Struggling with hormonal imbalances is not easy. You get mood swings and experience headaches and general malaise. This is why it is essential to use the best at-home hormone test kits to check the status of your hormones. But when is the best time to test for hormonal imbalance? Is it the same for all hormones and anytime?
After two weeks of painstaking research, this is what this article aims to answer, along with how to do so and why it is vital to know the best time to test your hormones.
When is The Best Time to Test for Hormone Imbalance as A Woman?
The best time to test for hormone imbalance as a lady depends on some factors. You must understand the menstrual cycle and its various hormone test times. The critical days to note are;
- Day 1: It is the first-day blood is sighted. Women see blood for 3-5 days during the menstrual cycle.
- Day 14: this is the start of the ovulation period. As cycles aren’t the same for most women, you may need to study your process to know when you’re ovulating. Ovulation is mainly located in the middle of two period days (the first-day blood is sighted to the next)
- Day 28: The menstrual cycle is not always 28 days for most women. However, this is when your hormone level drops if you don’t get pregnant while ovulating.
When Is The Best Time to Test for Testosterone
The best time to test for testosterone is in the morning at any time of the month. This is because testosterone levels are the highest around that time.
Testosterone levels vary with age, and the results must be interpreted accordingly.
Testosterone is a crucial hormone you should test for, as when high, you may find polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Women with the illness may have,
- Irregular periods
- Hair growth on their chin
- Hair loss on the scalp, etc
When testosterone level is low, the symptoms include;
- Low libido
- Fatigue, etc
You will have to test for total and free testosterone and the sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) to get a clear picture of your testosterone level.
When to Test for Estrogen
For the proper testing of the estrogen level in your body, you should test on the third day of your period (that is, after the first day of your period).
Estradiol, follicle-stimulating hormones (FSH), and luteinizing hormones(LH) blood tests should be carried out. Testing FSH and LH can help you understand brain-ovarian communication.
Testing for FSH
To evaluate FSH, it is best to be tested on Day 3 to understand the brain-ovary relationship. However, when trying on the third day is impossible, you can stretch on the 2nd or 4th day.
Testing around this period helps understand how the brain and ovaries communicate. What the brain sends and how the ovaries respond.
Testing for Estradiol
Estradiol(E2) is the predominant form of estrogen. It varies during different phases of life. Once you are in the stage where you should be getting your period, an estradiol test is essential.
When going into menopause, estrone(E1) becomes the dominant circulating estrogen.
Estradiol can be tested around day three and checked five days after ovulation.
When you try on any day, your levels may be just acceptable, so to understand your estrogen level and how they affect your body, you should test with the appropriate timing of your cycle.
When Is The Best Time To Test for Progesterone
The best time for progesterone is 5-7 days after ovulation. This is within the second half of your cycle. If your menstrual cycle is 28 days, testing around 19-22 days is okay.
When Is The Best Time to Test for Insulin
Evaluating your Insulin level is essential, especially when you have a family history of diabetes or you suspect of suffering from insulin dysregulation.
Insulin tests are carried out early in the morning alongside blood glucose. After eating, finding out what your glucose looks like can help your doctor understand your insulin level.
When Is The Best Time to Test for Cortisol
Cortisol is best tested in the morning at any time of the month. Cortisol is involved in stress response and is responsible for hair loss, blood sugar regulation, fatigue, etc. An adrenal gland produces it.
Testing cortisol helps you understand adrenal functions.
When Is The Best Time to Test for Thyroid
A thyroid test is also conducted in the morning at any point in time. It is typically added when testing for other hormones as it contributes significantly to hormone imbalance.
It is vital to stop using supplements that contain biotin 72 hours in advance for thyroid testing.
Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), Free Thyroxine (T4) and Free Triiodothyronine (T3), Thyroid binding globulin (TBG), Thyroid peroxidase (TPO), and Thyroglobulin (TgAb) antibodies can help with a complete picture of thyroid level in the body.
When Is The Best Time to Test for DHEA
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is a crucial anti-aging hormone and can be tested at any time of the month. It is done together with a cortisol test.
The body converts it to estrogen or testosterone. It is an important marker of adrenal function, and it declines with age.
|Hormone||Best Time to Take Samples|
|Testosterone||In the morning at any time of the month|
|Estrogen||The third day after sighting your period|
|Progesterone||5 – 7 days after ovulation|
|Insulin||Early in the morning|
|Cortisol||In the morning|
|Thyroid||In the morning|
|DHEA||At any time|
Signs And Symptoms of Hormone Imbalance
A broad range of signs and symptoms could signal a hormonal imbalance. Though, this depends on the hormones that are not working correctly.
- Weight gain
- Pain/swelling in joints
- Increased or decreased heart rate
- Muscle ache
- Lump of fat between shoulders
- Painful periods
- Increased thirst
- Increased hunger
- Frequent urination
- Decreased sex drive
- Blurred vision
- Thinning hair
- Dry skin
- Rounded face
- Puffy face
- The appearance of stretch marks
Symptoms That Are Specific to Females
- Heavy or irregular periods
- Hirsutism or excess hair on the face, chin, and other parts of the body.
- Hair loss
- Skin tags
- Acne on the face, chess, and upper back
- Vaginal dryness
- Pain during sex
- Headaches and sweats.
Symptoms That are Specific to Males
Testosterone plays an essential role in development. If you are not producing enough testosterone, it may cause symptoms that include;
- Gynecomastia (development of breast tissue)
- Breast tenderness
- Erectile dysfunction
- Loss of bone mass
- Decreased beard growth
- Hot flashes
- Loss of muscle mass, etc
Though these symptoms are not specific, having one or two does not necessarily mean you may have a hormone imbalance.
So if you experience these symptoms or changes in energy level, you should visit your doctor.
How to Test for Hormone Imbalance
You may have experienced some of the symptoms mentioned above to test for hormonal imbalance.
- You should schedule an appointment with your doctor.
- Be prepared to describe all your symptoms.
- You may be asked to bring your previous medications, vitamins, and supplements.
- A test would be prescribed, and you can then take it, wait for your results, and go on.
- There is an option of getting an at-home hormone test which allows you to send your sample using their kits.
- You have to follow the instructions in the kit for sampling to reduce errors in your results.
- After getting test results, you should follow up with a professional doctor or the support system provided by your at-home hormone test brand. If not, you should go to the hospital for a proper diagnosis.
Different Options for Hormone Testing
Blood will be required for testing. When using an at-home kit, follow the instructions to guide you on getting a proper sample.
In the hospital, your physician will take a sample of your blood to carry out the test.
You can test for thyroid, estrogen, estradiol, progesterone, DHEA, LH, FSH, prolactin, etc.
A urine test involves collecting multiple samples of urine at different times or for 24 hours in a specific container.
Urine tests are used for cortisol, estradiol, testosterone, melatonin, etc.
You may be asked to spit into different containers for saliva testing over one or several days. You can test for cortisol, estrogen, progesterone, etc.
Saliva testing is mainly used for females nearing menopause.
Your doctor may decide to perform a Pap smear in your uterus for females to check for lumps, cysts, or tumors and your scrotum for males.
How to Overcome Hormone Imbalance Naturally
- Say no to sugary drinks
- Avoid taking refined carbs
- Make sure you are getting enough sleep
- Learn to maintain stress level
- Try to exercise regularly
- Take supplements
- Avoid consuming excess alcohol and smoking
- Consume healthy fats like avocados, etc
Hormonal imbalance can cause various complications, such as excess facial hair in females that may make you uncomfortable, hence why testing for hormonal imbalance is essential. With this guide, you know exactly when is the best time to test for hormonal imbalance.
Furthermore, changing our lifestyle to include exercising and healthy eating habits is an excellent way to regulate our hormonal levels. Regardless, if you notice any change in your body or energy levels, don’t hesitate to call your doctor immediately.