Referred to as “the female hormone”, estrogen plays a big role in regulating essential female bodily functions; menstrual cycle regulation, uterine tissue growth, and the formation of female sexual characteristics are all responsibilities of estrogen. Thus, when your estrogen levels go awry, your everyday life may feel hectic, too. Imbalanced estrogen levels can lead to a range of symptoms, from hot flashes and osteoporosis to anxiety and depression. But how can you tell if your hormone levels are “normal”? Continue reading below for some valuable information.
Estrogen Fluctuations Throughout Life
The first thing you should know about estrogen levels is that what's considered normal changes in correspondence with a woman's life stage and individual menstrual cycle. For example, estrogen levels taper off when a woman reaches menopause in her 40s and 50s. During her monthly menstrual cycle, a woman's estrogen levels are highest just before ovulation. Pregnant women often experience high estrogen levels. Keep reading for more information about estrogen levels or continue reading below to learn how you can test your estrogen levels.
When to Test
The third day of a woman's cycle is the best option for testing estrogen levels. During this day, hormone levels are more stable than at other times of the month, such as during ovulation.
Types of Estrogen Tests
If you think you may be suffering from estrogen dominance or estrogen deficiency, you should schedule a doctor's appointment immediately. Your doctor will administer a test that will help determine what's behind your imbalanced estrogen levels and advise a treatment option to suit your needs.
Common estrogen tests include:
- Blood test. Blood tests may detect estrogen imbalances by measuring the hormones found in the blood serum or blood plasma content.
- Urine test. 24-hour urine samples are not susceptible to hourly fluctuations in serum or saliva measurements. Urine tests detect estrogen imbalance by capturing metabolite measurements.
- Saliva test. These tests capture the metabolic process of the salivary glands and the diffusion of hormones from the bloodstream. Results may be skewed by diet, medication, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) treatments and contraceptive pills.
Recommendation: Why You Shouldn't Self-Test
Although some experts claim that a saliva test can be conducted in the comfort of your home, a visit to your doctor's office is strongly recommended to confirm the results of this estrogen test. Your doctor will be able to review the causes of hormone imbalance and identify the condition behind your imbalanced estrogen levels.