Online hormone quizzes: Are they helpful or hurtful?

HOUSTON – The level of estrogen, the main female hormone, rises and falls unevenly during perimenopause. Women can experience perimenopause as early as their 30s.

While that’s totally normal, online quizzes claim to help you determine what’s wrong and whether an “imbalance” is present.

But are they trustworthy?

Dr. Mary Claire Haver, author of The Galveston Diet and women’s health expert, said, “Some are, some aren’t.”

She said to look at the level of training of the person writing the quiz and also look at what they’re trying to sell you.

“There’s a lot of those tests that are going for certain vitamins, powders and potions and pills that are available over the counter, but they don’t have a lot of evidence to support that it is going to cure your menopause or cure your sex life,” Dr. Haver said.

What should you take to relieve symptoms related to hormones?

“The gold standard for menopause treatment is always going to be some kind of hormone therapy, however that looks for you. However, there are some pretty good studies done on things like soy and maybe ashwagandha that can be helpful to women, especially in this transition period before she feels she’s ready for hormones,” Dr. Haver said.

Some previous scientific studies told women to avoid hormones because it increases their risk of breast cancer. Dr. Haver and many other experts insist that information was wrong.

“It was misguided. It’s been walked back. It turns out that patients who are on the estrogen actually had a significant decreased risk of breast cancer and the patients on estrogen and progesterone had a very slight increased risk of breast cancer, but they had a much better chance of survival with their breast cancer if they were on hormones than they were not,” Dr. Haver said.

To determine whether your symptoms are related to perimenopause, Dr. Haver has this quiz on her website: Perimenopause Quiz - The Galveston Diet