Test your hormones

Hormone Testing – The Why, When & How

Why test your hormones?

Testing takes out the guess work when it comes to hormones.  Since I started testing hormones, I have found that often the results are not what you would expect.  Natural treatment for hormonal dysfunction can be powerful and is quite specific.  It is important to get it right. 

Testing Sex Hormones

When we test sex hormones like progesterone and estrogen  we do not just test on any given day.  We test mid luteal phase.  This is due to the fact that we only make progesterone during the days following ovulation and we want to test when progesterone is at its highest 5-7 days after ovulation and 5-7 days before your period. 

This is easy if your cycles are regular.  For example if you have a 21 day cycle we would test on day 14. 28 day cycle we would test on day 21 and 35 day cycle we would test on day 28. 

What if my cycles are not regular?

If your cycle is not regular then we would either test 5-7 days after ovulation (which you would determine by symptoms like temperature increase) or if you have zero clue and no pattern we can map out your entire cycle with the DUTCH cycle mapping test below. 

What if my symptoms are normal for my age i.e in Perimenopause?

I will always discuss this with clients first and go through all of their symptoms and look at what is considered normal for their age to make sure it is worthwhile testing.  Basically I won’t bother recommending if it would not change our treatment plan either way.

Can anyone get their Hormones tested?

Not everyone is going to be a candidate for hormone testing.  I generally do not do the tests below on any Women who is on hormonal birth control or post Menopausal, there are also some instances when we will get nutrition right before testing.

Testing Stress Hormones

When we are testing cortisol and stress hormones, we want to look at the pattern throughout the day, not just a single sample.  We need to look at where your cortisol is in the morning when you first wake up and mid morning when it should be the highest.  We want to look at the levels in the mid afternoon when many crash and we want to make sure it is coming down in the evening when it should and not keeping you awake.    

 

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The How

Saliva vs Blood Testing

There are many benefits to saliva testing over blood.  The main benefit is that saliva represents the hormones that are actively being delivered to the receptors in the body, rather then free hormones in the serum (blood). 

Steroid hormones detected in the serum are bound to proteins and in this state they are unable to fit into receptors in the body, and will not be delivered to tissues.  They reflect the current reserves of hormones, rather then the current active hormones.  Cortisol can also not be accurately measured in serum.

What tests do you offer and how do you do them?

I offer saliva hormone testing which is a simple and non invasive test, easily performed in the comfort of your own home. 

Saliva testing generally requires you to spit into a test tube first thing in the morning (for sex hormones or throughout the day for cortisol as discussed) and freeze until you are ready to return the sample.

You get a test kit explaining when to send and it contains cold packs etc.  My supplier sends it on to the lab in the US (Labrix).  Labrix only requires 1 ml of saliva per sample.

What is the cost for saliva testing?

Saliva testing is cost effective (from a functional testing perspective) prices range from around  $25.00 for a single hormone up to around $180 for a full comprehensive panel testing 3 different estrogens, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA, and cortisol x 4 (4 samples at different times of the day/night).

DUTCH test

While saliva testing is generally better than blood testing, DUTCH is the gold standard. 

DUTCH is an acronym for Dried, Urine, Test for Comprehensive Hormones.  This is another test that I offer and the most comprehensive. 

There are a few different versions of the DUTCH test available, all are provided by Precision Analytical in the states.  DUTCH is regarded by practitioners as the most advanced test for sex and adrenal hormones. 

How do you take a DUTCH test?

The samples are easy to collect in the comfort of your own home (4 dried urine samples collected on filter paper).

The test very comprehensive,  not only are hormone levels measured, but their metabolites.  The absolute level of your hormones matter – but what can matter more is what your body does with those hormones.

Some examples of what I mean:

Does your body turn testosterone into nasty acne-promoting 5a-DHT?

Does your body turn estradiol into DNA damaging 4-OH estrone?  

Are you healthfully metabolising and eliminating estrogen from your body?

The DUTCH test can tell you.

What this means for you:

It is a simple test to complete, but gives unrivaled information.  By having this information, we can get very specific with treatment and get results much quicker. 

The tests provide info on hormone levels, metabolism of cortisol, metabolism of progesterone, testosterone and estrogen. 

Like the saliva adrenal test the DUTCH test gives us not only the total levels of cortisol and cortisone, but also the curve – how those levels change over the day. This is some valuable information for people who are struggling with stress, fatigue, anxiety, decreased libido, trouble sleeping and insomnia.

The DUTCH test also looks at melatonin which is very helpful in cases of insomnia.  

What are the different DUTCH test options:

The options include – DUTCH complete ,DUTCH adrenal, DUTCH cycle mapping and cycle mapping plus.

The prices for DUTCH testing range from around $209 to $555.00. 

In Summary

The best way to know what test will be best for you is to book into the 3 month package.  During the first consultation I can look at all of the factors contributing to your presenting complaint and make recommendations. 

Not only will you get a recommendation on what test will be best, you will also get a full holistic treatment plan and supporting information to get you started on your way to balanced menstrual cycles. At your follow up we can review your results of treatment and testing and we can fine tune as we go.

You will receive a prescription for any practitioner only supplements needed to get you results faster. 

Remember it takes 100 days to really see results with hormonal dysfunction.  This is due to the fact that it takes 100 days for ovarian follicles (eggs) to journey all the way to maturity and for you to ovulate. 

Julie McGill

Julie McGill

Holistic Nutritionist, Mother to 4 young Humans.
Women's Health advocate.

Meet Julie a Nutritionist at Nurture Nutrition
Hi, I'm Julie

I help Women get to the root cause of their hormonal issues so they can have more energy and  thrive.  Helping you be the best version of yourself is my passion.

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Free download - how to create balanced meals for balanced hormones, pms, pmdd, perimenopause, menopause, endometriosis, women's health, nutritionist, naturopath