Susan Merenstein, Pharmacist/Owner
Evidence shows that hormonal imbalances can be the root cause of many chronic health issues, and imbalances that affect a woman’s menstrual cycle are no exception.
Conditions that can be influenced by a woman’s menstrual hormones include premenstrual syndrome (PMS), premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) and infertility. Out-of-balance levels can contribute to symptoms such as migraines, mood swings, and heavy bleeding or painful periods.
When hormone testing conducted on a single day during the luteal phase doesn’t provide enough diagnostic information, a month-long hormone assessment can be helpful. This detailed, multi-point map provides a complete picture of a woman’s levels over the course of one menstrual cycle resulting in the ability to create more precise treatment plans.
Luteal Phase Defect:
Women suffering luteal phase defect tend to have lower LH and estrogen peaks, indicating "weak" ovulation, for example if the follicle producing the egg did not mature properly. The usual peak in progesterone levels during the luteal phase is much lower than normal and starts to decline approximately 7 days prior to the start of the next period, which comes several days earlier than expected. Luteal phase defect is one of the most common causes of infertility.
When ovulation does not occur, LH levels are consistently elevated. Estrogen levels are consistent and lower as compared to an ovulatory cycle and progesterone levels are consistently low. Testing helps providers find out if a woman has an adequate LH surge to induce ovulation and takes away the guesswork as to when they are entering their luteal phase.
Cyclic hormone-related symptoms can include the constellation of symptoms known as Premenstrual Syndrome – PMS – that may include severe headaches. Testing highlights estrogen or progesterone deficiency or excess at key points in the cycle and helps get to the root of these hormone-related symptoms.
This testing is ideal for cycling women who are interested in knowing key hormone levels throughout the month - either as a way of getting to the root of difficult menstrual symptoms, assessing cases of PMS/PMDD or learning more about their fertility.
This testing is not designed for women who are on birth control, supplementing with hormones or post menopausal.
Women who are interested in this test for assessing fertility may also consider ZRT’s Fertility Profile. While Menstrual Cycle Mapping reveals three hormone levels that can pinpoint the time of ovulation, the Fertility Profile identifies a broader array of 12 tests that help assess imbalances or conditions that affect whether a woman can get and stay pregnant.
Those who want the most comprehensive picture of fertility hormone levels should ask their health care provider about using both profiles in combination.
ZRT’s dried urine method offers a simple method for collecting samples at home over a 30-day period. Patients collect urine on a filter card every other morning and let them dry. Dried cards are stable at room temperature, as well as being easy to store and send back to the lab for analysis. No refrigeration or freezing is necessary.