Discover what hormones are likely driving you crazy each month. PMS, yo-yo moods, crying, painful, heavy bleeding. I see you.
Your dog, pilates and coffee obsessed Nutritionist.
This article outlines the most accurate times of the menstrual cycle to conduct blood tests, depending on what hormones are being tested.
This article relates to blood testing specifically as this is typically a method of testing that can be done with a referral from a General Practitioner. Commonly I use saliva or urine testing to assess hormonal status in clinic, as there are certain hormones or metabolites that are more accurately tested using these mediums.
Before outlining the best times to test certain hormones, it’s key to understand that the liver and gut play a role in breaking down hormones. If either of these pathways are not functioning optimally they commonly cause hormonal imbalances.
Please note: If you are currently taking the oral contraceptive pill you don’t ovulate or have a period. Instead you have a withdrawal bleed.
I strongly advocate for testing with all my clients. The more data and information available the easier it is to address the root cause of the issue.
Hormone levels change across the month, understanding the flow of hormones and what day/s to test is key to help you understand if something is outside the normal range.
Day 3 of your cycle is the best day to test oestradiol (E2), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). Testing FSH and LH gives and idea of how well the brain is communicating with the ovaries. In women with PCOS LH to FSH ratio is often higher, at 2:1 or 3:1.
Note: the LH to FSH ratio alone is not appropriate as the basis of a PCOS diagnosis but forms part of the overall picture.
In my clinic I frequently test oestrogen levels between days 19-22 or 7 days after ovulation. Around this time of the cycle, testing provides an understanding of your progesterone to oestrogen ratio.
If your oestrogen is much higher than progesterone it’s possibly contributing to weight gain, mood changes and heavy periods.
Progesterone levels are supposed to be highest 5-7 days after ovulation, approximately days 19-22. Many women don’t have text book 28 day cycles and so if you are looking at doing further testing I highly recommend tracking your cycle using the basal body temperature method, so that you can find out what day you ovulate.
Testosterone is highest in the morning and best tested between 7 am and 10 am. All women make testosterone. When levels are too high typically it’s linked to PCOS and symptoms like acne, irregular periods and hair growth around the face coupled with hair loss from the head. When levels are too low we see low libido, fatigue and poor muscle tone.
When it comes to your health, you call the shots. If something doesn’t ‘feel right’ in your body it’s up to you to advocate for yourself and ask for more testing.
The above tests are basic blood tests. In Australia you can speak to your GP about ordering these tests. Some others that you might like to consider are:
If you would like some personalised support please book in for a complimentary consultation here.