Your IPSA Medical clinic: Female hormone testing

At your IPSA Medical clinic, we can offer a comprehensive hormone check for women to get a detailed understanding of the hormones affecting fertility and the menstrual cycle. Female hormone testing is used to detect gynaecological problems (e.g. fertility issues, polycystic ovaries, and the menopause), as well as thyroid problems and health issues such as diabetes.

Hormone testing is indicated if your consultation suggests that a hormonal imbalance may be the cause of your presenting clinical symptoms.

What are the symptoms?

Hormones are important for regulating most major bodily processes, so a hormonal imbalance can affect a wide range of bodily functions:

  • excess hair
  • an increased thirst
  • an unusual weight loss/gain
  • hair loss
  • acne
  • abnormal periods
  • unexplained, long-term fatigue
  • irritability and anxiety

What do hormones do?

Hormones help to regulate:

  • reproductive cycles
  • libido and sexual function
  • metabolism and appetite
  • heart rate
  • body temperature
  • sleep cycles
  • natural growth and development
  • mood and stress levels

What can hormone tests investigate?

We can offer a full female hormone profile.

Your specialist will go through any results with you in a follow-up appointment. When reading your female hormone profile results, some of the following may appear:

AMH (anti-Mullerian hormone)

AMH is a protein hormone produced by cells within the ovary. These are called ovarian follicles, which influence stages of the menstrual cycle and release eggs. A test can help us to understand the state of ovarian reserve and how many eggs are left in the ovaries and gives you an idea of your fertility. The number of follicles depends on a woman’s age, general health and lifestyle, though generally, AMH levels are likely to decrease as we age.

The test can be taken at any time during the menstrual cycle.

FSH (Follicle-stimulating hormone)

In women, FSH helps to develop the ovarian follicles that release eggs. An FSH blood test is used to help diagnose problems with fertility, sexual development and menstruation.


A natural rise in oestradiol production during the menstrual cycle causes an egg to ovulate and be released. Excess oestradiol levels can (in mild cases) cause acne, constipation, depression and decrease sex drive. More severe effects could trigger weight gain, infertility, stroke, heart attack, and uterine/breast cancer.

A woman’s oestradiol concentrations decrease naturally at the menopause and cause many of its symptoms. Therefore, oestradiol is used in hormone replacement therapy to relieve these symptoms of menopause in women.

An HRT profile (Hormone Replacement Treatment)

HRT Treatment, also known as menopausal hormone therapy (MHT), works to replace hormones that are at a lower level as you approach the menopause. Most women have their menopause between 50 and 55 years old, but some can go into early menopause by the age of 45. Symptoms include hot flushes, night sweats, insomnia, palpitations, painful intercourse, and mood changes. HRT improves these symptoms, reduces risk of heart attack and stroke, results in increased energy levels, better mood, better sleep, and generally improves quality of life.


A hormone made by the ovaries; progesterone levels increase as the body prepares for a developing baby.  A test can help determine any possible ovulation or fertility problems. One use of the Progesterone test ensures that everything is okay during pregnancy.


Prolactin is the hormone that enables females to produce milk. A prolactin (PRL) test measures how much of the hormone you have in your blood.

Low levels of prolactin rarely need treatment. However, high levels can cause various conditions. Risks include:

  • pituitary disorders – excessive or insufficient hormone levels produced by the pituitary gland, possibly affecting fertility and changes in the menstrual cycle
  • hypothyroidism – insufficient thyroid hormones
  • polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) – can result in menstrual problems, difficulty conceiving
  • kidney disease
  • liver disease

SHBG (Sex Hormone Binding Globulin)

This test measures the amount of SHGB (a protein produced by the liver) in the blood. Linked closely to the testosterone hormone, assessing the amount of SHBG in circulation can indicate excess production of testosterone.

In women, the ovaries and adrenal glands produce small amounts of testosterone. Slight increases in testosterone production can disrupt the balance of hormones. Symptoms include:

  • infertility
  • amenorrhea – the absence of menstruation (usually pregnancy) but can be linked to an underlying, treatable problem.
  • hirsutism – male-pattern hair growth in women
  • acne

Thyroid Function Test

Low levels of thyroid-producing hormones can change the way the body processes fat.

It’s imperative that underactive thyroid is diagnosed imminently as this can cause high cholesterol and atherosclerosis (clogging of the arteries). This could possibly lead to serious heart-related problems, such as angina and a heart attack.

A blood test measuring your hormone levels is the only accurate way to find out whether there’s a problem.

Those who are at risk of underactive thyroid include women who:

  • are pregnant
  • are trying to get pregnant
  • have recently given birth
  • are taking medication known to cause a reduction in thyroid hormones, e.g. amiodarone or lithium

A cortisol hormone profile

Cortisol is a hormone connected to stress response. Released by the adrenal glands. It’s important for helping your body deal with stressful situations, as your brain triggers its release in response to many different kinds of stress. However, when cortisol levels are too high for too long, this hormone can have some damaging effects.

Cortisol has many functions. The hormone helps to control blood sugar levels and blood pressure, regulates metabolism, helps reduce inflammation, and assists with memory construction. In women, cortisol also supports the developing foetus during pregnancy.

These factors make cortisol a crucial hormone to protect overall health and well-being.

Hormone Testing at your IPSA Medical

Your doctor will send a sample of your blood to a lab for testing. Your IPSA Medical Specialist can talk to you about any concerns you might have, including their implications on your fertility and general health.

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