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Hormone Assays are a blood test – a few millilitres of blood from a vein is required.
Specific hormones or sets of related hormones may be tested in a variety of clinical situations. Commonly, hormonal tests may be related to issues of fertility, menstrual irregularities, or menopause. Your doctor may request specific hormonal tests if there is a suspicion of an endocrine problem, relating to the function of many glands in the body, including the pituitary, thyroid, parathyroid, adrenals, ovaries and testes.
Hormone tests give the concentration of specific hormones in the bloodstream. These results are compared to a reference range of “normal” values, obtained from testing well people without symptoms. The specific hormone level may therefore be low, normal, or high. Each of these results needs to be carefully interpreted by a doctor who understands the complex interactions of the endocrine system, in the context of the limitations of biochemical testing of hormones. A high or low level may not indicate disease, and similarly, a normal test does not always rule out an abnormality.
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