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Hormones are chemicals that coordinate different functions in your body by carrying messages through your blood to your organs, skin, muscles and other tissues. These signals tell your body what to do and when to do it. Hormones are essential for life and your health.
Scientists have identified over 50 hormones in the human body so far.
Hormones and most of the tissues (mainly glands) that create and release them make up your endocrine system. Hormones control many different bodily processes, including:
- Homeostasis (constant internal balance).
- Growth and development.
- Sexual function.
- Sleep-wake cycle.
A hormonal imbalance happens when you have too much or too little of one or more hormones. It’s a broad term that can represent many different hormone-related conditions.
Hormones are powerful signals. For many hormones, having even slightly too much or too little of them can cause major changes to your body and lead to certain conditions that require treatment.
Some hormonal imbalances can be temporary while others are chronic (long-term). In addition, some hormonal imbalances require treatment so you can stay physically healthy, while others may not impact your health but can negatively affect your quality of life.
What Conditions are caused by Hormone Imbalance?
- Irregular menstruation (periods): Several hormones are involved in the menstrual cycle. Because of this, an imbalance in any one or several of those hormones can cause irregular periods. Specific hormone-related conditions that cause irregular periods include polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and amenorrhea.
- Infertility: Hormonal imbalances are the leading cause of infertility in people assigned female at birth. Hormone-related conditions such as PCOS and anovulation can cause infertility.
- Acne & Hormonal acne (adult acne): Hormonal acne (adult acne) develops when hormonal changes increase the amount of oil your skin produces. This is especially common during pregnancy, menopause and for people who are taking testosterone therapy.
- Diabetes: In the United States, the most common endocrine (hormone-related) condition is diabetes. In diabetes, your pancreas doesn’t make any or enough of the hormone insulin or your body doesn’t use it properly. There are several different kinds of diabetes and each type requires treatment.
- Thyroid disease: The two main types of thyroid disease are hypothyroidism (low thyroid hormone levels) and hyperthyroidism (high thyroid hormone levels). Each condition has multiple possible causes. Thyroid disease requires treatment.
- Obesity: Many hormones can affect how your body signals that you need food and how your body uses energy, so an imbalance of certain hormones can result in weight gain in the form of fat storage. For example, excess cortisol (a hormone) and low thyroid hormones (hypothyroidism) can contribute to obesity.
Because your body makes over 50 different hormones — all of which contribute to important bodily functions you could experience several different symptoms depending on which hormonal imbalance you have.
It’s important to know that many of the following symptoms could be caused by other conditions, not just from a hormonal imbalance. If you ever notice a change in your day-to-day health and are experiencing new, persistent symptoms, it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider — no matter what you think the cause might be.
Common hormonal imbalances include those that affect your metabolism. Your metabolism consists of the chemical reactions in your body’s cells that change the food you eat into energy. Many different hormones and processes are involved in metabolism.
Symptoms of hormonal imbalances that affect your metabolism include:
- Slow heartbeat or rapid heartbeat (tachycardia).
- Unexplained weight gain or weight loss.
- Diarrhea or more frequent bowel movements.
- Numbness and tingling in your hands.
- Higher-than-normal blood cholesterol levels.
- Depression or anxiety.
- Being unable to tolerate cold temperatures or warm temperatures.
- Dry, coarse skin and hair.
- Thin, warm and moist skin.
- Irregular body fat distribution.
- Darkened skin in your armpit or the back and sides of your neck (acanthosis nigricans).
- Skin tags (small skin growths).
- Extreme thirst and frequent urination.
The DUTCH Complete™ is the most advanced hormone test, offering an extensive profile of sex and adrenal hormones and melatonin, along with their metabolites, to identify symptoms of hormonal imbalances. Easily collected in the comfort of your own home, samples are then sent to our lab to be processed.
The majority of woman we see in clinic are exhausted, adrenalized, and burned-out, spending their time juggling family duties, work, and other life challenges that are thrown their way. They are often not aware that they are suffering from a hormonal imbalance, presenting with symptoms such as abnormal menstruation (heavy/painful periods), PMS, headaches, decreased sex drive, bloating, mood swings, fatigue, anxiety & depression, breast tenderness, endometriosis, fibroids, and hormonal weight gain. With these women we do recommend they complete the DUTCH Test. Why? Because it’s the gold standard when it comes to hormone testing. The DUTCH test tests reproductive and adrenal hormones as well as melatonin and oxidative stress.
What is the DUTCH hormone test?
The DUTCH test stands for Dried Urine Test for Comprehensive Hormones and involves collection of a small amount of urine on filtered paper four times a day. The DUTCH TEST measures hormone metabolites from the dried urine samples.
The hormones measured in the test include:
The hormones measured in the test include:
This test also measures cortisol and cortisone rhythms and levels, and estrogen metabolism pathways.
What measures these hormones?
While hormone blood tests are a useful tool, they are not the same as the DUTCH test. Blood and saliva tests don’t measure cortisol rhythms and estrogen metabolism and do not track hormone replacement as thoroughly, not being sensitive enough to see the different levels of estrogen, which can be an issue for women when it comes to trying to figure out their estrogen state, and can impact on their overall health. What makes the DUTCH test better than blood or saliva tests is the comprehensive information that is collected with a single test. The DUTCH test is well-recognized for its ease-of-collection, coupled with comprehensive reporting that is not currently available from other tests.
- Adrenal fatigue, sleep or stress issues. Testing the adrenal hormones provides specific information about how to support stress and sleep issues, by specifically looking at the the HPA axis (hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal) adrenal-brain communication.
- Fertility problems, poly-cystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). This test is beneficial for people suffering from fibroids, PMS, irregular periods, painful periods, anxiety & moodiness, and endometriosis. It provides a comprehensive picture of how the adrenal and reproductive hormone imbalances may be contributing to these problems.
- Hormone replacement therapy. This test works well for oral progesterone, vaginal hormones, patches, pellets and injections. Note that this is only for hormone replacement therapy, not hormonal birth control pills.
- Sleep problems. By checking melatonin levels we can assess how your sleep patterns may be affected. Melatonin can be low and related to your sleep problems, or it can be normal.
- DHEA levels. This “feel-good” hormone produced by your adrenal glands, when low it can cause fatigue, decrease in muscle mass or bone density, depression, aching joints, loss of libido, and lowered immunity.
- Estrogen dominance. Estrogen dominance occurs when we have too much oestrogen in the body and is relative to the other sex hormones, such as having too little progesterone to balance it out. Estrogen dominance can be a factor in endometriosis, PMS, painful periods, fibrous breasts, fibroids, tender breasts, moodiness, and more. It can also make perimenopausal symptoms significantly worse.
Metabolization of estrogen through the liver. This is important for understanding how we are clearing estrogen’s from the body. If you don’t metabolize estrogen well, you risk estrogen dominance, as well as risks of estrogen-related cancers such as breast, cervical and uterine cancers. We can also see the methylation pathway of estrogen when doing the DUTCH test, which can tell if there are nutrient deficiencies or an MTHFR gene mutation, which would then need to be addressed in order to maximize health.
Why use DUTCH?
- The Easiest Patient Collection
Patients collect just four or five dried urine samples over a 24-hour period. Dried samples remain stable for several weeks and are the most convenient, and cost effective, for domestic and international shipping.
- Analytical and Clinical Validation
Precision Analytical’s testing methods go through a rigorous validation process to verify accuracy, recovery, and linearity. We pride ourselves in relentlessly pursuing the most accurate and precise techniques available for testing. See the data on the back to support the analytical and clinical validation of this powerful new testing model.
- Effective HRT Monitoring
DUTCHTM testing was designed to be optimally effective for most forms of hormone replacement therapy. Unique methods are used for improved monitoring of oral progesterone and vaginal hormones.
DUTCHTM testing is the most cutting-edge way to truly see what’s going on when it comes to your hormones, because it doesn’t just measure hormones, but also something called “metabolites”, which are a measurement of hormone production and hormone breakdown. Measuring both hormones and their metabolites can give you or your health care practitioner a much better overall picture of hormone production. For example, a DUTCH urine steroid hormone profile on someone with low salivary cortisol could show normal cortisol production, but high levels of metabolites. In other words, this would indicate that you are producing enough cortisol, but it’s just getting broken down into its metabolites very quickly. There are also some metabolites that are important markers for cancer risk that can only be measured in urine.With serum (blood) and saliva hormone spot-testing, it’s possible to track variations in hormone release throughout the day – and this is a great way to measure how your hormones change during a 24-hour period (your circadian rhythm). In contrast, a standard 24-hour urine collection many physicians use reflects your total hormone output in a 24-hour period. But by using the DUTCH urine steroid test, you get the best of all worlds: blood, saliva and urinary results with just a urine collection.
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