Functional Hormone Testing For Women: Types of Tests and Functional Medicine Ranges

Written by Samantha Odake | Last updated:
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What is female hormone testing?

Hormones are chemical messengers that play a fundamental role in regulating many physiological processes, including growth and development, metabolism, mood, and reproductive functions.

In women, hormones are particularly influential in governing many aspects of reproductive health, including the menstrual cycle, fertility, and more.

By analyzing hormone levels through blood tests, healthcare providers can pinpoint the root causes of symptoms such as irregular menstrual cycles, mood swings, fatigue, and weight fluctuations. This can help practitioners create personalized treatment plans tailored to each patient’s unique hormonal profile, resulting in potentially better health outcomes.

What does a functional female hormone testing panel include?

A functional female hormone lab panel, compared to a standard female hormone panel, can offer a more complete assessment of a woman’s hormonal health. It includes a wider variety of tests and provides a comprehensive evaluation of hormonal balance, identifying underlying issues that might be causing various health concerns.

Functional female hormone testing panels typically include:

  • Estradiol
  • Testosterone (free and total)
  • DHEA sulfate
  • Prolactin
  • Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)
  • Luteinizing hormone (LH)
  • Pregnenolone
  • Thyroid hormones
  • Metabolic panel with lipids
  • Complete Blood Count (CBC)
  • Cortisol

Essentially, a basic female hormone panel primarily focuses on measuring sex hormones, which are crucial for reproductive health and general well-being. In contrast, a functional panel takes a broader approach, covering various hormonal and metabolic aspects for a more comprehensive evaluation.

Who should get hormone testing?

Female hormone testing is typically recommended for individuals who are experiencing symptoms of hormonal imbalances or have specific concerns related to their reproductive or overall health.

Common reasons for female hormone testing include:

  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Menopausal symptoms
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
  • Endometriosis
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Unexplained symptoms
  • General health monitoring

Additionally, female hormone testing is particularly beneficial for women planning to conceive or experiencing fertility challenges. These tests can identify imbalances in reproductive hormones, which might hinder successful pregnancies.

Hormone imbalance symptoms in women

Imbalances in women’s hormones can manifest in various ways, and identifying the root cause can be challenging.

Women with a hormone imbalance may experience the following:

  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Fertility issues
  • Acne and other skin issues
  • Unexplained weight gain or weight loss
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • High cholesterol
  • Nervousness or irritability
  • Hair changes

How to interpret hormone testing for women: Types of tests and functional medicine ranges

Healthcare professionals commonly request blood tests to assess hormone imbalance. Genetic testing may also offer valuable insights into an individual’s susceptibility to hormonal disruptions.

In this section, we’ll review the main hormone tests for women in the following categories:

  • Thyroid hormones
  • Reproductive hormones
  • Metabolic hormones
  • Stress hormones

These hormones work to maintain reproductive health, mood stability, and overall physiological equilibrium in women. Understanding their roles and ensuring they are in balance is crucial for women’s well-being and reproductive health.

Thyroid hormones

Thyroid hormones play a crucial role in an individual’s health. They influence a range of essential functions, such as metabolic rate, body temperature regulation, heart function, energy production, respiration, and fertility.

Name Description Functional Medicine Ranges
TSH Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) is a hormone released by the pituitary gland that signals the thyroid gland to release other hormones.

High: > 4.5 uIU/mL

Suboptimal: 2.5 – 4.5 uIU/mL

Optimal: 1 – 2.5 uIU/mL

Suboptimal: 0.4 – 1 uIU/mL

Low: < 0.4 uIU/mL

T3 (Triiodothyronine) Triiodothyronine (T3) controls the usage of energy (metabolic rate) and thereby affects almost all organs and tissues in the body, including the brain, heart, bones, muscles, liver, pancreas, and fat tissue.

High: > 181 ng/dL

Optimal: 76 – 181 ng/dL

Low: < 76 ng/dL

T4 (Thyroxine) Thyroxine (T4) is a hormone made in the thyroid gland from iodine and the amino acid tyrosine. It serves as a precursor to the more active thyroid hormone called triiodothyronine, or T3.

High: > 11.9 ug/dL

Optimal: 5.1 – 11.9 ug/dL

Low: < 5.1 ug/dL

Free T4 This test measures the amount of free thyroid hormone T4 (thyroxine) in the blood. Free T4 is often measured together with thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) to check if the thyroid is working well and to help diagnose hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) and hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)

High: > 1.8 ng/dL

Optimal: 0.8 – 1.8 ng/dL

Low: < 0.8 ng/dL

Reproductive hormones

Reproductive hormones play a crucial role in sustaining sexual and reproductive well-being. They influence various aspects of health, including libido, ovulation, and menstruation. While a gradual decrease in these hormones is a natural part of aging, imbalances can disrupt these functions at any stage of life.

Name Description Functional Medicine Ranges
Estradiol (E2) Estradiol (E2) is a sex hormone and the most active estrogen in the body. It’s important for female and male reproduction, brain, thyroid, and bone health, and maintaining a healthy weight.

Follicular phase: 19 – 144 pg/mL

Ovulation: 64 – 357 pg/mL

Luteal phase: 56 – 214 pg/mL

Postmenopausal: 0 – 31 pg/mL

Testosterone, total Testosterone is a hormone mainly produced by the testes in men or ovaries in women. Normal testosterone levels are important for maintaining bone health, sex drive, and more.

High: > 45 ng/dL

Optimal: 2 – 45 ng/dL

Low: < 2 ng/dL

Testosterone, free Free testosterone is testosterone that is not bound to any proteins. It declines with age in both men and women after peaking in the late 20s.

High: < 4.2 pg/mL

Optimal: > 4.2pg/mL

DHEAS DHEA is a steroid hormone produced primarily by the adrenal glands. The majority of DHEA is converted into DHEA sulfate (DHEA-S). Together with DHEA, DHEA-S is the most abundant steroid circulating in the blood and is the precursor to the sex hormones testosterone and estradiol (the primary estrogen).

Ages 18 to 19: 145 to 395 µg/dL

Ages 20 to 29: 65 to 380 µg/dL

Ages 30 to 39: 45 to 270 µg/dL

Ages 40 to 49: 32 to 240 µg/dL

Ages 50 to 59: 26 to 200 µg/dL

Ages 60 to 69: 13 to 130 µg/dL

Ages 69 and older: 17 to 90 µg/dL

Prolactin Prolactin plays a key role in fertility and reproduction and stimulates the production of breast milk (lactation). It is also involved in suppressing the stress response, creating and activating new neurons, and stimulating motherly (maternal) behavior.

Follicular phase: 3 – 30 ng/mL

Ovulation: 3 – 30 ng/mL

Luteal phase: 3 – 30 ng/mL

Postmenopausal: 2 – 20 ng/mL

FSH Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) is a hormone involved in reproduction that stimulates the growth and maturation of eggs in women and sperm in men.

Follicular phase: 2.5 – 10.2 mIU/mL

Ovulation: 3.1 – 17.7 mIU/mL

Luteal phase: 1.5 – 9.1 mIU/mL

Postmenopausal: 23 – 116 mIU/mL

LH Luteinizing hormone (LH) is a hormone made by the pituitary gland that plays a key role in reproductive function in both men and women. LH levels increase in women once they reach menopause.

Follicular phase: 1.9 – 12.5 mIU/mL

Ovulation: 8.7 – 76.3 mIU/mL

Luteal phase: 0.5 – 16.9 mIU/mL

Postmenopausal: 10 – 54.7 mIU/mL

Pregnenolone Pregnenolone is the main steroid hormone derived from cholesterol. It is converted into different hormones, including cortisol, aldosterone, and sex steroid hormones (testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone).

High: > 237 ng/dL

Optimal: 22 – 237 ng/dL

Low: < 22 ng/dL

Stress hormones

Cortisol impacts numerous other systems in the body, assisting in the management of stressful situations and restoring balance to the body. Cortisol is essential for health and well-being and can lead to significant health problems when its levels are too low or too high.

Name Description Functional Medicine Ranges
Cortisol Cortisol is most widely known as a “stress” hormone that initiates the body’s “fight-or-flight” response. It helps control the metabolism of fats, proteins, and carbs, and regulates blood pressure, the immune system, and inflammation. Cortisol levels vary naturally throughout the day.

Morning: 6.2 – 19.4 ug/dL

Afternoon: 2.3 – 11.9 ug/dL

Night: 2.3 – 11.9 ug/dL

Metabolic hormones

Metabolic hormones are instrumental in finely tuning essential processes, including food intake, energy metabolism, and weight management.

Name Description Functional Medicine Ranges
Insulin Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas and helps move glucose from the blood into the fat tissue, muscles, and liver. Insulin also helps build proteins and fat.

Critical high: > 25 uIU/mL

High: 19.6 – 25 uIU/mL

Suboptimal: 6 – 19.6 uIU/mL

Optimal: 2 – 6 uIU/mL

Suboptimal: < 2uIU/mL

Ghrelin Deemed the “hunger hormone”, ghrelin stimulates appetite, promotes food intake, and increases fat storage.

High: > 700 pg/mL

Optimal: 520 – 700 pg/mL

Low: < 520 pg/mL

Please keep in mind these ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories, age, and sex, and may present significant fluctuations throughout the day.

Female hormone tests are pivotal in assessing reproductive and overall health, but the results can vary significantly depending on various factors. Hormone levels can fluctuate naturally based on age, menstrual cycle phase, and individual health factors, and it’s important to take this into consideration when providing an assessment.

The importance of interpreting optimal lab ranges

For health practitioners, distinguishing between normal and optimal lab results is a vital aspect of providing comprehensive assessments for their clients. While normal results offer a baseline for what’s typical in a broader population, they may not necessarily reflect the ideal state of health for an individual.

Optimal results based on functional medicine ranges, on the other hand, drill down to pinpoint the specific levels that may be most beneficial for a person’s well-being.

By tailoring recommendations to help clients achieve levels within the optimal range, practitioners can enhance their clients’ overall health, address potential issues proactively, and ultimately contribute to better health outcomes.

Using a precision health tool for female lab hormone analysis

Finally, interpreting hormone tests for women isn’t just about a single snapshot in time. To truly understand hormonal health, it’s essential to track test results over time. Trends in hormone levels can reveal valuable insights into a person’s reproductive health and overall well-being. But to do this effectively, practitioners need a reliable platform to store and analyze data.

There are numerous tools available to help health professionals analyze, store, and track lab information. These tools are instrumental in streamlining the management of patient data, ensuring that healthcare practitioners can easily access and interpret critical laboratory results.

SelfDecode Pro Connect offers practitioners a convenient platform to upload, analyze, and store their clients’ lab results. It securely stores client data under HIPAA-compliant standards. Additionally, practitioners can learn more about each marker’s significance and access personalized recommendations based on evidence-based data.

Functional hormone testing for women on SelfDecode

Another feature of SelfDecode Pro Connect is the ability to track results over time, allowing practitioners to easily spot trends and make adjustments to a client’s care plan.

Beyond lab analysis, SelfDecode Pro also delivers in-depth insights based on an individual’s genetic makeup, providing a comprehensive understanding of their health risks and personalized recommendations tailored to their unique genetic profile.

What factors interfere with normal hormone function?

Female hormone levels naturally fluctuate throughout a person’s life, and even within a single day. Specific life stages, like puberty, pregnancy, and menopause, can trigger more pronounced variations in female hormones.

Moreover, there are various factors contributing to hormonal changes. Among the most prevalent causes of female hormone imbalances are:

  • Stress
  • Certain medications
  • Chronic health conditions

Do genetics influence female hormone levels?

Genetics can have a big effect on hormone function, including the modulation of hormone levels, their utilization, and removal processes. Given the essential role hormones play in physical and mental health, understanding these genetic predispositions can be a valuable tool for practitioners in creating personalized care plans for their clients.

Below you will find an example of the SelfDecode Female Hormone Health DNA report, providing an overview of an individual’s genetic risks for certain conditions and hormone imbalances.

Genetic hormone testing for women

However, the value of DNA analysis extends beyond simply identifying genetic risks. SelfDecode Pro also provides specific diet, lifestyle, and supplement recommendations tailored to each client’s genetic profile and lab results.

With genetic insights, lab analysis, and tailored recommendations at their disposal, practitioners can explore a more tailored, data-driven route to patient care, addressing the underlying factors contributing to hormone imbalances.

Recommendation for hormone health

This approach marks a significant stride toward a new era of precision healthcare, potentially enhancing patient outcomes and overall well-being.


Hormone testing for women is a pivotal aspect of healthcare that should not be overlooked. It empowers health practitioners to decipher complex hormonal imbalances, pinpoint potential risks, and personalize treatment plans.

Female hormone testing and genetic predispositions can redefine how practitioners approach women’s health. By addressing underlying factors and crafting tailored wellness plans, healthcare providers have the potential to elevate patient care to an entirely new level.

In an era defined by precision medicine, using cutting-edge tools like SelfDecode Pro Connect, practitioners can feel empowered in creating targeted treatment plans to guide their clients to better health.


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