Female Blood Spot Profile I - ZRT Test Kit
The Female Blood Spot Profile I checks the primary female sex hormones and their main binding globulin, and screens adrenal health using morning cortisol.
The Female Blood Spot Profile I is an overall evaluation of the health and vitality of females and an indicator of particular hormone imbalances. It measures the level of sex and adrenal hormones in Blood Spot, to be used as an alternative to the Saliva Profile I for women who find it difficult to generate enough saliva to test, or who use sublingual hormones that may interfere with saliva testing.
The Female Blood Profile I includes Estradiol total, Progesterone total, Testosterone total, DHEAs, Cortisol, and SHBG.
This profile may be considered for:
- Sexual dysfunction
- Total baseline levels before hormone replacement therapy
- Adrenal fatigue
- PCOS screening
- Menopausal symptoms
- DUB (dysfunctional uterine bleeding)
- Infertility screening
- Estrogen dominance symptoms
- Fibrocystic breast disease
Estradiol is an estrogen and the primary sex hormone for females. It is important in regulating the reproductive cycles for females. It is released from ovaries and adrenal glands and plays a major role in the growth of women's reproductive tissues, including breasts, uterus, fallopian tubes, and vagina throughout life stages. This also affects other tissues including bone, fat, skin, liver, and brain. When assessing menopausal symptoms that may include hot flashes, mood disturbances, and aging skin, it is important to compare the relationship between estradiol and progesterone.
Males do have estradiol in their bodies but the amount compared to females is much lower. Estradiol is released from the testes and adrenal glands. Since males lack female anatomy, they must generate estrogen through a process involving aromatase, an enzyme that converts testosterone into estradiol. Estradiol has been shown in vitro to stop cell destruction, but its clinical importance in male sexual function and growth is lower than in females.
Progesterone is a female hormone, released during ovulation by the ovaries. When a sperm fertilizes an egg, progesterone helps to prepare the uterus lining (endometrium) for the egg. If the egg is not fertilized, the level of progesterone decreases, and menstrual bleeding starts. During pregnancy the placenta releases high levels of progesterone, beginning at the end of the first trimester and continuing through birth. Pregnant women have progesterone levels almost 10 times higher than females who are not pregnant. Additionally, certain forms of cancer trigger elevated levels of progesterone in both men and women.
Testosterone is the primary sex hormone and anabolic steroid for males. Testosterone plays a key role in male reproductive tissue production, such as testes and prostate, as well as promoting secondary sexual characteristics, such as increased muscle and bone mass, and body hair growth. Female ovaries do produce testosterone in much smaller amounts compared to males. Testosterone development begins to increase dramatically during puberty and starts declining after age 30 or so.
DHEA sulfate is an androgen (male sex hormone) that is present in the blood of both men and women. It assists in the development of male secondary sexual characteristics at puberty and can be metabolized into testosterone and androstenedione (more potent androgens), or changed into estrogen (a female hormone). The outer layer of the adrenal glands, the adrenal cortex, is responsible for producing DHEA sulfate, while smaller amounts are produced in the testes and ovaries. Dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate secretion is controlled by the pituitary hormone adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and other pituitary factors. Since DHEA,s is primarily produced by the adrenal glands, it is a strong marker for adrenal function. Cancers, adrenal tumors, and hyperplasia can lead to the overproduction of DHEA sulfate. While elevated levels may not be noticed in adult men, they can lead to visible symptoms of virilization and amenorrhea.
Cortisol, the major adrenal glucocorticoid steroid hormone, is usually under feedback control by pituitary ACTH and the hypothalamus. Causes of low cortisol include pituitary failure or destruction, with resultant loss of ACTH to stimulate the adrenal, and metabolic errors or destruction of the adrenal gland itself (adrenogenital syndromes, tuberculosis, histoplasmosis). The diagnosis of hypoadrenalism usually requires confirmation with ACTH stimulation, due to the circadian rhythms of cortisol and other factors. Causes of increased cortisol, which may initially present as simply a loss of normal diurnal variation, include pituitary overproduction of ACTH, production of ACTH by a tumor (notably oat cell cancers), and adrenal adenomas.
Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG)
Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG), is a protein produced by the liver. It binds tightly to the hormones, dihydrotestosterone (DHT), testosterone, and estradiol (an estrogen), transporting them in the blood in a metabolically inactive form. The amount of SHBG in a patient's blood is affected by sex and age, increased or decreased testosterone, or estrogen production. It can also be affected by diseases and conditions such as obesity, liver disease, and hyperthyroidism, or hypothyroidism. Adult males test SHBG and testosterone levels to help determine the cause of infertility, decreased sex drive, and erectile dysfunction, especially when total testosterone results are found inconsistent with clinical signs.
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