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Hormonal Imbalance Quiz: Why This is a Bad Way to Determine Hormonal Issues


Article edited for scientific accuracy by Illuminate Labs Blog Editor Taylor Graber MD 

Illuminate Labs Hormonal Imbalance Quizzes article header image

There are many websites online offering “hormonal imbalance quizzes” where a consumer can share some of their symptoms and receive a diagnosis or follow up. This is a really dangerous and unscientific way to diagnose hormonal issues.

Like with recent websites popping up selling products for a vaccine detox, most of the websites offering hormonal imbalance quizzes are run by people claiming to be medical professionals in a “holistic” sense but many are unlicensed.

In this article we’ll explain the problems with hormonal imbalance quizzes, as well as suggest some better alternatives for diagnosing hormone issues.

You Can’t Diagnose Anything From Symptoms Alone

It’s well known in the medical community that you cannot diagnose a patient based on their symptoms alone. If you go to your doctor’s office claiming to feel ill, they won’t just give you antiviral medication based on how you feel. Instead they’ll run tests to determine if there’s an actual provable cause to treat with medication.

Unfortunately, many hormonal quizzes online do diagnose based on symptoms which is dangerous. Hormone-altering medications and supplements can have serious side effects, and suggesting them to patients without a documented condition is unacceptable. 

Better Alternatives

To determine whether or not you actually have hormone issues or dysregulation, you need to run medical tests. Some tests can be done at a standard General Practitioner (GP)’s office, while the GP might refer you to a hormone specialist like an endocrinologist for certain tests.

Here are some common tests run for hormone issues that you may want to ask your doctor about:

Testosterone

If you’re a man experiencing low energy, fatigue, lack of sex drive amongst other symptoms, it may be worthwhile to ge​​t a blood panel for testosterone.

The good thing about immunoassays for testosterone is it’s a really standard test, especially for men over 40, so it’s almost always covered by insurance.

If it turns out that you have low testosterone which can’t be rectified through lifestyle modifications, your doctor may prescribe testosterone replacement therapy (TRT).

Thyroid

Thyroid function tests typically test for thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), T4 and T3 (specific thyroid hormones).

Some patients have hyperthyroidism, which means their thyroid gland produces too much hormone. This can result in symptoms like anxiety, insomnia and erratic mood.

Other patients suffer from hypothyroidism which means their thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormone. Hypothyroid patients commonly present with weakness, fatigue and sensitivity to cold.

Like testosterone tests, thyroid tests are very common and sometimes even included in standard blood panels. If your doctor decides these tests are necessary they are usually covered by insurance.

Cortisol

Cortisol is a hormone involved in the stress response. Testing for cortisol levels can confirm chronic stress, because elevated levels would indicate the hormone is being secreted too frequently.

Chronic stress patients may have anxiety, irritability, insomnia and muscle aches.

Cortisol testing is somewhat less common than testosterone or thyroid testing, and it may be done by a specialist instead of a GP.

One benefit of cortisol testing is it can confirm the existence of health issues caused by anxiety (or other factors). If a patient has significantly elevated cortisol they may want to incorporate lifestyle changes like meditation which are proven to reduce stress levels. Doctors may also prescribe medications for this condition.

Conclusion

Hormonal imbalance quizzes are an unsafe and unscientific way to determine what’s wrong with your health. It would be dangerous to make medical choices based off the results of a hormonal imbalance quiz.

The better option for patients who are concerned they have a hormonal issue is to explain their symptoms to their doctor and talk about testing which may help determine the root cause of their issue.

Doing some preliminary research and suggesting tests to your doctor and explaining your suggestions may increase the likelihood of getting the tests ordered. 




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