Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Testing Hormones

I mentioned earlier that my husband read somewhere that the way they test hormones is based on men. We have since found where he read that. It was in Dr. Goldstein's book Reclaiming Desire and here's what it says:

"[...] although total testosterone is important, free testosterone is the most clinically significant value.  Unfortunately, measuring a woman's free testosterone is difficult.  The tests currently offered by the major commercial laboratories in the United States were developed for men, because men have much higher levels of circulating testosterone.  This means that what's considered 'normal' for the tests is based on the testosterone levels of men, not women.  Any test loses accuracy when measuring levels far beyond its normal range.

This becomes a more significant issue when you consider that free testosterone accounts for only about 2 percent of a woman's total testosterone.  In other words, free testosterone is even further outside the normal range that the tests are designed to measure."

This is an outrage.  Why do we even go to gynecologists?  Aren't they supposed to be women doctors?  I'm not a doctor and even I know that testosterone is a significant hormone for women, even if it comes in small doses.  Why has no one taken the steps to makes these tests for women?  This explains the huge discrepancy between the test they did at the GYN and the test done at Dr. G's office, why they told me at the GYN that my testosterone was normal and why I've now found out that it's way way low.  Now I just have to figure out why the estrogen number was also so inaccurate.


Jeanmt said...

I feel like a dork commenting all the time. But this issue is also addressed in the V Book by, I think Elizabeth Stewart (awesome book, though it's not completely up to date on thinking about vulvodynia, I feel).

It's totally ludicrous. And there are few options to supplement with testosterone, either.

the girl with pain "down there" said...

It's okay. We can be dorks together. I comment on other blogs all the time.

Faith said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Faith said...

Hey there- I think this is the post you were talking about- how did Dr G test the hormone differently than other gyn? DOes he just look at the results differently?

I will have to find my latest hormone panel the dr ran- .2 sounds familar to me...mine are probably low too. And sadly I went to a reproductive endocrinologist that said all was fine (can repro endos be trusted?)


the girl with pain "down there" said...

You know, I'm not sure how they test it differently. It might be in that book that I quoted. I'll try to find out.