopecia (hair loss), and other more severe hormone issues, your practitioner simply can't treat you without knowing where your hormones are.
Key tests in a hormone panel When it comes to key tests in a hormone panel, what they measure and what the results mean, levels and ranges will vary from lab to lab. This chart gives you a very general idea of what high or low levels of a particular hormone may indicate.