It is an oscillating spring here in Northern California with warmth, rain showers, thunder and lightning, blooming and fragrant flowers, lush trees and grasses and the upcoming transition into hot summer – a diversity of everything! Coalesce that with the re-emergence of businesses opening in certain regions and I believe we are headed for happier times of awareness, wisdom, reconnection and revitalization!
Last week, I shared with you the announcement of my 3 Part Video Series on Peri-Menopause with Video #1 explaining physiologically what happens during that transition time along with the most common signs and symptoms that women experience.
As many of you know, one of my main specialties and passions is in treating women’s health and hormones for women of all ages with a comprehensive, root cause, natural approach to healing and rebalancing. I treat men’s health, children and teens as well.
In Video #2, shown above, I describe my reasons for ordering labs for female patients (all patients really) along with the various hormone lab tests that are commonly used by Functional and Naturopathic Medical Doctors and other integrative practitioners. Additionally, I explain the pros and cons of each lab test and which tests are better in terms of comprehensiveness, accuracy and sensitivity.
Examples of various Hormone Lab Tests that I discuss include:
1.) Blood/Serum Steroid Hormone Testing: Common, convenient blood draw of the reproductive steroid and corticosteroid hormones – Estradiol, Progesterone, Testosterone, DHEA, Cortisol, Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH), Lutenizing Hormone (LH), Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG) and more. Many steroid hormones can be tested as freely circulating, bound to proteins or total (free + bound). Pros & cons of blood/serum testing are mentioned
2.) Salivary Hormone Testing: This saliva collection test measures most of the hormones listed above under blood/serum yet these hormones are considered more bio-available to the body vs bound to proteins. There’s the additional option to collect saliva 4x/day to evaluate the diurnal (daily or during the day) pattern of cortisol or a general look at the circadian rhythm regarding cortisol. Pros & cons of salivary testing are discussed
3.) Cortisol Awakening Response (C.A.R.): A different salivary cortisol test to evaluate how much (or how little) cortisol is released at waking, 30 minutes and 60 minutes after waking. This insightful test helps to understand the brain to adrenal gland communication – the Hypothalamis, Pituitary Gland, Adrenal Gland Axis – to determine if there’s an underlying deficient or excessive adrenal response in the morning and what either of those might present as symptoms. This is usually added on to the Dried Hormone Urine Test – listed below.
4.) 24 hour Urine Hormone Test: This comprehensive hormone test collects urine over a 24 hour day and in a collection jug. This test evaluates a larger variety of the reproductive steroid hormones and their metabolites (the break down of hormones) and corticosteroid hormones (i.e. cortisol) and their metabolites to evaluate how the body is metabolizing hormones into a healthier or safer (or not so healthy) form. This gives insight into hormones levels, hormone absorption (if you are taking external bio-identical hormones), liver and kidney function, adrenal stress or fatigue, hormone enzyme activity and much more. Pros & Cons of the 24 Hour Urine Hormone Test are discussed.
5.) Dried Urine Hormone Test: This 4x/day urine collection test allows for urine collection onto special filter paper, then dried before submitting the samples. This test also comprehensively evaluates the reproductive steroid and corticosteroid hormones and their metabolites to evaluate hormone break down, hormone levels and absorption, liver and kidney function, adrenal stress or fatigue. However, the excellent aspect to this test is that it is conveniently collected during the waking hours of one day (4x/day) vs a full 24 hours. Additionally, it examines nutritional organic acids (vitamin and minerals important for hormones) as well as neurotransmitter levels as well. The Cortisol Awakening Response Test is often added on to this test. Pros & Cons of the Dried Urine Hormone Test are discussed.
You can also view this video and all existing and future videos from my YouTube channel listed here.
In the final Video #3 coming up next week, I’ll discuss a Naturopathic and Functional Medicine approach to generalized treatment options for peri-menopausal women. While not specific to any female patient (without an individualized appointment), therapies might include botanical medicine (plant or herb based), nutrition therapy using vitamins, minerals and healing foods, specific exercise and lifestyle recommendations, stress coping techniques as well as bio-identical hormone prescriptions in some cases.
Be sure to join my new private Facebook Group for more upcoming information and recommendations – Peri & Post Menopause: Women’s Health, Hormones Vitality.
Interested in getting your hormones tested, evaluated and relief from symptoms? Schedule a complimentary initial Discovery Call to ask questions first (for new patients). To get started with treatment, schedule a New Patient or Follow up Appointment here.
Have a wonderful day! Dr. Kristi