How Can I Check My Hormone Levels At Home?
Hormones are messenger molecules that are produced in the endocrine (hormone) glands. These molecules are responsible for controlling various organs and processes in the body. If there is even a slight change in the level of hormones in your body, you may face adverse effects. You may wonder “how great would it be if I can check my hormone levels at home”.
A hormonal imbalance entails having high or low levels of a certain type of chemical. Hormones can actually be considered as ingredients to a recipe. The final product will only turn out good if all the ingredients are added in the perfect proportion. If a single ingredient is too little or too much, the recipe will not turn out the way it is supposed to.
The human body goes through hormonal changes at different stages in life and that is normal. However, improper functioning of the endocrine glands can cause hormonal changes.
How Can You Look Out for Hormonal Imbalance?
The level of hormones in your body can significantly impact your overall health. If a certain type of hormone is in excess or short supply, it will have an impact on your health. The symptoms that you experience will depend entirely on which glands are not functioning properly.
However, there are a few common symptoms to look out for. While these symptoms may be associated with a bunch of other reasons, it is best to get a checkup:
- Weight gain without any explanation or sudden weight loss
- Severely dry skin
- Heightened sensitivity to heat or cold
- Frequent bowel movements or constipation
- A hard hump between the shoulder blades composed of fatty tissue
Apart from these common symptoms, individuals often experience irritability, anxiety and depression. Unexplained change in mood, anxiety and being irritated all the time are classic symptoms of hormonal imbalance.
What Causes a Change in Hormones?
Hormone fluctuation in the body is a natural process. The fluctuation in levels could be due to age, pregnancy, puberty or menopause. Men also experience changes in hormones due to age. But there are certain medical conditions that can result in a shift in hormone levels.
What Causes an Imbalance In Hormones?
Hormone imbalance can be the result of various issues. There may be an underlying medical condition that is causing a shift in the level of hormones. Also, you may be taking medicines that are causing a change in your hormonal balance. At times, even minor stress can cause hormonal imbalance.
In women, polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS is a leading cause for hormonal imbalance. The changes in hormone levels due to PCOS come with a whole different set of symptoms, which include irregular periods, darkening of skin, excessive hair on face and chin and weight gain.
Men also go through hormone imbalance. Changes in the hormone levels for men are usually caused by low levels of testosterone. Since testosterone plays a vital part in men’s health, low testosterone levels can result in complications. Common symptoms of low testosterone include breast tissue development, erectile dysfunction, loss of bone mass, reduction in body hair and infertility.
Why Is It Important To Keep Hormone Levels in Check?
A balance in the level of hormones in your body is vital to your health. Even a slight imbalance can have adverse effects and cause severe health issues. This is why it is important to keep a keep a track of your hormone levels. Typically, you can visit the doctor every now and then and undergo testing.
But for many, scheduling a doctor’s appointment is a hassle, and they are looking for ways to check their hormone levels at home. But is this as reliable as a hormone blood test at your doctor’s office?
At home Hormone Testing Kits – Are They Reliable?
If you search online, you will find a variety of hormone testing kits. There even are different forms of kits, such as finger prick kits, urine strip tests or saliva testing. But which one is the best to use?
When checking your hormone balance, you want to make sure that the result you’re getting is accurate, and that it gives you the correct values of your hormone levels in your blood. So it is key that the test you are using is reliable and accurate.
When looking to check your hormones, it’s good to know that there are two different forms of hormones – free hormones and bound hormones, meaning that they are bound to a protein such as sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). If the hormones are bound to a protein, they are not active on the target tissue.
In saliva testing, only the free hormones are measured, as they are the ones that reach the saliva. It therefore can give you lower results of your hormone levels than they actually are in your blood. Also, saliva testing can be influenced by your diet, time of day and even the amount of saliva you have in your mouth. Therefore, saliva testing is currently not considered accurate or precise enough for hormone testing.
As for urine testing and finger prick testing, it’s a good idea to discuss it with your doctor or medical professional, and see if they would recommend it, and if yes, what exactly they would recommend. Instead of spending a lot of money on tests that may not be that accurate and can give you results that are too high or too low, they will guide you towards tests that are useful and precise to give you an understanding of your hormone levels.
Our hormone levels will vary throughout our lives, and even throughout our days. However, if you feel the symptoms of hormone imbalance, it makes sense to go and check your hormones. There are many tests available online, but it makes sense to check in with your doctor and ask them if the at-home hormone test you are interested in is reliable, accurate and can give you the correct results.