The Pros And Cons Of Different Forms Of Hormone Testing

Did you know there’s at least 5 different ways to test your hormones?

You probably didn’t, because this information isn’t generally known by most doctors (unless they are functional!).

It’s great there are a bunch of options out there, but it can feel overwhelming to figure out which one’s right for you.

Here’s some questions to ask yourself to determine the test you need:

✨Are you a cycling person, or have you gone into menopause?

✨Do you need the results quickly?

✨Can you afford to pay out of pocket?

✨Are blood draws tough for you?

✨Are you able to freeze vials for a month-long test?

There are also pros and cons to each test, which you can see below.

Serum tests:

➡️The big pros to serum testing is that they are fast, accessible, and are usually affordable and are mostly covered by insurance (as long as you have a doctor that knows how to code them properly).

➡️The big cons is that it serum labs mostly only show total hormones (except for free testosterone and DHEA-S) and some people really struggle with blood draws.


Saliva tests:

➡️Pros for saliva testing for hormones includes showcasing “free” or “bioavailable” hormones, vs. total hormones (don’t know the different between “free” and total hormones? Then check out my class, Learn the Basics of Hormone Testing), the ability to test over the length of your cycle, and it’s generally the best way to monitor bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.

➡️Cons include issues with a dry mouth or other hardships with collection, along with the possibility of contamination. There’s also a longer timeline in terms of waiting for results, particularly if you do a cycling panel, as the collection in and of itself takes a month.


Urine/Dried Urine Testing

➡️Pros of urine or dried urine testing include that both offer “free hormones,” as well as a HUGE plus is that they show the metabolites of hormones. With estrogen in particular, this is extremely important information when it comes to fibroids, ovarian cysts and fibrocystic breasts, as well as female cancers. These tests are also relatively easy to take over a 24 hour period.

➡️Cons include that progeterone levels may not be fully accurate as they work back from metabolites to determine progesterone. Also, these tests can get relatively expensive, but they are often worth the extra expense for the information they provide.


Blood Spot Testing

➡️Finally, blood spot testing can be a great choice if you have trouble with blood draws, as blood spot consists of a simple prick on your finger that you place on paper. It has also been shown in studies to be more accurate than blood testing when it comes to measuring topical hormone replacement therapy.

➡️Cons are that similar to blood, blood spot shows total hormones, not free ones, and as with blood draws, we are only getting information from the time you draw. This misses capturing the ups and downs of hormones during a 24 hour cycle.

Want to know even more about hormones testing, including the difference between bioavailable hormones and total hormones, which form of testing is best in different situations, optimal levels for the different tests, and more? Then check out our class, Learn The Basics Of Hormone Testing.

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