Female Hormone Blood Test, from our experts to you.Dr Natasha Fernando MBBS, MRCGP
What are Female Hormones?
What are the symptoms of a hormonal imbalance?
Why check my thyroid?
How to prepare for your test
Hormonal changes in the menstrual cycle
For women who have periods, your female hormone levels control the menstrual cycle. Your cycle length is measured from the day your period starts, to the start of your next period. On average the menstrual cycle lasts for 28 days - but your menstrual cycle can last for anywhere between 21 to 40 days. A blood test can help you to track the hormonal changes which occur during your menstrual cycle.
How your hormone levels change throughout your cycle
Day one is the day your period starts. At this point, your female hormone levels are low. An egg begins to develop in one of your ovaries and gradually produces the hormone oestrogen. Around days 10 – 16, your oestrogen levels are at their highest. A rise in the hormones LH and FSH cause the egg to be released from your ovary. The egg implants itself in your womb and your body begins to produce the hormone progesterone and a smaller amount of oestrogen. By the end of your cycle (around day 28), an unfertilised egg breaks down, and your hormone levels will fall. This hormonal change causes your period to start, and the menstrual cycle to begin again.
Health conditions and female hormones
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that stops eggs from developing normally in the ovaries.
Symptoms of PCOS include:
- Excessive hair growth
- Weight gain
- Irregular or missed periods
- High levels of the male hormone testosterone.
Thyroid problems, such as an overactive or underactive thyroid, can also affect the development of eggs in your ovaries and hence affect your hormone levels. Testing your hormone levels can help you to understand whether a health problem, such as PCOS or a thyroid problem, is leading to hormonal changes in your body.
Hormonal changes in the menopause
Menopause causes a change in hormone levels, such as decreased levels of the hormones oestrogen and progesterone. On average, menopause usually occurs between 45 and 55 years of age. Menopause is a natural change which all women will go through, but it can have a big impact on a woman's sense of wellbeing.
Symptoms of menopause include:
- Hot flushes
- Mood changes such as depression and anxiety
- Night sweats
- Tiredness and fatigue
- Changes to your menstrual cycle
- Reduced sex drive
- Problems with memory and concentration
- Vaginal dryness and pain
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can reintroduce hormones into your body to treat these symptoms. Most HRT is a combination of oestrogen and progesterone, which you can take by oral tablets, skin patches or gels. If you think you could be transitioning into menopause, a blood test can help identify whether low hormone levels are causing your symptoms. It can also help you to monitor the impact of HRT on your body. You can read more about menopause here and learn about the simple dietary and lifestyle changes that can improve your symptoms.
Female hormones in men
If men have high levels of female hormones, they can experience unwanted symptoms such as reduced sex drive, loss of muscle and increased body fat. It could lead to the growth of breast tissue called gynecomastia. Men are more likely to experience a fall in oestrogen levels in older age, which can occur along with a fall in testosterone levels. Sometimes this can be called 'male menopause', 'manopause', or andropause. Men may be interested to take our specially designed Male Hormone Blood Test.