While oestrogen is often considered to be the female hormone, oestrogen hormones play important developmental and sexual function roles in both women and men. But ensuring proper oestrogen levels is also important for other reasons. Altered levels in women can signal pregnancy or menopause or more serious medical problems in men. Oestrogen tests can be conducted at a doctor's office, but many kits are also available for at-home testing.
Select an at-home test kit. Your primary health care provider can test your oestrogen levels in his office, but if you are one of millions of Americans that dread going to the doctor, a home test kit may be an attractive alternative. There are many oestrogen home test kits available on the market, and most can be ordered online and delivered right to your doorstep. Some tests require a saliva sample, while others require blood spots. Both kinds of tests are equally accurate, but if you don't like the sight of blood, you are better off using a test kit that requires you to provide saliva.
Provide a saliva or blood sample for testing. Typically, your oestrogen test will arrive in the mail and will include a collection kit and instructions. If you ordered a test that requires a saliva sample, you may need to swab the inside of your month with a long Q-tip or cotton pad. Put the swab in the provided container and seal. Kits requiring blood will likely include something with which to prick your finger. This is relatively painless. Squeeze some of the blood from your pricked finger into a vial and seal.
Send your results back to the lab. Usually the kit includes a return mailer with prepaid postage. Upon receipt, the lab will analyse your sample and send back your return results within one to two weeks of receipt.
Check your results. They will tell you the level of oestrogen in your body and how it compares to the rest of the population of your gender and in your age group. If your hormone levels are abnormally high or low, some companies will also include information on what this may mean.
If the results of your oestrogen test kit are abnormal, it's time to visit your doctor. It's best to go sooner rather than later because some medical conditions that lead to altered oestrogen levels can be very dangerous. For instance, oestrogen-producing tumours can grow swiftly.
Alternately, if your oestrogen levels are normal but you are experiencing some of the same symptoms associated with altered levels of this hormone, it's also a good idea to see a physician. Just because you may not be at risk of oestrogen-producing tumours doesn't mean something equally serious isn't going on.