What You Need to Know About Lab Work for Hormone Replacement Therapy

Menopause is a natural phase in a woman's life — but there’s a lot left unsaid when it comes to the details.

Perimenopause, the step before menopause, can begin as early as the mid-30s and last up to a decade.

Recognizing the stages of this transition is important to the type and timing of lab tests required to navigate these changes effectively — particularly when it comes to HRT.

The Non-Negotiable Lab Tests

🧪 The baseline labs that are non-negotiable for anyone considering HRT are:

  • Complete Metabolic Panel (CMP): A snapshot of your body's chemical balance and metabolism.
  • Complete Blood Count (CBC): An overview of overall health.
  • Lipid Panel: An assessment of cardiovascular risk.

These labs help you and your doctor understand how your body may interact with HRT.

Beyond the Basics

🧪 This set of labs provide a more comprehensive look into your health:

  • Full Thyroid Panel: To assess thyroid health, which affects overall well-being.
  • Vitamin D Levels: Crucial for bone health and immune function.
  • Vitamin B12: Important for nerve function and energy.
  • Fasting Glucose and Insulin: Key indicators of metabolic health.
  • Hemoglobin A1c: Provides a longer-term view of blood sugar levels.

It’s a good idea to make sure that these levels are fully optimized before starting HRT.

Sex Hormone Testing

🧪 Additional tests take a look at your sex hormones:

  • Estradiol and Progesterone: The primary female sex hormones.
  • Luteinizing Hormone (LH) and Follicular Stimulating Hormone (FSH): Hormones that regulate the menstrual cycle.
  • Total and Free Testosterone: Important for libido and muscle strength.
  • DHEA Sulfate: A precursor to sex hormones.
  • Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG): Influences the availability of sex hormones.

These labs will help determine your course of action and the potential effectiveness of HRT.

Final Thoughts

Understanding the role lab tests play in hormone replacement therapy is important. Knowledge is power, and advocating for the right lab tests will make all the difference when it comes to optimizing your overall health.