Hormone #1 Baseline Blood Test Panel, Women
The Hormone #1 Baseline Blood Test Panel, Women, evaluates hormone levels to help confirm menopause.
The Hormone #1 Baseline Blood Test Panel, Women, includes:
Estrogen is a group of hormones primarily responsible for developing female sex organs and secondary sex characteristics. The three main estrogen fractions are estrone (E1), estradiol (E2), and estriol (E3). Estradiol (E2) is produced in women, mainly in the ovary. In men, the testes and adrenal glands are the principal sources of estradiol. In women, normal estradiol levels provide for proper ovulation, conception, and pregnancy, promoting healthy bone structure and regulating cholesterol levels.
Progesterone is a steroid hormone whose primary role is to help prepare a woman's body for pregnancy; it works in conjunction with several other female hormones. Since progesterone levels vary predictably throughout the menstrual cycle, multiple (serial) measurements can help recognize and manage some causes of infertility. For example, progesterone can be measured to determine whether or not a woman has ovulated, when ovulation occurred, and to monitor the success of induced ovulation.
Cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands. Cortisol secretion is stimulated by ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone), a hormone produced by the pituitary gland, a tiny organ located inside the head below the brain. Cortisol has a range of roles in the body. It helps break down protein, glucose, and lipids, maintain blood pressure and regulate the immune system. Heat, cold, infection, trauma, stress, exercise, obesity, and debilitating disease can influence cortisol concentrations.
FSH and LH
The pituitary gland makes follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) in the brain. Control of FSH production is a complex system involving hormones produced by the gonads (ovaries or testes), the pituitary, and the hypothalamus. In women, FSH stimulates the growth and maturation of ovarian follicles (eggs) during the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle. This cycle is divided into two phases, the follicular and the luteal, by a mid-cycle surge of FSH and luteinizing hormone (LH). Ovulation occurs shortly after this mid-cycle surge of hormones. During the follicular phase, FSH initiates the production of estradiol by the follicle, and the two hormones work together to develop the egg follicle further. During the luteal phase, FSH stimulates the production of progesterone. Both estradiol and progesterone help the pituitary control the amount of FSH produced. FSH also facilitates the ability of the ovary to respond to LH. At the time of menopause, the ovaries stop functioning, and FSH levels rise.
Testosterone, Total and Free
Small amounts are produced in women's ovaries, and levels are tested to evaluate virilization. The concentration of free testosterone is deficient, typically <2% of the total testosterone concentration. In most men and women, >50% of total circulating testosterone is bound to sex hormone-binding globulin, SHBG, and most of the rest is albumin. Free testosterone is estimated in this test by a direct, analog radioimmunoassay method. This assay uses a labeled testosterone analog that has a low binding affinity for both SHBG and albumin but is bound by the anti-testosterone antibody used in the assay. Since the analog is unbound in the plasma, it competes with free testosterone for binding sites on an anti-testosterone antibody that is immobilized on the surface of the polypropylene tube.
Dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S) is an androgen, a male sex hormone in the blood of both men and women. It plays a role in developing male secondary sexual characteristics at puberty. It can be metabolized by the body into more potent androgens, such as testosterone and androstenedione, or can be changed into the female hormone estrogen. DHEA-S is produced by the adrenal cortex, the outer layer of the adrenal glands, with smaller amounts produced by the woman's ovaries and the man's testes. DHEA-S secretion is controlled by the pituitary hormone, which is known as adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), and other pituitary factors. Since the adrenal glands primarily produce DHEAS, it is helpful as a marker for adrenal function. Adrenal tumors, cancers, and hyperplasia can lead to the overproduction of DHEA-S. While elevated DHEA-S levels may not be detected in adult men, they can lead to visible virilization symptoms and amenorrhea.
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