Bioidentical Hormone Testing (Female)
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About Our Bioidentical Hormone Testing (Female)
Note: Fasting is not required for this test.
This Bioidentical Hormone Panel tests the levels of hormones that are commonly replaced in hormone replacement therapy.
Many people who choose to undergo hormone replacement therapy take bioidentical hormones, which are hormones made using natural ingredients that are identical to the ones produced by the body. The major hormones produced by the ovaries are tested in this panel:
What are Bioidentical Hormones?
Bioidentical hormones are molecularly identical to the ones produced by the body. They are made in laboratories using a variety of natural plant products, like soy and yam extracts. Because bioidentical hormones mimic the hormones produced naturally, the body is unable to tell the difference between the two, and as such, are believed to be healthier alternatives to synthetic hormones.
Hormones are special types of chemicals produced by glands, which are organs that act as messengers that instruct parts of the body how and when to work. Almost every task in the body is controlled by hormones, which are released into the bloodstream.
When hormone levels become out of balance, negative symptoms can occur. Many women experience these symptoms when going through menopause, which is when women experience a natural decline in reproductive hormones around the age of 40.
Some (but not all) bioidentical hormones that are produced by drug companies are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Association (FDA). These are heavily regulated to provide consistent dosages and effects, and to ensure that the drug usage is safe. Compounding pharmacies are also available to make custom bioidentical hormone medications on a case-by-case basis. These can be more effective, as they evaluate your own personal needs and prescribe dosages that are individually customized.
Bioidentical vs Synthetic Hormones
Before the early 2000s, women were regularly put on synthetic hormones around the age of menopause. Just like Bioidentical hormones, synthetic hormones were taken to help alleviate the symptoms associated with menopause. Hormone replacement therapy has been proven to relieve many of the symptoms associated with menopause, including:
- Hot flashes
- Vaginal discomfort
- Night sweats
- Reduced sex drive
- Low energy
- Weight gain
- Cloudy thinking or memory loss
Synthetic hormones were, however, found to cause health issues in women despite their effectiveness.
A large study in 2002 called the Women’s Health Initiative was infamously halted after researchers discovered their FDA-approved combination of synthetic estrogen and progesterone had increased the risk of breast cancer, heart attack, stroke, and blood clots in the women who took them. This risk was deemed not worthy, and favor began to shift to bioidentical hormones.
Many women and doctors see bioidentical hormones as the safer option, despite lacking FDA-approval and regulation. Celebrities such as Oprah have publicly supported bioidentical hormones in the past.
Why take this test?
There are many reasons to take bioidentical hormone supplements, but the most common reason is to alleviate the symptoms associated with menopause. Before beginning hormone treatment, it can be helpful to your doctor to have this test performed so that they may gain a better understanding of the current state of your hormones and determine if bioidentical hormones are right for you. This type of testing is known as a baseline assessment.