How to Check Hormone Levels

By Gwen Wark
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Hormone balances dictate the length and success of the menstrual cycle. When one or more of these hormones is out of balance it can cause late or missed menstruation or suppress ovulation, making it difficult or impossible to become pregnant. In many cases, hormone levels can only be checked by blood work ordered by a doctor. However, you can check hormone levels for the luteinizing hormone or human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) by using a urine test at home.

Step 1

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Talk to your doctor about tests for hormone imbalances. She may order blood work based on your symptoms or cycle. Tests determine the levels of a follicle stimulating hormone, which can determine if a woman's ovarian reserve is still viable. They can study levels of estrogen and progesterone, the hormones that dominate the follicular and luteal phases of the menstrual cycle. A doctor may also check for excess androgens or testosterone, as women who have irregular menstruation may be suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome.

Step 2

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Check hCG levels through a blood test or urine test at home. A doctor can perform a qualitative test to determine whether hCG is present, or a quantitative beta can be performed to see how much of the hormone is actually present. In a pregnant woman, the level of hCG should double every 48 to 72 hours. A test for hCG can also be performed at home with a pregnancy test. These are qualitative tests and may not reflect the amount of hCG currently in the blood, since the substance enters and exits the blood faster than it exits the urine.

Step 3

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You can also test for luteinizing hormone using an ovulation predictor kit. These tests are performed at home and are urine-based, similar to a pregnancy test. A positive result indicates luteinizing hormone in the urine has spiked. This is the signal for the body to ovulate, so a positive result means that you are approaching your most fertile time.

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