Hormones – A hormone test is a type of blood test used to detect hormone imbalances in your body. Hormones are chemicals produced by your body that regulate everything from your sleep to your digestion.

When your hormones are out of balance, you can develop a variety of symptoms, some of which can be serious. If you think you have a hormone imbalance, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible.

Common causes of a hormone imbalance include:

  • An underlying condition, such as diabetes
  • An under-active or overactive thyroid
  • Medications
  • Stress
  • Tumours

The following hormone tests are available below

Cortisol, Luteinising hormone, FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone), Oestradiol, Progesterone, Prolactin, Testosterone

 

Hormones - Cortisol Test

Cortisol

A cortisol test measures the level of cortisol in your blood to see if your levels are normal. The Cortisol hormone affects almost every organ and tissue in your body. It helps your body:

Respond to stress (cortisol is sometimes called the “stress hormone”)
Reduce inflammation.
Regulate blood sugar and metabolism (how your body uses food for energy)
Control blood pressure

Why You should get Tested.

This test is commonly requested as part of a general screening to help diagnose or rule out Cushing syndrome or Addison disease (primary adrenal insufficiency or secondary adrenal insufficiency).

Sample Required?

A blood sample will be taken by one of our experienced and dedicated phlebotomist’s. They will use a hypodermic needle, which will be inserted into a vein in your arm.

The blood sample is then sent to be analysed in our specialist laboratory. Most hormones can be detected in your blood

When You should get Tested.

If your doctor suspects an underactive, or damaged adrenal gland with too little production of cortisol, or a condition that could result in the body producing too much cortisol.

Test Preparation

None: You can eat and drink as usual before the test.

Please ensure at the time of testing the phlebotomist is aware if you are currently or recently have been taking steroid medication (such as hydrocortisone, prednisone, prednisolone, dexamethasone), as these can affect test results.

Hormones - Luteinizing Hormone (LH)

Luteinizing Hormone (LH)

Luteinizing Hormone (LH) is produced by your pituitary gland, a small gland located underneath the brain. LH plays an important role in sexual development and functioning.

In women, LH helps control the menstrual cycle. It also triggers the release of an egg from the ovary. This is known as ovulation. LH levels quickly rise just before ovulation.

In men, LH causes the testicles to make testosterone, which is important for producing sperm. Normally, LH levels in men do not change very much.

In children, LH levels are usually low in early childhood, and begin to rise a couple of years before the start of puberty. In girls, LH helps signal the ovaries to make estrogen. In boys, it helps signal the testes to make testosterone.

Too much or too little LH can cause a variety of problems, including infertility (the inability to get pregnant), menstrual difficulties in women, low sex drive in men, and early or delayed puberty in children.

Why You should get Tested.

For women, you may need this test if:

  • You’ve been unable to get pregnant after 12 months of trying.
  • Your menstrual cycle is irregular.
  • Your periods have stopped. The test may be used to find out if you have gone through menopause or are in perimenopause.

For men, you may need this test if:

  • You’ve been unable to get your partner pregnant after 12 months of trying.
  • Your sex drive is decreased.

Your child may need an LH test if he or she is does not seem to be starting puberty at the right age (either too early or too late).

 

Sample Required?

A blood sample will be taken from a vein in your arm.

When You should get Tested.

This is usually determined by your doctor when a couple are having difficulty achieving a pregnancy or a woman is having irregular menstrual periods or when a child has delayed or earlier than expected sexual maturation

Test Preparation

None: You can eat and drink as usual before the test.

FSH Test

FSH Test (Follicle Stimulating Hormone)

FSH is made by your pituitary gland, a small gland located underneath the brain. FSH plays an important role in sexual development and functioning.

FSH helps control the menstrual cycle and stimulates the growth of eggs in the ovaries

Why You should get Tested.

This test is commonly requested to evaluate the function of your pituitary gland, which regulates the hormones that control your reproductive system.

If you are a woman, you may need this test if:

  • You’re unable to conceive  after 12 months of trying.
  • Your menstrual cycle is irregular.
  • Your periods have stopped.
If you are a man, you may need this test if:

  • You’ve been unable to get your partner pregnant after 12 months of trying.
  • Your sex drive is decreased.
Both men and women may need testing if they have symptoms of a pituitary disorder. These include some of the symptoms listed above, as well as:

Fatigue
Weakness
Weight loss
Decreased appetite

Your child may need an FSH test if he or she does not seem to be starting puberty at the right age (either too early or too late).

Sample Required?

A blood sample will be taken from a vein in your arm.

When You should get Tested.

FSH together with another hormone called luteinizing hormone controls sexual functions. An FSH test is used in different ways, depending on whether you are a woman, man, or child.

In women, these tests are most often used to:

  • Help find the cause of infertility
  • Find out if there is a problem with ovarian function
  • Find the reason for irregular or stopped menstrual periods
  • Confirm the start of menopause, or perimenopause.

In men, these tests are most often used to:

  • Help find the cause of infertility
  • Find the reason for a low sperm count
  • Find out if there is a problem with the testicles

In children, these tests are most often used to help diagnose early or delayed puberty.

Puberty is considered early if it starts before age 9 in girls and before age 10 in boys.

Puberty is considered delayed if it hasn’t started by age 13 in girls and by age 14 in boys.

Test Preparation

No special preparation is required for the test, but the blood sample should be taken at the start of a woman’s cycle (days 1 to 4 if the cycles are regular)

oestradiol test

Oestradiol (Estradiol)

Oestradiol is an important reproductive hormone that has a wide range of actions in both men and women.

Oestradiol (E2) is a steroid hormone made from cholesterol and is the strongest of the three naturally occurring oestrogens (oestrone E1, oestradiol E2, oestriol E3). It is the main oestrogen found in women and has many functions, although it mainly acts to mature and maintain the female reproductive system.

Men also produce oestradiol in small amounts but much lower than in women. Within the testes, some testosterone is changed into oestradiol by the enzyme Aromatase and this oestradiol is essential for the production of sperm.

Why You should get Tested.

This test is commonly requested to measure or monitor your oestrogen (estrogen steroid hormone) levels.

If you are a woman who has unexplained abnormal menstrual cycles, abnormal or heavy bleeding, infertility problems, symptoms of menopause, or any other hormonal irregularities.

Sample Required?

A blood sample will be taken from a vein in your arm.

When You should get Tested.

This is usually determined by your doctor when you have symptoms of a hormone imbalance, absent or abnormal periods or as part of infertility investigations.

It is also requested when there is unusual and/or early sex organ development (male and female), or Gynecomastia (breast development in males)

Test Preparation

Your doctor may tell you to temporarily stop taking certain medicines that may affect test results. Be sure to tell your test clinic about all the medicines you take. These include:

Birth control pills
Antibiotics such as ampicillin or tetracycline
Corticosteroids
DHEA (a supplement)
Estrogen
Medicine to manage mental disorders (such as phenothiazine)
Testosterone

Do not stop taking any medicine before talking to your doctor.

Progesterone Test

Progesterone

 Progesterone is a hormone that’s made mainly by the ovaries, which are two glands in the female reproductive system that contain eggs. It plays an important role in the menstrual cycle and in maintaining the early stages of pregnancy.

Each month, progesterone prepares your uterus for pregnancy. During a normal menstrual cycle, an ovary releases an egg and your progesterone levels begin to rise. Progesterone makes the lining of your uterus grow thicker so that a fertilized egg can attach (implant) inside of the uterus and grow into a baby.

Why You should get Tested.

This test is most commonly requested during the investigation of infertility, to look for the presence of ovulation.

It may also be used to help diagnose an ectopic or failing pregnancy or in the investigation of abnormal uterine bleeding.

Sample Required?

A blood sample will be taken from a vein in your arm.

When You should get Tested.

This is usually determined by your doctor at specific times during a woman’s menstrual cycle (period) to:-

determine if she is ovulating and producing eggs. To find the cause of female infertility,
to check to see if fertility treatments are working,
to find out your risk of a miscarriage,
to diagnose an ectopic pregnancy,
to check the health of a high-risk pregnancy,
to diagnose ovarian cancer or problems with your adrenal glands.

Test Preparation

None: You can eat and drink as usual before the test.

Prolactin Test

Prolactin

Prolactin is a hormone released by the pituitary gland. The pituitary is a small gland at the base of the brain. It regulates the body’s balance of many hormones.

Prolactin stimulates breast development and milk production in women. There is no known normal function for prolactin in men.

Prolactin is usually measured when checking for pituitary tumors and the cause of:

Breast milk production that is not related to childbirth (galactorrhea)
Decreased sex drive (libido) in men and women
Erection problems in men
Not able to get pregnant (infertility)
Irregular or no menstrual periods (amenorrhea)

Why You should get Tested.

This test is commonly requested when checking for pituitary tumors and the cause of:

Breast milk production that is not related to childbirth (galactorrhea)
Decreased sex drive (libido) in men and women
Erection problems in men
Not able to get pregnant (infertility)
Irregular or no menstrual periods (amenorrhea)

Sample Required?

A blood sample will be taken from a vein in your arm.

When You should get Tested.

This is usually determined by your doctor who is trying to diagnose or rule out possible conditions.

When you have symptoms of an elevated prolactin, such as galactorrhoea (breast milk production, not during pregnancy) and/or visual disturbances and headaches; as part of investigation for female and male infertility; for follow up of low testosterone in men

Test Preparation

None: You can eat and drink as usual before the test.

testosterone test

Testosterone

Testosterone is known as a “male” sex hormone, but females also have testosterone in smaller amounts.

Testosterone is made by:

The testicles (testes), the part of the male reproductive system that makes sperm
The ovaries, the part of the female reproductive system that makes eggs
The adrenal glands, organs on top of each kidney that make several hormones

During male puberty, testosterone causes body hair, muscle growth, and a deepening voice. In adult life, it controls sex drive, maintains muscle mass, and helps make sperm. In females, testosterone is important for the growth of bones and muscles, and healthy organs.

There are different forms of testosterone in your blood that may be measured to help diagnose certain health problems. Most of your testosterone is attached to proteins. The proteins prevent your tissues from using the testosterone right away, which helps control the amount of “active” testosterone in your body. Testosterone that’s not attached to proteins is called free testosterone. Free testosterone acts on your tissues.

Why You should get Tested.

This test is commonly requested as part of a general screening to find out if testosterone levels are abnormal in a male or female patients.

Testing may help to explain why a man has difficulty in getting an erect penis (erectile dysfunction), the inability of your partner to get pregnant (infertility), premature or delayed puberty, or masculine physical features if you are women.

In a women it is used to investigate polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). More recently it has been used to investigate Male Menopause.

Sample Required?

A blood sample will be taken from a vein in your arm.

When You should get Tested.

This is usually determined by your doctor.  If you are man and your doctor thinks that you may be infertile or if you are unable to get or maintain an erection.

If you are a boy with either early or delayed sexual maturity

If you are a female but have male traits, such as a low voice or excessive body hair (hirsutism), or are infertile or have no periods or if they are irregular

Test Preparation

None: You can eat and drink as usual before the test.

Testosterone levels in males are highest in the morning and lowest in the late afternoon and evening your doctor may ask you to have your blood taken in the early morning (about 9am).