Reproductive Health Issues

Female Hormone Blood Tests

FSH

Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) is made by the pituitary gland. FSH stimulates the development of an egg (follicle) in the ovary to get it ready for conception. As estrogen and other hormone levels decline (e.g. menopause or a decreased ovarian reserve), FSH levels rise since the adrenal gland creates more FSH to stimulate the follicle cycle.

This test may be used to evaluate such conditions as abnormal menstrual bleeding, difficulties becoming pregnant, or infertility, symptoms related to menopause, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), pituitary gland tumors, and ovarian cysts.

Related: Lab Tests for Menopause Hormones

Estrogen

Estrogen is a class of hormones which includes estradiol, estriol, and estrone. Estradiol is produced mainly by the ovaries and can be responsible for sexual performance, healthy bones, and feminine traits. 

Low estrogen levels may be a indication of such ailments as polycystic ovarian syndrome, hypopituitarism, hypogonadism, anorexia nervosa, or low body fat. Certain medications such as clomiphene may also lower estrogen levels. Elevated estrogen levels may occur with conditions such as diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and with the use of some drugs, such as steroid hormones, phenothiazines, tetracyclines, and ampicillin.

Testosterone/DHEA

In women, the origin of testosterone within the body is the uterus and the adrenal glands. High testosterone levels might lead to irregular or missed menstrual periods, weight gain, excess body hair, acne, infertility, deepening of the voice, and hair loss. Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a frequent reason for high testosterone levels.

Lower levels of testosterone may occur through menopause, which might lead to a reduced libido. 

Much like testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is an androgen. An elevated DHEA level might occur in conditions such as congenital adrenal hyperplasia or an adrenocortical tumor.

Connected: Understanding Blood Tests for PCOS

Thyroid Function

Tests that could be done as part of a thyroid analysis may include the thyroid gland (TSH), which is secreted from the pituitary gland and regulates the release of both thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Other tests include reverse T3, thyroid peroxidase (TPO) antibodies, thyroid stimulating immunoglobulins (TSI), and thyroglobulin.

Progesterone

A hormone produced by the ovaries during ovulation, progesterone will help prepare the uterine lining to get an egg when it becomes fertilized by a sperm. If the egg is not fertilized, menstruation begins. Progesterone levels may be measured to find the cause of infertility, to diagnose adrenal gland ailments and some types of cancer, or to evaluate the risk of miscarriage. 

Related: Things to Expect During Fertility Tests

Getting Tested

If you are experiencing some symptoms, it is important to speak to your primary care provider.

Disclaimer: The information contained on this website is intended for educational purposes only and isn’t a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a qualified physician. It is not supposed to cover all probable precautions, drug interactions, adverse or circumstances effects. You should seek prompt medical care for any medical issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medication or making a change to your regimen.

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