Our hormones are biochemicals that act as messengers throughout our body sending and receiving information to maintain homeostasis. However, when our hormones are imbalanced we may have an array of symptoms that go unexplained. It is important to find the root cause of an illness or health ailment to heal properly and that is why hormone testing is an important component in identifying underlying health issues that may not be diagnosed by Western practices.
There are three methods of testing hormones. You can test via saliva, urine, and blood. All three have advantages and disadvantages and which method to utilize really depends on which hormones you are wanting to monitor.
Saliva Tests: These deliver a comprehensive profile of your hormone levels.
Saliva tests are the most accurate measurement of the body’s availability of the hormones cortisol, DHEA, estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Saliva testing is much more specific and correctly identifies the level of hormones at the cellular level, in contrast to a serum (blood) test, which measures the level of hormones circulating in the bloodstream. You don’t need to visit a lab or doctor’s office to complete the test, it can be easily managed from home and sent to a lab through the mail. A disadvantage of saliva testing is It does not give you the metabolites of the sex hormones. (How your body is breaking down the hormone).
Urine Tests: The DUTCH Complete is the most advanced hormone test, offering an extensive profile of sex and adrenal hormones and melatonin, along with their metabolites, to identify symptoms of hormonal imbalances. The advantage in urine testing is that it can assess the sex hormones as well as how your body is metabolizing the hormones and this is important when you are assessing why the hormone levels may be out of balance. It also assesses the free hormones, ie what is available to the body and not just the total hormone level. One of the disadvantages of urine testing is that it does not assess LH (Luteinizing Hormone) and FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone ) so it cannot tell you what messages are being sent from the brain to the ovaries.
Blood Tests: Blood testing can be valuable if you are looking at thyroid, estrogen, testosterone, and cortisol levels. One of the advantages of blood testing over saliva and urine testing is that it can assess Luteinizing Hormone (LH) and Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) which are the hormone messages from the pituitary to the ovaries telling them to make more hormones.
The disadvantage of blood testing is that you cannot assess the metabolites of estrogen to assess estrogen detoxification – poor estrogen detoxification is associated with cancer, fibroids, and PMS. Blood testing is also a poor method for assessing adrenal function because it is only practical to do one sample in a day, but cortisol and cortisone levels fluctuate throughout the day and this is very important when assessing adrenal function.