22 May What Is The Best Way To Get Your Hormone Levels Tested At Home?
As people look for more ways to address their general health issues, hormone testing has grown in popularity. But what is hormone testing, and how can it help support your health? Can you get hormone levels tested at home? Keep reading to learn more about hormone testing and determine if it is the right choice for you.
What is a hormone test?
To understand a hormone test, you must first understand the vital role hormones play in your health. Hormones are chemical messengers that carry information and help regulate bodily function. There are a number of endocrine glands in the body, each of which produces different hormones that have specific responsibilities.
Examples of the duties performed by hormones include:
- Regulating body temperature, growth, and sleep cycles
- Managing hunger, sex drive, and mood
- Controlling stress, heart rate, and metabolism
- Regulating immune system, heart rate, and calcium levels
The body is supposed to produce a certain amount of each type of hormone to ensure optimum function. When the body produces too much or too little of a hormone, this is known as a hormone imbalance. Hormone imbalances can cause a number of health issues that can vary in severity depending on the hormone(s) involved, the severity of the imbalance, and the cause of the imbalance. Hormone tests are designed to measure your hormone levels and identify if an imbalance is present.
Hormone tests can take a few different forms depending on the hormones that need to be measured. You may be asked to provide blood, saliva, urine, or sperm samples as part of hormone testing. You may also need additional testing, such as a pap smear, ultrasound, x-ray, or MRI to confirm a hormone imbalance diagnosis.
How to know if you need a hormone test
Hormone imbalances can occur naturally due to life transitions, especially for those assigned female at birth (AFAB). Symptoms of hormone imbalance can be broken down by sex.
Common hormone imbalance symptoms in all sexes
- Depression, Irritability, and anxiety
- Pain, stiffness, and swelling in joints
- Changes in bowel movement frequency, appetite, thirst, or heart rate
- Headaches, difficulty concentrating, and fatigue
- Weakness, tenderness, or stiffness of muscles
- Dry skin, thinning hair, unexplained weight gain or loss
- Sensitivity to heat and cold
- Bulge in the neck
Common hormone imbalance symptoms in those assigned female at birth (AFAB)
- Life transitions such as puberty, pregnancy/breastfeeding, and menopause
- Skin tags or acne on face, chest, and upper back
- Periods with irregular frequency, that are especially heavy, or that have stopped altogether
- Excessive hair on the body, especially face or chin
- Hyperpigmentation underneath breasts, along neck creases, or near the groin
- Vaginal atrophy and vaginal dryness
- Pain during sex
- Night sweats
It is important to note that these symptoms, while typically experienced by AFAB people, may be experienced by individuals of other sexes.
Common hormone imbalance symptoms in those assigned male at birth (AMAB)
Symptoms of hormone imbalance for AMAB people are typically caused by testosterone deficiency, which may result in:
- Loss of bone and muscle mass
- Decrease in body hair growth, which may include the beard
- Breast tenderness or the development of breast tissue (gynecomastia)
- Hot flashes
- Erectile dysfunction
- Other factors
You should note that the symptoms of hormone imbalance in children may look different than symptoms in adults. These symptoms are typically related to growth and development.
There are other conditions that can put you at high risk of hormone imbalance, such as:
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Being exposed to certain toxins, such as those found in pesticides
- Insufficient sleep, or irregular sleep patterns
- Certain medications or treatments
- Medical conditions such as:
- Those affecting thyroid activity
- Tumors (cancerous or benign)
- Diabetes (all types)
- Eating disorders
- Traumatic injury
What are the benefits of hormone testing?
If you experience multiple symptoms of hormone imbalance, getting tested is an important first step in seeking treatment. Eliminating hormone imbalance as a cause of symptoms can help a doctor keep investigating until the reason for your symptoms is identified and can be treated.
If you are diagnosed with a hormone imbalance, there are a number of both short term and long-term treatments available. Short term treatments are used to address temporary hormone imbalances, such as those caused by menopause. People who have permanent conditions affecting hormone levels, like those caused by a genetic disorder, will need long-term therapies to maintain their health.
Typically, treatments take the form of hormone replacement therapy to address hormone deficiencies. These treatments are prescribed by a doctor. Hormones used in hormone replacement therapy may be lab-synthesized (created in a lab to be chemically identical to natural human hormones) or natural (sourced from plants or animals). You should discuss your options with your doctor to determine the best hormone replacement therapy option for you.
How can you get your hormones tested at home?
There are two ways to get tested for hormone imbalance at home.
DIY kits have surged in popularity as a result of the pandemic. Kits can be found on retail shelves and are generally designed to detect specific imbalances or conditions. Kits come with the materials you need to collect a blood (fingertip prick), urine, or saliva sample and prepare it for lab processing. Once prepared, you mail the sample to the lab. Generally, most kits make results available online in 5-10 business days.
Common examples of hormone imbalance DIY testing kits include:
- Fertility (AFAB people)
Tests can range in price from $50-$200, depending on the type of test and what benefits are included. While these tests can be helpful to indicate the possibility of a hormone imbalance, they cannot be used as a basis to prescribe treatment.
As with any process, human error in sample preparation can impact the accuracy of results. Other issues like mail delay or exposure to extreme temperature during the shipping process can also negatively affect samples, leading to inaccurate results.
The idea of investing money and energy into a DIY kit only to have to further pursue professional testing can be frustrating. Thankfully, house call doctors, sometimes called mobile healthcare providers, offer the ability to get professional healthcare services at home.
When you get your hormone levels tested at home with a concierge service, a licensed and trained healthcare professional will come to your home and conduct a comprehensive health screening before collecting the necessary sample(s) for testing. The healthcare expert will bring all necessary materials to prepare the sample and ensure its delivery to a lab for processing.
It is not uncommon for mobile healthcare practices to have working relationships with a specific lab, which may result in you getting results faster than you would with a DIY kit or a traditional primary care physician (PCP) operating out of an office. Getting professional testing services at home is truly the most convenient, safe, and private way to identify a hormone imbalance and help you get the treatment you need to feel your best.
Get your at Home Hormone Test with Concierge MD
An in-home hormone test makes it easy to get the answers you need. One of our medical experts comes to your home to collect samples for lab testing. We help you understand your results and recommend steps to optimize your health.
Give us a call or book an appointment using the button below!