CHECK BLOOD TESTS
A comprehensive hormone check for women to get a detailed understanding of the hormones affecting fertility and the menstrual cycle.
Female Hormone Check Blood Test
About this test – Why take this test?
- You suffer from irregular, heavy, scant or absent periods and you want to investigate the cause
- You are planning a family and want to check your reproductive hormones for fertility
- You have symptoms which you think might be related to a hormone imbalance
A woman’s sex hormones govern the reproductive system and any imbalance can affect fertility, the menstrual cycle and much more, including mood, libido and bone health. Women’s hormones will fluctuate during the menstrual cycle where the action of different hormones at different stages of the cycle will ensure the maturation and release of an egg from the ovary as well as the preparation of the lining of the womb for pregnancy. By measuring FSH, LH, prolactin and oestradiol on day 3 of your cycle (3 days after the start of your period – although you can also take this test on day 2, 4 or 5) this test will help to assess whether any hormonal issues may be affecting ovulation.
Levels of FSH rise in women as egg production declines, so it may be used in certain circumstances to assess the likelihood of whether a woman is going through the menopause.
The National Institute for Health & Care Excellence (NICE) recommend that FSH testing is only considered to diagnose menopause in women aged 40-45 with menopausal symptoms (including a change in their menstrual cycle) or in women under the age of 40 in whom menopause is suspected.
Due to significant fluctuation in FSH levels around the time of menopause, there is a chance that this test may show normal pre-menopause levels of FSH in someone who is going through, or has been through, the menopause.
The Female Hormone Check also measures testosterone, a male hormone which is also produced in women in small amounts, but which can cause unwanted male characteristics such as facial hair, deepening voice and acne if levels are too high. By including a Free Androgen Index (FAI) ratio we can measure the amount of testosterone which is available to your cells. High levels of male androgens are associated with polycystic ovary syndrome. Two key thyroid hormones, thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) and free T4 (FT4) are also included in this profile to check your thyroid health.
Please note that any hormones you are taking for contraception or hormone replacement therapy (HRT) will influence your result. If you are looking for a true picture of your natural hormone status then please take this test at least 12 weeks after stopping any hormone replacement or contraceptive pill, implant or hormone IUD (if you are premenopausal and do not wish to become pregnant then please make sure that you use an alternative non-hormonal form of contraception). If you have not been through the menopause then we suggest waiting until your periods have re-established a regular cycle (for you) before taking this test.
Follicle Stimulating Hormone is produced in the pituitary gland and is important for women in the production of eggs by the ovaries and for men in the production of sperm.
Luteinising Hormone (LH) is produced by the pituitary gland and is important for male and female fertility. In women it governs the menstrual cycle, peaking before ovulation. In men it stimulates the production of testosterone.
Testosterone is a male sex hormone which is produced in the testicles of men and, in much smaller amounts, in the ovaries of women. It is responsible for bone and muscle strength, as well as mood, energy and sexual function.
Testosterone levels decline with age and it is unusual to find naturally elevated levels in men. Low testosterone is more common than raised testosterone in the absence of supplementation.
In women, raised testosterone can result in male characteristics such as body hair, greater bulk, a deeper voice and acne – all symptoms of polycystic ovaries, a condition in which elevated testosterone is commonly seen.
Most of the sex hormones – testosterone, oestrogen and dihydrotestosterone (DHT) – found in your blood are bound to Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG) which means that they are unavailable to your cells. Measuring the level of SHBG in your blood gives important information about your levels of “free” or unbound hormones which are biologically active and available for use.
Elevated SHBG indicates that there is less testosterone or oestrogen available for use whereas low levels can mean an excess of available hormones.
The free androgen index (FAI) is a calculation used to determine the amount of male hormones (androgens) which are free (unbound) in the bloodstream. Most testosterone is bound to proteins – sex hormone binding globulin and albumin. The FAI is a calculation based on the ratio of testosterone and SHBG and is a measure of the amount of circulating available testosterone.
A low FAI in men can indicate reduced levels of testosterone available to the cells which can lead to symptoms such as loss of libido, difficulty gaining muscle mass and erectile disfunction.
In women an elevated FAI may signify polycystic ovary syndrome.
Oestradiol is a female steroid hormone which is produced in the ovaries of women and to a much lesser extent in the testes of men. It is responsible for the female reproductive system as well as the growth of breast tissue and bone thickness. Oestradiol levels decline with age, culminating in the menopause when the ovaries stop producing eggs.
Raised oestradiol in women can cause acne, constipation, loss of sex drive and depression as well as raising the risk of uterine and breast cancer.
Oestradiol can also be raised in men due to excess fat (which produces oestradiol) or in relation to testosterone levels which have declined with age. Raised oestradiol in men can cause the growth of breast tissue, the loss of libido and infertility.
Low levels of oestradiol in women can lead to osteoporosis, problems with the menstrual cycle and fertility as well as fatigue and depression.
Prolactin is a hormone which is produced in the pituitary gland and plays a role in reproductive health. Its primary purpose is to stimulate milk production after childbirth, and in pregnant and breastfeeding women prolactin levels can soar.
Raised levels in a woman who isn’t pregnant or breastfeeding can signal fertility problems as well as irregular periods.
Raised levels in men can cause reduced sex drive, lack of energy, erectile disfunction and fertility problems.
Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) is produced in the pituitary gland and stimulates the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3).
High levels of TSH indicate an underactive thyroid while low levels indicate an overactive thyroid. In primary pituitary failure, a low TSH will be associated with an underactive thyroid.
Thyroxine (T4) is one of two hormones produced by the thyroid gland. Most T4 is bound to carrier proteins in the blood. This test measures the level of T4 which is free, or unbound, circulating in your blood.
High levels of free thyroxine can indicate an overactive thyroid while low levels can indicate an underactive thyroid.
How it Works:
Order your test. We will arrange for one of our trained phlebotomists to take your sample and send it to our accredited laboratory.
We will email you with your results within the specified turnaround times.
Our tests are not a substitute for seeing your doctor, especially if you are suffering symptoms. We can arrange to have your results interpreted based on the information you have provided, but will not diagnose, consult or provide any treatment. (This incurs an additional cost and will need to be requested at time of ordering).
You will be advised to see your doctor.
The prices shown above do not include Phlebotomy fees.
If you would like to make an enquiry or arrange a blood test can you please fill in the contact form below or call us on 01633 718001