The Female Hormone Panel
In the course of a woman’s lifecycle, she experiences transitions (stages of her reproductive life) that are characterized by a shifting and readjustment of the hormones associated with reproduction. These hormones include estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.
Premenopause refers to the time from a woman’s first to her last regular menstrual period. The age a woman begins and ends her period varies, but it usually starts at age 12 (or so), and ends in her late 40’s or early 50’s. It is the stage of life in which a woman is having a period in a cyclical manner, on average every 26-30 days, referred to as the menstrual cycle. This time of a woman’s life is referred to as the “normal” reproductive phase for a woman. It is the time of life when a woman can get pregnant.
Phases of a Woman’s Menstrual Cycle
A woman’s menstrual cycle has 3 physiological phases:
1. The follicular phase starts with the onset of menstrual blood flow and is of variable length.
2. The ovulation phase is 1 to 3 days long and the human ovum (egg) is released.
3. The luteal phase should be constant in length, 12-14 days, and ends once the onset of menses occurs.
During each phase, the female sex hormones estrogen and progesterone are released at different rates. Estrogen and progesterone affect several target organs involved in a successful conception and pregnancy. These target organs include the uterus, fallopian tubes, vagina, breast, bones, kidney, and liver. These hormones can also elevate blood sugar, increase appetite, and have a general calming affect on the nervous system. They can also play a role in weight gain, as well as an overall sense of well-being.
If the hormones produced in each phase are out-of-balance, symptoms of PMS (bloating, cramping, mood swings, etc.) can occur, or it can be difficult to get pregnant. Weight gain can also occur.
Testing for Female Hormones While Still Menstruating
A female hormone panel measures the output of progesterone and estrogen during all three (3) phases of a woman’s menstrual cycle; that is, in a 27-day period. It will also measure the production of testosterone. It is a salivary test done in the convenience of your home.
Over 27 days, saliva is collected 11 different times. Information about how to do the test and when to collect saliva is contained in the test kit provided. Test tubes for salivary collection, forms to be submitted to the lab, and prepaid postage for mailing the collected saliva to the lab is also provided in the test kit. The test kit box is the same box used to mail the test tubes back to the lab.
Nutrition Consultation and Programs
A nutritional consultation will determine whether or not this test will be needed to bring the body back into nutritional balance. If this test is recommended, once the results are received by me, a nutritional program is then tailored to your specific nutritional needs to improve hormonal function. Diet, supplementation, and other nutritional and lifestyle considerations are important for maintaining healthy hormonal function and will help to bring the body back into balance. Our programs help to correct nutritional deficiencies, and in doing so, overall health is improved.