Complete Guide to Understanding Hormone Levels and how to accurately test hormone levels

Hormones, what a complicated topic! I want to break down some of the common things I see when it comes to hormones.

I cover what it looks like to have:

  • too little estrogen or too much estrogen
  • too little testosterone or too much testosterone
  • too little progesterone or too much progesterone 

Estrogen 101

Looking at too little or too much estrogen doesn't pertain to just women but is also something to look at in men. Here is a breakdown of what to look out for.

Too much estrogen in women may cause:

  • heavy periods
  • painful periods
  • breast tenderness
  • cysts on ovaries
  • weight gain
  • changes in mood
  • headaches

Common causes in women may be:

  • PCOS
  • the birth control pill
  • insulin issues
  • high body fat composition
  • xenoestrogens

Too much estrogen in men may cause:

  • breast development
  • changes in mood
  • and weight gain

Common causes in men may be:

  • insulin issues
  • high body fat composition
  • xenoestrogens

To help decrease estrogen the following tip may help:

  • support gut health with proper hydration, fiber, chewing well, etc.
  • support healthy liver detoxification
  • prioritize sleep
  • manage stress
  • consider supplementation with the assistance of a professional (DIM, calcium-D-glucarate)
  • eat cruciferous vegetables
  • for men, this may look similar but with slight changes

Too little estrogen in women:

  • joint issues
  • brain fog
  • pain during sex
  • mood changes
  • fatigue
  • in men: may not show symptoms

 Common causes for low estrogen in women:

  • birth control
  • menopause
  • irregular cycle
  • among others

 Progesterone 101

Progesterone, which is produced mainly in the ovaries and the adrenal glands, helps you feel calm.

Too much progesterone in women may cause:

  • PMS symptoms
  • headaches
  • changes in mood

To help decrease progesterone, these things may help;

  • liver detoxification
  • supplement regime
  • also reevaluate supplements and herbs you may already be taking that may be increasing progesterone levels

Too little progesterone in women may cause:

  • changes in mood
  • PMS symptoms
  • irregular cycles
  • sleep issues

Common causes for too little progesterone in women may be:

  • PCOS
  • hypothyroidism
  • irregular cycle
  • among others

To help increase progesterone these things may help:

  • vitamin B6 or vitamin B6 rich foods (spinach, banana, sweet potato, quality animal protein)
  • maca
  • quality protein

 Testosterone 101

Testosterone is typically seen as a "male" hormone but it's super important for women as well! We need it for our bones, brain, energy and so on.

Too much testosterone in women may cause:

  • acne
  • hair growth in unwanted places
  • changes in mood
  • low libido

To help decrease testosterone, these things may help:

  • intermittent fasting  (manage blood sugar)
  • drink green tea
  • zinc
  • DIM and calcium-D-glucarate
  • saw palmetto
  • NAC

 Common causes for high testosterone in women may be:

  • coming off the birth control pill
  • PCOS

Too little testosterone in women may cause:

  • mood swings
  • changes in muscle form
  • low libido
  • dry skin
  • thinning hair

 Common causes for low testosterone in women may be:

  • birth control pill
  • thyroid conditions
  • menopause
  • issues with the pituitary gland

 To help increase testosterone, these things may help:

  • remove xenoestrogens
  • ensure a healthy source of fats, carbs, and protein
  • consider weight training
  • consider supplementation (i.e. zinc, arginine, etc)

Hormone Testing

DUTCH which stands for Dried Urine Test for Comprehensive Hormones is a test run by Precision Analytical. The DUTCH Complete is one of the most common tests ordered as it gives a comprehensive understanding of your hormones.

 

So What Does it Test?

According to Precision Analytical:

"This advanced hormone testing was developed to improve on available hormone testing options. DUTCH offers the most extensive profile of sex and adrenal hormones along with their metabolites. Additionally, the daily (diurnal) pattern of free cortisol is included, along with melatonin (6-OHMS), 8-OHdG, and six organic acids. This unique combination of clinical information is not available by any other method" (1).

See full list at the end of this blog!

How Does it Work?

High level, patients collect four to five urine samples over a 24-hour period of time. Once they are fully dried, they are shipped back for testing (1). Depending on your gender and where you are on your cycle, this will dictate when you should do the samples.

 I'm a man so can I still benefit from this testing?

Yes! Men experience changes in their hormones over the years as well. For example, testosterone and DHEA levels tend to fall while estrogen tends to rise (2). Some men experience low libido, mood changes, hair loss, weight changes, and poor sleep as they age and are also at increased risk of prostate cancer (2), so it's important they regularly test their hormones as well and get regular check-ups from their medical doctor.

See a sample male report here!

I'm a woman and would like to know how this testing can help me!

All throughout a women's life, her hormones change as well as throughout her menstrual cycle. Women may experience PMS, weight changes, changes in mood, fatigue, and so on (3) which can often go undiagnosed as women either push through or their symptoms are not being taken seriously. This test is key for women as it can test sex and adrenal hormones and other metabolites which allow their health care practitioner to make more informed choices and plans.

See a sample female report here!

 

Is this test for me?

This test may be for you if you have noticed:

  • changes in your weight
  • changes in your mood
  • experiencing acne
  • experiencing thinning hair on the scalp
  • irregular or painful periods
  • increase of body hair other than the scalp
  • fatigue and brain fog
  • highly stressed

 Full Test List (4):

Progesterone Metabolites

  • b-Pregnanediol
  • a-Pregnanediol

 Androgen Metabolites

  • DHEA-S
  • Androsterone
  • Etiocholanolone
  • Testosterone
  • 5a-DHT
  • 5a-Androstanediol
  • 5b-Androstanediol
  • Epi-Testosterone

 Estrogen Metabolites

  • Estrone (E1)
  • Estradiol (E2)
  • Estriol (E3)
  • 2-Hydroxyestrone (2-OH-E1)
  • 4-Hydroxyestrone (4-OH-E1)
  • 16-Hydroxyestrone (16-OH-E1)
  • 2-Methoxyestrone (2-Methoxy-E1)
  • 2-Methoxyestradiol (2-Methoxy-E2)
  • 2-Hydroxyestradiol (2-OH-E2)
  • 4-Hydroxyestradiol (4-OH-E2)

 Cortisol and Cortisone

  • Diurnal Pattern of Free Cortisol
  • Diurnal Pattern of Free Cortisone
  • a-Tetrahydrocortisol (a-THF)
  • b-Tetrahydrocortisol (b-THF)
  • b-Tetrahydrocortisone (b-THE)
  • Metabolized Cortisol (THF+THE)

 DUTCH OATS

Organic Acids (HVA, VMA, KYNA, MMA,

  • Xanthurenate, Pyroglutamate)
  • 8-OHdG (8-Hydroxy-2-deoxyguanosine)
  • Melatonin (6-OH-Melatonin-Sulfate)

Sources:

  1. https://dutchtest.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Dutch-Complete-Provider-Info-Sheet.pdf
  2. https://dutchtest.com/men/
  3. https://dutchtest.com/women/
  4. https://dutchtest.com/biomarker-comparison-chart/

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