Hormone Levels

Hormone evaluation is particularly useful in evaluating ovarian function. These tests are performed by obtaining a blood sample. Most of the tests are performed in our laboratory, so the results will be available within a couple of days. Since the levels may vary greatly at certain times in the menstrual cycle, the tests may need to be performed on a particular day of the menstrual cycle. The following are some of the tests that Dr. Steinkampf may order for you based on your history:

Androgen levels: Androgens, often referred to as “male hormones,” are normally produced in women by the ovaries and adrenal glands. However, some women produce high levels of androgens that result in ovulatory dysfunction. Some of the androgen levels that may be ordered for you include testosterone, 17-hydroxyprogesterone (17-OHP), and dihydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S) levels. In general, these tests may be performed at any time in the menstrual cycle.

Day 3 labs: Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), Luteinizing Hormone (LH), and Estradiol (E2) levels are generally low in the very early part of the menstrual cycle of women with normal ovarian reserve. However, in women with diminished ovarian reserve (peri-menopause or menopause), these levels may be elevated. Most patients are instructed to have these tests performed to evaluate their ovarian reserve. Day 3 labs may actually be performed on day 2, 3 or 4 of the menstrual cycle.

Estradiol levels (E2): As a follicle grows and develops, it produces increasing amounts of estradiol. Patients with normal ovulation or those who respond well to clomiphene citrate, estradiol monitoring has not be shown to be beneficial. However, for patients who require high doses of clomiphene citrate or gonadotropins for infertility treatment do benefit from estradiol monitoring. In general, this test is performed in conjunction with transvaginal ultrasound prior to ovulation.

Progesterone levels (P4): Progesterone is produced by the remnants of the follicle after ovulation, called the corpus luteum. Ovulation can be confirmed if the progesterone level reaches a specific threshold a week after ovulation. This test is recommended for patients who require no medications or clomiphene citrate to stimulate ovulation, and is performed eight days after the LH surge.

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