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Wondering if You Have a Hormonal Imbalance? Here’s The Most Effective Way To Get Answers Through Testing

Healthy Lifestyle

26 July 2018

Real Talk — Today’s medical and healthcare system can be tough and stressful to navigate.

Often times we’re told conflicting information, advised to take (and pay out of pocket) for tests that often times lead to more unanswered questions, or rushed in and out of appointments without really feeling acknowledged, cared for and heard.

Feeling healthy is absolutely VITAL to living your best life, which is why it’s so important to build up a team of medical practitioners you can rely on and trust.

As a nutrition + healthy lifestyle coach I truly value good doctors and care not only for myself and family, but all of my clients too!

This is why I’m so excited to partner with yet another amazing Naturopathic Doctor located in Seattle — Dr. Patrick Fox at Constellation Naturopathic. What’s so cool about Dr. Fox (besides his great sense of humor and fun, easy-going nature) is that he’s hyper-focused on addressing health concerns as naturally as possible, with a wide variety of treatment options before reaching for pharmaceuticals (which is so not the case with many other doctors).

His approach integrates a variety of medical systems in diagnosing and treating chronic and acute diseases including autoimmune disease, chronic Lyme disease, mold biotoxin illness, metabolic disease, hormone imbalances, as well as improving wellness in those who are healthy (which most of us do need from time to time).

Because I’ve met (as well as coached) so many individuals that struggle with getting to the root causes of their symptoms, I asked Dr. Fox here today to address a topic most want guidance in — navigating which tests (if you’re experiencing hormonal health imbalances or symptoms) to take to get REAL ANSWERS.

 

Without further adieu, here’s Dr. Fox:

Common Hormonal Imbalances + Symptoms —

As we age, both women and men experience changes in their hormones. The endocrine system includes the ovaries and testes, as well as the adrenal glands, thyroid hormones, pancreas, pituitary and pineal glands, and many other minor players. It’s important to assess each of these, utilizing optimal assessment tools, in order to gain the most complete picture possible.

Today’s discussion is focused on the ovaries and testes, which represent the sex hormones, and the adrenal glands, which produce namely cortisol and it’s metabolites.

For many, hormone imbalances contribute to weight changes (notably weight gain), increased fatigue and lethargy, loss of muscle mass, worsening sleep patterns, skin changes, libido changes, mental and cognitive dysfunction, anxiety/depression, etc. The list of possible symptoms is long!

 

Testing Options + Which One Will Truly Get You Answers — 

There are a handful of ways to measure hormones in the body and some provide advantages over others.

The three most common and recognized methods are blood (serum) testing, saliva testing, and urine testing.

So, which one is the best to use? Let’s dive into the specifics of each.

Blood Testing — 

Many hormones are secreted in a pulsed fashion that occurs throughout the day. As a result, a single blood draw will not adequately collect several markers to provide a complete picture.

Blood testing only offers limited testing of metabolites, or intermediaries formed by hormones. Furthermore, blood is unable to test the free cortisol pattern from the adrenal glands. It also cannot assess metabolite levels, which are the gold standard for assessing total cortisol production.

Saliva Testing — 

Saliva testing has it challenges too. It struggles with accuracy, whereby the results are highly dependent on the lab quality. What should be noted is saliva’s best use, which is in testing of progesterone and estradiol throughout the menstrual cycle. It also has the benefit of measuring free cortisol through the day. However, saliva testing lacks the cortisol metabolite testing which limits its precision.

Urine Testing — 

For the most complete picture, urine hormone testing has several distinct advantages over blood and saliva testing. Let’s talk about the why:

+ Cost effective: multiple metabolites can be assessed in a single test collection allowing for assessment of a particular pathway

+ Comprehensive: testing is able to assess sex hormones and adrenal hormones, including metabolites like estrogen metabolites, testosterone metabolites, free cortisol patterns, and more

+ Ease of collection: a simple and straightforward testing method

 

Bottom Line — 

If all that seems like a lot, it’s because it is! Thankfully, a visit with an experienced practitioner can make all the difference. They can aid in guiding you through testing, which in the case made above, should be urine testing for most individuals. From there, the most appropriate treatments can be utilized.

Balancing hormones aids in relief of an individual’s specific symptoms, but also can improve heart health, prevent memory loss, improve growth and repair in the body, have effect on bone production and vision, aid in weight loss, and more.

 

Your Action Step — 

If you’re ready to have your hormones correctly assessed and treated, schedule your complimentary 15-minute consult with Dr. Fox here. 

Upon getting results, Dr. Fox and I can partner together to ensure you have the most supportive strategy moving forward — so you can put all of your healthy intentions into action in order to truly feel + look your best!

Lauren Chambers

Lauren Chambers is the Nutrition + Hormone Health Coach and Feel Good Food Blogger of sofreshnsogreen.com. She's on a mission to help you balance your hormones, boost your energy and improve your mood through food, so you can look and feel your best.