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Hormone Testing

Hormones are chemical messengers you produce to regulate different functions of your body. Having too much or too little of certain hormones (hormone imbalance) can impact your wellbeing. The nationally renowned experts at Cedars-Sinai offer hope for healing with hormone testing, which helps evaluate the hormone imbalance.

You have access to a broad range of tests, including options that are not widely available. Our diagnostic capabilities enable you to receive the therapies that are best for your needs.

More Information About Hormone Testing

Hormone levels change as you age—some change throughout the day. We use hormone testing to detect and evaluate hormone imbalances that may be making you sick. We often conduct hormone testing using a blood sample, but some tests require urine or saliva samples.

We frequently test levels of:

  • Estrogen and testosterone
  • Adrenal gland hormones, such as cortisol
  • Growth hormone, prolactin and other pituitary gland hormones
  • Thyroid hormones, such as thyroxine

Hormone Testing at Cedars-Sinai: Why Choose Us?

You benefit from the expertise of endocrinologists, doctors who specialize in treating hormone disorders. Many of our endocrinologists completed additional training through fellowships and have decades of experience. All of our experts stay up to date on the latest hormone testing practices.

We order appropriate tests based on your symptoms, allowing us to quickly pinpoint the source of the problem. And we detect subtle signs of a hormone imbalance, so you receive an accurate diagnosis. Once we confirm a diagnosis, we'll discuss your personalized care recommendations. Treatments may include:

  • Medical therapy for endocrine disorders
  • Endocrine surgery

Stimulation and Suppression Hormone Testing

We use tests called stimulation and suppression tests to evaluate a hormone imbalance. We give you hormones and other substances that either start (stimulate) or stop (suppress) your production of certain hormones. We then evaluate how your body responds.

Common types of stimulation and suppression testing include:

  • Growth hormone response to glucagon: We inject a hormone, glucagon, into muscle tissue and measure growth hormone levels over four hours. This test helps us confirm or rule out adult growth hormone deficiency
  • Cortisol response to cosyntropin: We give you cosyntropin, which acts like ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone). ACTH is a hormone produced in the pituitary gland that stimulates the adrenal glands to produce cortisol. We measure cortisol levels every 30 minutes for one hour. This test helps us confirm adrenal insufficiency.
  • Glucose tolerance test: We give you a sweet drink, which should lower levels of growth hormone. We measure levels of growth hormone in the blood every two hours. This test helps us confirm acromegaly
  • Cortisol response to dexamethasone: You take a pill (dexamethasone tablet) at night that should block cortisol production. The next day we take a blood sample to measure cortisol levels. This test helps us confirm or rule out Cushing's syndrome.
  • Metyrapone suppression test: You take a pill (metyrapone tablet) at night that should block cortisol production. The next day we take a blood sample to measure cortisol and ACTH levels. This test helps us confirm or rule out adrenal insufficiency.

Preparing for Hormone Testing at Cedars-Sinai

We explain the tests you need and answer any questions you may have.

Here's what to expect:

  • Stop certain medications: We let you know whether to stop taking drugs such as oral steroids or estrogen supplements before your test. 
  • Visit one of our labs: You go to a Cedars-Sinai lab and provide a blood, urine or saliva sample. If you need stimulation or suppression testing, we let you know in advance how long you'll need to stay.
  • Collect samples at home: If we need samples over a period of time, you may be able to perform testing at home. We give you special containers for collecting saliva or urine samples and detailed instructions on how to handle them.
  • Receive more than one form of hormone testing: Blood testing is one way we evaluate hormone imbalances. We may recommend additional tests, including stimulation or suppression tests, to learn more about what's causing the imbalance. 
  • Undergo other forms of testing: For problems such as tumors or a possible cancer diagnosis, we use imaging to learn more about their size, location and nature.
Have Questions or Need a Second Opinion?

To make an appointment or refer a patient, call us or send a message to the Endocrinology care team. You can also have us call you back at your convenience.

Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Pacific Time (U.S.)
Available 24 hours a day

(1-800-233-2771)