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MENSTRUAL CYCLE HORMONES

Whenever someone asks me about levels of menstrual cycle-related hormones during their cycle and the answer isn’t obvious I go to the figure below from Wikimedia (this article - although the figure is no longer present there). What I love about it is that it shows the average (bold blue line) and then the biological variability around that average (dark blue shaded area)… and then also how much this can vary between cycles and between people. It also shows variability in terms of ovulation date and when the period arrives (colors as show in the figure).



The figure is based on a study performed in 2006 that measured daily hormone levels in 20 ‘normally cycling women’ not on birth control pills. The data were reanalyzed in 2014 and these figures created.


One example of when I might refer to these figures is if someone tells me that they’ve just had blood drawn, they don’t know what cycle day they’re on (e.g. have not yet had their first post-HA or first postpartum period), and LH was measured at 17 and estradiol at 215 pg/mL. I can check these figures and see that that most likely corresponds to just before ovulation. If LH is 17 and e2 is 85 pg/mL that might mean that ovulation has just occurred. If LH is 17 and estradiol is 30 pg/mL then I might suggest inducing a bleed and testing a hormone panel to determine if PCOS might be in play.


I think what is unique and particularly helpful in these figures is the inclusion of variability so one has an idea of the typical range for these hormones.


If you have questions, I offer quick calls to help you understand your bloodwork - I am not a medical doctor, but I have seen bloodwork from thousands of people and can often make distinctions that medical doctors who rarely see HA are unaware of, so that you can get a better handle on the discussion to have with that professional.

Nico

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