Women Should Consider Hormone Testing
Blood levels of "free" unbound hormones -- or salivary hormone levels of estradiol, progesterone, and testosterone -- can help you determine where you stand during the transition. Though many doctors aren't familiar with it, salivary hormone testing has been proven reliable for nearly 30 years.
Baseline Hormone Testing
It is ideal to have a baseline salivary hormone profile during your late thirties to early forties -- before you've started experiencing any perimenopausal symptoms. A baseline profile will let you and your physician know what levels of hormones are normal for your body -- information that can be invaluable for adjusting individualized hormone replacement later on, should you choose to use it. In addition, as some women continue to produce sufficient hormones on their own throughout their lives, baseline hormone levels also help you decide whether or not you need hormone replacement for optimum health. A salivary hormone panel will let you and your health care practitioner know that the dosage of your hormones is right for you -- and that you are not being over- or undermedicated with hormones.
In general, you should be tested before starting hormone replacement, then every six months until you've found a satisfactory dose. After that, testing every year is fine.
WHO SHOULD BE TESTED?
Those concerned with decreasing hormone levels as a result of age. Cycling women experiencing PMS symptoms, perhaps related to a hormonal imbalance. Peri and postmenopausal women concerned with their estradiol and progesterone levels for replacement considerations. Those wishing to monitor their hormone levels following replacement therapy (oral, sublingual or topical), and subsequently regulate their supplement levels.
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