One of the most frequently asked questions I get is what is the best way to test my hormones? And it’s a good one, because there are different testing options, we want to focus on which test or tests will provide us with the necessary information we need to navigate and address your specific hormonal concerns.
The three main types of testing are blood or serum testing, saliva testing, and dried urine testing.
Serum testing is what you are likely familiar with, and involves a blood draw at a lab. There are some hormones that can only be tested in the serum, some of these include FSH and LH (which are produced by the pituitary gland in your brain and send signals to the ovary which results in the production of estrogen and progesterone), insulin and thyroid hormones. We can also test estrogen and progesterone, but they must be tested on specific days of your menstrual cycle, since they fluctuate throughout the month (which is the same case for FSH and LH). Serum testing is often what is cited as the gold standard in the literature.
Urine testing is the most comprehensive of the testing options and measures the metabolite pathways of ovarian and adrenal hormones. It gives us an idea of how the body is metabolizing and breaking down hormones like estrogen, testosterone, and cortisol. It tells us how you are managing stress and also gives us information on other markers like your melatonin production and oxidative stress levels.
Saliva testing is done for hormones like cortisol, estrogen, progesterone and testosterone and gives us a good idea of what is happening at the tissue level.
There are a few considerations when deciding which, if any, tests to run. We always want to be gathering data that we cannot otherwise know from a clinical discussion that will guide our treatment decisions. We would want to consider which hormones we want to test, and what type of information we want to gather in order to determine which test would be best for you.
If you have any questions about hormone testing, book a complimentary discovery call!