The major sex hormones that need to be assessed are estradiol, progesterone and testosterone. The main adrenal hormones are DHEA and cortisol. These seven hormones will provide crucial information about deficiencies, excesses and daily patterns, which then result in a specifically tailored treatment approach and one that is far more beneficial than the old "shotgun" approach that has traditionally been used. Below is a brief description of each of these hormones:
Derived from testosterone, there are three forms made by the body: estrone, estradiol and estriol. It is a proliferative (causes growth) hormone that grows the lining of the uterus and stimulates growth of breast tissue. Uncontrolled and unbalanced, it is also a known cancer-causing hormone: breast and endometrial (uterine) in women and prostate gland in men. Many times it is employed to treat menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, insomnia, bone loss, and vaginal dryness.
Progesterone is called the anti-estrogen hormone because it balances estradiol's proliferative or growth effects. It is considered preventive for breast and prostate cancers as well as osteoporosis. In addition, too little progesterone promotes depression, irritability, increased inflammation, irregular menses, breast tenderness, urinary frequency and prostate gland enlargement (BPH).
Testosterone is an anabolic hormone (builds tissue) that is essential for men and women. The proper level of testosterone is necessary for bone health, muscle strength, stamina, sex drive and performance, heart function and mental focus.
Dehydroepiandrosterone is a very important produced by the adrenal gland which is essential for energy production and blood sugar balance. DHEA is a precursor to other hormones, mainly testosterone.
Cortisol is the hormone that wakes you in the morning and helps you sleep at night (highest in the morning and lowest at night). It is necessary for energy production, blood sugar metabolism, anti-inflammatory effects and stress response.
Some of the common imbalances identified through hormone testing include estrogen dominance, estrogen deficiency, progesterone deficiency, androgen (testosterone and DHEA) excess or deficiencies, adrenal dysfunction and adrenal fatigue.