Hormone test

A blood test to check for potential hormone imbalances.

You can arrange to have a hormone test at a Spire hospital near you. We can quickly and effectively diagnose a range of conditions and symptoms.

What is a hormone test?

A hormone test is a type of blood test used to detect hormone imbalances in your body. Hormones are chemicals produced by your body that regulate everything from your sleep to your digestion. 

When your hormones are out of balance, you can develop a variety of symptoms, some of which can be serious. If you think you have a hormone imbalance, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible. 

Common causes of a hormone imbalance include:

  • An underlying condition, such as diabetes
  • An underactive or overactive thyroid
  • Medications
  • Stress
  • Tumours

What does a hormone test look for?

Symptoms associated with a hormone imbalance are wide and varied. A hormone test will look for which particular hormones are out of balance. 

Depending on the affected hormone(s), symptoms can include memory problems, sudden weight gain, as well as:

In women, a hormone imbalance can also cause vaginal dryness and premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

Speak to your GP if you’re concerned about symptoms. They can refer you for a blood test to check for a hormone imbalance.

Signs of hormone imbalance in women

In women, a hormone imbalance can cause heavy or irregular periods; irregular periods include missed periods, frequent periods and a stopped period. Other symptoms include: 

  • Hair changes — this includes: 
    • Hair loss 
    • Hirsutism — excessive hair on your chin, face or other body parts
  • Headaches 
  • Night sweats
  • Pain during sex
  • Skin changes — this includes: 
    • Acne on your face, chest or upper back
    • Skin darkening, particularly along your neck creases, your groin and under your breasts
    • Skin tags
  • Vaginal dryness or vaginal atrophy

Signs of hormone imbalance in men

  • Concentration problems
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Breast problems — this includes: 
    • Gynaecomastia — when your breast tissue swells, becoming larger than normal
    • Tender breasts
  • Hot flashes
  • Loss of bone and/or muscle mass — a decrease in bone density is called osteoporosis, also known as brittle bones
  • Reduced hair growth on your face and body

Hormone test procedure

Before your hormone test, make sure you tell your doctor about any medications and supplements you're taking. This includes birth control pills and hormone therapy, which can affect your test results. 

A blood sample will be taken by one of our experienced and dedicated nurses. They will use a hypodermic needle, which will be inserted into a vein in your arm. The blood sample is then sent to be analysed in our specialist laboratory. Most hormones can be detected in your blood. These are some examples:

  • Cortisol — released in response to stress
  • Oestrogen — female sex hormone
  • Testosterone — male sex hormone
  • Thyroid hormones — regulates metabolism

Where to get a hormone test

Almost all of our hospitals offer hormone tests. Our fast diagnostics mean you don’t have to wait long for your results. Find your nearest Spire hospital.

Spire Manchester Hospital

How long does a hormone test take?

It usually takes just a few seconds to a couple of minutes to take the blood sample needed.

Hormone test results

Our laboratory will send your results to the doctor who referred you for testing, so they can discuss your diagnosis or the status of your condition. This may take a few days, but we try to get your results back as quickly as possible as less waiting means less worrying.

We can help you plan further treatment if necessary or refer you to another specialist for further investigation and advice, depending on your results.

Hormone test risks and side effects

The main complication with any blood test is minor bruising and discomfort in the area where blood was taken. This usually goes away shortly after.

What type of doctor do you see for a hormonal imbalance?

If you are concerned that you have a hormone imbalance, see your GP. They may recommend you have a hormone test. If a hormone imbalance is detected, you may be referred to an endocrinologist (a doctor specialising in treating hormone problems).

What food causes hormonal imbalance?

No one specific food causes hormonal imbalances. However, following a balanced, healthy diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, lean protein and whole grains, is important to maintain a healthy hormone system.

What causes hormonal imbalance in menstruation?

During your menstrual cycle levels of hormones, including oestrogen, progesterone and luteinising hormone, change — this is normal. However, if you have a hormone imbalance, it can interfere with your menstrual cycle. Hormone imbalances that affect your menstrual cycle can be caused by a variety of conditions including diabetes, eating disorders, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), primary ovarian insufficiency, stress, thyroid problems and tumours. Certain medications can also interfere with your hormones and menstrual cycle.

The treatment described on this page may be adapted to meet your individual needs, so it's important to follow your healthcare professional's advice and raise any questions that you may have with them.

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