Progesterone helps to maintain normal menstrual cycles as well as early pregnancy. This hormone is responsible for the endometrium or lining of the uterus. Low progesterone levels can cause conception problems and abnormal cycles. These low levels are also associated with decrease sex drive and weight gain. High levels have been related to mood swings, bloating and breast tenderness. In menopause, progesterone production significantly drops.
Testosterone is produced in the ovaries and adrenals and in women play a role in healthy libido and fertility. Testosterone can increase during mid cycle to increase libido during this ovulation and conception time period. Testing the testosterone level can be helpful in the evaluation of fertility. These levels are known to drop after menopause.
Estradiol acts mainly as a growth hormone for the reproductive structures in females. In conjunction with progesterone, estradiol is involved with the menstrual cycle and pregnancy. Low levels can cause diminished sex drive. Estradiol has significant role in the maintaining healthy bone growth and improved blood flow in coronary arteries in addition to offering neuroprotective effects. Estrogen have been know to contribute to risk of breast cancer as well as some non cancerous conditions like endometriosis and uterine fibroids.
In addition to being called “the stress hormone”, cortisol helps in proper glucose metabolism, and converting sugars into energy.
High cortisol levels in women have been associated with hyperglycemia ( high blood sugars), weight gain, compromised immune function and high blood pressure.
Cortisol imbalance is known to result in conditions like irritability, fatigue, depression, foggy thinking, weight gain and bone loss.
Low Cortisol levels can cause chronic fatigue, low energy, low immunity, food and sugar cravings, poor exercise tolerance or recovery.
DHEA is produced by the adrenal glands and is a precursor to both testosterone and estrogens. DHEA is also a neurohormone as small quantities are produced in the brain. It has a broad spectrum of benefits including improved energy, mood, memory, increased testosterone levels, enhanced libido and immune function.
Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH)
In primary hypothyroidism, thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels are elevated. In primary hyperthyroidism, TSH levels are low. The ability to quantitative circulating levels of TSH is important in evaluating thyroid function. It is especially useful in the differential diagnosis of primary (thyroid) from secondary (pituitary) and tertiary (hypothalamus) hypothyroidism. In primary hypothyroidism, TSH levels are significantly elevated, while in secondary and tertiary hypothyroidism, TSH levels are low or normal.
Elevated or low TSH in the context of normal free thyroxine is often referred to as subclinical hypo- or hyperthyroidism, respectively.
T3 (Triiodothyronine), Free
Normally triiodothyronine (T3) circulates tightly bound to thyroxine-binding globulin and albumin. Only 0.3% of the total T3 is unbound (free); the free fraction is the active form. In hyperthyroidism, both thyroxine (tetraiodothyronine; thyroxine: T4) and T3 levels (total and free) are usually elevated, but in a small subset of hyperthyroid patients (T3 toxicosis) only T3 is elevated.
Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH)
In women, FSH is responsible for the growth of ovarian follicles, which produce estrogens and progesterone to maintain a normal menstrual cycle. High FSH levels may indicate a loss of ovarian function and the possible onset of menopause. An increase FSH may also indicate decline fertility. Low FSH levels may indicate a women not producing eggs.