What Can You Learn From a Blood Hormone Test?


Quick Answer

A blood hormone test provides information about the levels of a variety of hormones in the body, according to MedlinePlus. These include sex hormones and hormones secreted by the adrenal glands, the thyroid gland and the pituitary gland. These tests also diagnose or rule out certain diseases or disorders.

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Full Answer

For example, doctors measure catecholamine levels to look for rare tumors such as neuroblastoma and pheochromocytoma. Catecholamines are hormones that the adrenal glands, two small glands that sit on top of the kidneys, secrete in response to stress, according to MedlinePlus. The patient must fast for at least 10 hours before this test because some foods and beverages, such as bananas, chocolate, vanilla, tea and coffee, affect the results. Some medicines, such as clonidine and acetaminophen, also affect catecholamine levels to some extent.

Women who believe they are entering menopause sometimes have a blood test to determine their levels of estrogen or follicle-stimulating hormone, states Healthline. Estrogen levels drop during menopause, while levels of follicle-stimulating hormone, which is made by the pituitary gland, increase. This test may be taken in tandem with a test that checks for levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone. Low levels of thyroid hormone sometimes cause symptoms that mimic those of menopause.

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