A hormone panel is a group of tests that measure the various hormones in your bloodstream. This type of test can be used to diagnose and/or monitor conditions related to hormone imbalance, such as thyroid disorders, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), adrenal gland disorders, pituitary gland abnormalities, and menopause.
The types of hormones measured on a hormone panel may vary depending on the specific diagnostic needs of the patient. Generally, though, these tests measure levels of cortisol, testosterone, luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), estradiol , progesterone, human growth hormone (HGH or GH), and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH).
Understanding When to Request a Hormone Panel
Your doctor may recommend getting a hormone panel if you’re having symptoms that could indicate an imbalance in your levels of certain hormones. For example, low testosterone is associated with symptons such as decreased strength and energy levels in men; women may find themselves experiencing irregular menstrual cycles if their estrogen is out of balance. By measuring the concentration of various hormones in your blood stream your physician will have greater clarity regarding any underlying hormonal imbalances that could be contributing to your symptoms.
In some cases a pharmacologic challenge or stimulation test might be used to determine whether or not the endocrine system is functioning properly. In this type of test, the patient will receive either synthetic versions or additional doses of certain hormones while they are monitored for any changes in physiological responses over time.
It’s also important to note that certain population groups tend to have higher rates of endocrine diseases and disorders than others-- for instance African American women are more likely to suffer from PCOS compared to other racial groups. If you fall into one of these risk categories it’s especially important that you speak with your physician about routinely testing for abnormal levels of hormones at regular intervals throughout the year..
Getting a comprehensive evaluation from a hormone panel can provide invaluable insights into your health but there are both advantages and disadvantages associated with this approach:
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