Why Every Woman Needs Hormone Testing … And 14 Essential Tests That You Should Have Done!
By Randi Mann, WHNP-BC, NCMP, APNP
Hormone testing is a critical first step to help every woman regain optimal hormone balance and can make a world of difference in how you feel NOW and for the rest of your life. Have you ever wondered if your hormone levels were “off” or if your hormone levels were the cause of any uncomfortable symptoms? Have you tried to seek help from your doctor without success and thought your hormone fluctuations are something you “just have to live with”? Were you told you don’t have a thyroid problem because your TSH level was normal?
FDA approved, hormone testing is available today and can identify if a woman’s hormone levels are too high, too low or simply out of balance. The right hormone tests, done together at the right time, can give a wealth of information about what is happening inside your body and the impact that your hormones are playing on your health, happiness and even your longevity!
Top four reasons to test your hormones:
1. Testing identifies imbalances that can be corrected to relieve symptoms and greatly improve your health now and in the future.
2. Symptoms of hormone imbalances can be confusing. Hormone symptoms alone are not enough to guide hormone treatment. Baseline levels should be measured for any woman considering hormone restoration therapy. Retesting should be done to assess symptom management and proper levels on an ongoing basis.
3. Symptoms of an excess of a hormone can mimic symptoms of deficiency of that hormone. Testing helps sort this out. Hormones exist in harmony with each other and need to be assessed together at the same time along with symptoms.
4. Hormones can be balanced at higher than physiologic levels and sometimes manage symptoms for a period of time but excess levels can cause harmful effects.
It is NOT fun to be a woman with imbalanced hormone levels!
Hormones are chemical messengers that travel in the bloodstream and tell other parts of your body how to act and respond. Balanced hormones are key to feeling energetic, healthy and literally living longer. Sadly, many doctors do not have the desire or expertise to order and/or the training to properly interpret the many in-depth hormone test results needed to help their patients with hormone symptoms.
Most of our patients have complained, sometimes many times, to their doctor about their hormone imbalance symptoms. They tell me “my family doctor did all he could but he did not help me.” They have not been offered hormone testing. It is very important to get your hormone levels checked if you are having uncomfortable symptoms. When levels are in balance, body systems function properly. When levels are out of balance normal function is disrupted and can lead to chronic symptoms, disorders and disease.
Hormones govern our moods, memory, energy, libido and sleep. They also regulate our immune system and response to stress and help maintain bone and muscle mass. Your lifestyle, nutrition and supplements that you take daily impact your hormone balance. Many times great self-care is not enough to help a woman feel great. During times of stress or simply during mid-life, reproduction hormones begin to change and diminish, and symptoms result.
We find it is especially rewarding to review a new patient’s hormone test results at her first visit. Almost every woman is very excited to learn about her test results and hopes her levels confirm why she is feeling the way she does. Her sense of anticipation to learn about her test results is often visible on her face. Approximately 99% of the time her hormone levels are the root cause of her discomfort!
Fourteen essential tests needed to properly evaluate your hormone balance:
• Estradiol (E2)
• Free T3
• Free T4
• TPO Antibody
• TG Antibody
• Reverse T3
• Vitamin D
We also recommend doing a computerized reflex test to determine the speed of a deep tendon reflex via computer and evaluate the function of your intracellular thyroid hormone.
Here is a list of common symptoms of hormonal imbalances:
Female hormone imbalance symptoms
• Feeling chronically overwhelmed and have low energy
• Hot and/or sweaty during the day and/or night
• Can’t fall asleep or waking up at night and not able to fall back to sleep
• Too tired to accomplish what they used to be able to get done in a day
• Unable to lose weight despite trying
• Changes in hair, skin and fingernails
• Aching joints and muscles
• Loss of sex drive
• Vaginal symptoms such as dryness, pain, itching or burning
• Brain fog
• Irritability and moodiness
• Depression and anxiety
Thyroid hormone imbalance symptoms
• Weight gain or weight loss resistance (especially if you have gained 10 pounds in the past 3 months w/o any obvious reason or changes in diet, exercise, stress etc.)
• Dry hair or skin
• Brittle fingernails
• Weak muscles
• Feeling cold (hands and feet)
• Frequent muscle cramps
• Poor memory
• Slower thinking
• Puffy eyes
• Hoarse or deeper voice
• Muscle and joint pain
• Unsteady gait
• Missing outer third of eyebrow
• Periods are more irregular and heavier
Many women are suffering from symptoms of hormone imbalances and don’t realize it. Please don’t ignore your symptoms! Please get your hormones tested by a hormone specialist who knows how to test the right hormone levels and find appropriate solutions to alleviate your symptoms and lead to hormonal wellness and a healthier, longer life!
Randi Mann, WHNP-BC, NCMP, APNP, is a woman’s hormone expert and the owner of Wise Woman Wellness LLC, an innovative wellness and hormone care center at 1480 Swan Road, De Pere. Mann is the author of the eBook: A Guide to Gluten and Going Gluten Free. She is a board- certified Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner and NAMS Certified Menopause Practitioner, one of a handful in Wisconsin and less than 1600 worldwide to achieve this distinction. She combines the best of conventional, functional and integrative medicine to help women with female, thyroid and adrenal hormone issues to live healthier, more abundant, joy-filled lives using a blend of compassion, cutting edge science, practical guidance and humor. Join the introductory virtual seminar, “End Hormone Havoc – Crazy Hormones Cause Fatigue, Weight Gain and Brain Fog and How to Fix Them!”, offered monthly, to learn about specialized thyroid, adrenal and female hormone testing and customized, bioidentical hormone treatments to achieve lifelong optimal hormone balance, increased vitality and longevity.
Contact information: 920-339-5252