Saliva Testing Vs Blood Testing For Hormone Levels: Which Is Better
Have you ever said in a moment of moodiness, I think my hormones are out of whack!?
Did you consider that you might be right on the money? Fatigue, weight gain, anxiety, moodiness these can all be signs of a hormonal imbalance. A simple blood or saliva test in a doctors office can check your hormone levels and find out if lows or highs are responsible for your ongoing health concerns. But which is more accurate? Blood testing or saliva testing?
How Do I Know If I Have A Hormone Imbalance
The following list of common complaints can often be helped or eliminated by improving hormone health. The challenge is often finding out the starting place of your hormone imbalance to ensure you are treating the root of the problem rather than just the symptoms. And thats where hormone testing comes in.
- Menstrual irregularities
- Poor immune function
When assessing a hormone imbalance, its important to evaluate the endocrine system as a whole. This is because the endocrine system is complex and hormones and their actions are intricately linked this means that hormone imbalances originating from different areas can cause the same symptom.
Here Are Our Tips On How To Get What You Want And Need Out Of Hormone Testing
Your visit to the OBGYN:
- ;Get the test taken during the first few days of your cycle , if possible.
- ;Ask your OBGYN for a hormone panel test that includes estrogen, progesterone, FSH and LH .
- ;Ask additionally for a thyroid test, blood sugar test and Vitamin D3 test. These are also important indicators for hormonal health.
- ;Ask that they also run a general blood test you want to be checked for iron saturation, anemia, and C-reactive proteins particularly.
- ;Ask for a print out of your results to take home if they are not made available online for you to access.
Assessing the results:
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What Do The Results Mean
If your estradiol or estrone levels are higher than normal, it may be due to:
- Early puberty in girls; delayed puberty in boys
If your estradiol or estrone levels are lower than normal, it may be due to:
- Primary ovarian insufficiency, a condition that causes a woman’s ovaries to stop working before she is 40 years old
- Turner syndrome, a condition in which a woman’s sexual characteristics don’t develop properly
- An eating disorder, such as anorexia nervosa
- Polycystic ovary syndrome, a common hormone disorder affecting childbearing women. It is one of the leading causes of female infertility.
If you are pregnant and your estriol levels are lower than normal, it may mean your pregnancy is failing or that there is a chance your baby might have a birth defect. If the test shows a possible birth defect, you will need more testing before a diagnosis can be made.
Higher levels of estriol may mean you will be going into labor soon. Normally, estriol levels go up about four weeks before you start labor.
If you have questions about your results, talk to your health care provider.
Learn more about laboratory tests, reference ranges, and understanding results.
How To Get Your Hormones Tested And What To Do Next
Last updated on by Alisa Vitti
So, youve been feeling less than great lately maybe the first sign was irregular or heavy and painful periods, or maybe it was some weight gain and acne either way, you know something is wrong and you want to feel better. Youre thinking it might be hormone-related. What now?
Many women take a trip to their OBGYN and ask for a hormone test. This is a great first step towards treating your health issues. But the results can be confusing and concerning without a little background information and preparation. Knowledge is power! Theres no need to be mystified.
Remember: no result received is static, the diagnosis you get can and will change with the right kind of treatment.
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Who Gets An Estrogen Test
Doctors may recommend testing of estradiol or estrone for symptoms such as:
Girls whose sex organs develop earlier or later than normal may also get tested for E1 and E2 levels.
Doctors usually test E3 during pregnancy, when it temporarily becomes the main estrogen. Abnormal levels of estriol may be a sign of problems with the babyâs health — but youâd get a lot more tests to find out for sure.
You might need several tests to track changes in your estrogen levels over time.
Hormone Testing Sign : Gut Issues
Studies show that our gut plays a significant role in regulating our hormones. That shouldnt be a surprise considering the health of our gut impacts everything from our digestion to our immunity! A lack of beneficial bacteria, for example, can cause increased inflammation throughout the body and make us more susceptible to things like PMS.
TMB TIPAdding gut-supporting foods like dark leafy greens, resistant starches, and lots of plant fibre diversity can be a great starting point.
In addition to the DUTCH test for hormone testing, we also use the comprehensive GI Map stool test in our functional medicine program to get an in-depth snapshot of a patients gut health and microbiome. We offer FREE consults if you are interested in finding out more about our functional testing.
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When To Test Cortisol
We cant always get a full picture of whats going on with your hormones without looking at the adrenals, which produce the stress hormone cortisol.;
Cortisol is involved in your stress response, hair loss, blood sugar regulation and more. In time of stress, the body will shift into preferentially making cortisol over progesterone. Read more about the importance of cortisol here.
Cortisol blood tests are best performed in the morning, along with Adrenocorticotropic hormone , because this is when levels are highest. ACTH is produced in the pituitary gland and helps your adrenals to function. For a more comprehensive picture of adrenal function, a 4-point salivary or urinary cortisol is best. Cortisol can be tested at any time of the month.
Can You Test Hormone Levels
Yes, you can. Hormone testing is routinely done these days and is available for all types of hormones that commonly become unbalanced, including women hormones, men hormones, thyroid hormones, cortisol and much more. Most hormone imbalance tests are blood tests that measure the level of certain hormones circulating in the blood stream, and in some cases, whether complimentary hormones estrogen and progesterone, for instance are present in the proper ratios to work together effectively.
- Hormone tests are commonly done for the following purposes:
- To diagnose hormonal imbalances
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Adrenal Testing With Urine
This is my favorite way to test the adrenal hormones, and that is because we have the;DUTCH hormone test. DUTCH stands for Dried Urine Test for Comprehensive Hormones, and as the samples are collected on a special litmus paper before being left to dry, they are very easily mailed back to the lab for analysis.
The reason the DUTCH hormone test is the best for assessing adrenal function is that it measures total cortisol production over the day, plus it measures your free cortisol levels at 4-5 different points throughout the day so that we know your cortisol rhythm which is also important.
The DUTCH hormone test also measures cortisone and the metabolites of cortisol and cortisone which can help to understand how quickly your body is metabolizing these hormones.
Below is an image of all of the markers on the adrenal section of the DUTCH hormone test, this is on top of assessing all the sex hormones in the image above. The new DUTCH test also measures melatonin and some organic acid markers for inflammation and nutrient deficiencies.
Common Hormone Testing For Women
Before you begin your search and compare your options, lets take a look at 12 lab tests designed to help identify hormonal imbalances in women.
This acronym stands for Dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate.;This is a weak male hormone that adrenal glands produce in both men and women.;
What It Measures
A;DHEA-S test;measures the level of this hormone in your blood. It is appropriate for women who appear to have too many male hormones.
Clinical Test Reference Range
Normal levels of;;DHEA-S;will vary depending on each individuals sex and age. The average normal ranges for females measured in mcg/dL, as reported by Quest, are listed below.
- <1 Month: 15-261
There is a particular group of steroids responsible for regulating your menstrual cycle and functioning as your main female sex hormones. This group includes the most predominant form of estrogen, called Estradiol, also referenced as Estradiol-17 Beta or E2.;
What It Measures
An;Estradiol;test;measures the level of Estradiol in your blood.
As its produced mainly in your ovaries, doctors can analyze this hormonal activity to see if your organs;are functioning as they should.;
Clinical Test Reference Range
Normal levels of Estradiol in women will vary depending on the menstrual cycle and age. The following Estradiol levels are considered normal for women, as reported by Quest.
- Follicular Phase: 19-144 pg/mL
Normal levels for postmenopausal women should be lower than 10 pg/mL.
What an Imbalance Means
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When Do I Need Hormonal Blood Work
Since blood tests for hormones are not a part of routine blood tests that might be done at an annual check-up, women are recommended to report any persistent, severe, or alarming symptoms to their doctors to be properly evaluated with a blood test and other diagnostic hormone tests, if necessary.
During pregnancy, on the other hand, hormonal blood work will be ordered at specific points throughout gestation or when additional needs as part of adequate prenatal care.
The Doctor Keeps Talking About Reference Ranges What Does This Mean
A reference range is the range of results seen in healthy people under standard conditions eg, rested, fed or fasted, at nine in the morning or non-pregnant.; There is more than one range to allow for normal variations such as age, gender, the stage of the menstrual cycle, menopause and pregnancy.
Unfortunately, the range for test results in healthy people and those with illnesses usually overlap, so there is rarely a clear dividing line.; A result can be outside the reference range in a healthy person but within it for someone who is ill.; There also needs to be a balance between use of the range for detecting disease and the need to minimise false diagnosis.; Thus, the reference range includes most results seen in normal people, but not all of them .; Because of this, the reference range is a guide and not a rigid definition of normality.
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Hormone Testing: What To Check And Why
Questions about hormone testing are common among my patients and on social media. Women want to know which hormones they need to check and why. They also want to know what hormones and other biomarkers can be tested at home. In this video and accompanying article, I cover the biomarkers that I check for myself and my patients approximately once per quarter. Note that not all biomarkers I discuss below have been validated for blood spot testing versus the gold standard of a blood draw for serum testing, which is what I use for treatment decisions. Still, one can infer trends and screen for problems to investigate further. My highest recommendation is to perform serum testing for all treatment decisions, though that may be difficult during quarantine and lockdown. I created this video to show the blood spot test that I am performing in lockdown, even with the caveat that it is not considered the gold standard for all tests mentioned in this article.
Saliva Testing For Hormone Levels
In the body, almost all hormones circulating in the bloodstream are bound to carrier proteins. Unlike blood-based tests, saliva diagnostics can measure the amount of free, unbound hormones that are available to act in the body.;Salivary concentrations represent the hormone levels that are most likely to impact the body. By;measuring these levels, providers can determine which hormones are available and present in excess and where there may be a deficiency.;
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How Can I Balance Back My Hormones
If you have been diagnosed with a hormonal imbalance, your doctor can advise you on ways of bringing your body back into proper balance. Typical treatments for improved hormonal balance include hormone replacement therapy and lifestyle changes, such as dietary changes, stress management and exercise. In the case of thyroid dysfunction, medications and/or surgical intervention may be necessary to restore health levels of thyroid hormones.
Everlywell Womens Health Test Best Overall
Everylwells womens health test offers comprehensive results by using both a finger prick sample and a saliva sample. Designed for women at all stages of life, this test measures estradiol, progesterone, luteinizing hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone, DHEAS, Cortisol, thyroid-stimulating hormone, free T3, free T4, free testosterone, and thyroid peroxidase antibodies. Everywell conducts its test in CLIA-certified labs and has physicians review the results.
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What A Hormonal Imbalance May Look Like
I see many young women in their 20s and 30s who no longer want to be on synthetic hormones and prefer more intuitive and natural forms of contraception. One woman in particular lost her period for over a year after stopping birth control after being on it for more than a decade. The only thing that would stimulate a period were high doses of progesterone.;We used a hormonal imbalance test and additional lab work to identify what was really going on.
Over 9 months, we addressed her high levels of cortisol at night, lowered inflammatory markers with changes to her diet, healed her digestive dysfunction, and added in supplements to help stimulate natural production of estrogen and progesterone while replenishing certain micronutrients. Her period finally returned, and at 27 years young, she was no longer worried about if she would ever be able to have a healthy cycle and have children in her future.
Sign : Difficulty Losing Weight
We all know someone who has struggled with weight fluctuations or difficulty losing those last 10 lbs, but did you know that your hormones could be the culprit? When our cortisol is elevated for example, which can be brought on by life stressors, it sends a message to your body to STORE fat rather than burn it. Imbalances of our insulin can also contribute to weight issues. In circumstances such a this, it can be very helpful to have a qualified functional medicine practitioner test exactly where your hormone levels are at and guide you on a customized weight loss journey.
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Is It Safe To Have Tests During The Pandemic
Dr Aziz-Scott: Its understandable that there is some hesitation about being around others at this time, but we would like to reassure you that your safety is of the utmost importance to us. It is safe to have your blood tests during the pandemic and as per Government advice, it is recommended that you keep any appointments or procedures you have booked.
What Is Being Tested
Estrogens are a group of steroids that are responsible for the development and function of reproductive organs and the formation of secondary sex characteristics in women. Along with another hormone, progesterone, they help regulate the menstrual cycle, are involved in the growth of breasts and the uterus, and help maintain a healthy pregnancy. Though considered the main sex hormones for women, they are also found in men and play
Estrogens are a group of steroids that are responsible for the development and function of reproductive organs and the formation of secondary sex characteristics in women. Along with another hormone, progesterone, they help regulate the menstrual cycle, are involved in the growth of breasts and the uterus, and help maintain a healthy pregnancy. Though considered the main sex hormones for women, they are also found in men and play a role in bone metabolism and growth in both sexes. Estrogen tests measure one of three components: estrone , estradiol , or estriol in the blood or urine.
Estrogen in Girls and WomenThe types and amounts of estrogen normally present in a womans blood will vary throughout her lifetime. Levels vary during each menstrual cycle, during pregnancy, and on a daily basis.
At BirthEstradiol and estrone are high but fall within a few days. Concentration levels are minimal during early childhood.
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A Hormone Imbalance Can Cause Chronic Health Issues
When your hormones are in proper balance they help the body thrive, but small problems with hormones can cause serious and life-altering symptoms. Specifically, imbalances of sex hormones, thyroid hormones and adrenal hormones are common problems that can contribute to a host of chronic health issues. Unfortunately, conventional medicine often doesnt understand the significant role hormone imbalances play in many health complaints.
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