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An at-home saliva hormone test helps you understand more about your hormones. It can tell if you have hormonal balance. But are they more effective than a blood test?
Before using a test kit, it’s important to understand how these tests work.
Saliva tests are a non-invasive and stress-free way to test hormones. All you need to do is spit into a tube and send saliva samples to the testing company.
These tests are easy to use and affordable. When your test results are ready, you can access them from the privacy and convenience of your own home.
Aside from saliva tests, some companies offer at-home blood hormone tests.
At-home blood testing is a convenient way to get tested for hormone levels. But it is invasive compared to saliva collection.
Most of these tests involve the finger-prick method, where you prick your finger and fill a tube with the required amount of blood.
Hormones are chemical substances produced and excreted by the body’s endocrine system. They travel through the bloodstream and help regulate various organs and body functions.
A hormone test can check for hormonal imbalances. Meaning it can determine whether you have too much or too little of certain hormones.
Hormonal imbalance suggests the presence of an underlying health problem.
However, it can also be caused by aging, stress, and an unhealthy lifestyle — such as poor diet and lack of sleep.
Depending on the type of test, hormones can reveal your health. There are three types of hormone testing:
Sex hormones play an essential role in sexual development and health. But they can also affect hair growth, cholesterol levels, and body fat distribution.
Your sex hormones fluctuate throughout your life. You can have different results in subsequent tests even if you've taken a hormone test before.
However, it’s important to know what causes these fluctuations. The most common reasons are:
Stress, illness, and certain medications can also have a negative impact on your sex hormones and cause imbalances.
The test provides a comprehensive picture of a woman's hormonal levels. It is used to assess female fertility and sexual health.
Among the female hormones commonly tested are:
Your FSH, LH, and estradiol levels let doctors know about your ovulation and menstrual cycle.
Progesterone prepares your uterus for pregnancy. Estrogen helps sustain it. In adolescents, these two hormones are essential to puberty.
Some specialized tests also check for ovarian reserve and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
The test offers information on a man's hormones. Unlike female hormones, male hormones not only affect a person's sexual health.
They can also impact your energy, weight, exercise, and muscle growth.
For instance, low testosterone levels are associated with impotence and low sperm count — as well as depression and irritability.
Most male hormone tests only measure your testosterone. Unfortunately, they do not give a complete picture of your hormonal health:
Look for advanced hormone tests that check for:
Elevated prolactin and estradiol levels may cause impotence, decreased libido, little to no sperm count, and infertility. Men with too much prolactin may develop galactorrhea or an abnormal milky discharge from the nipples.
Androgen affects hair growth, sex drive, erectile function, and energy levels. Meanwhile, SHBG indicates the amount of free testosterone in your blood.
The thyroid gland plays a vital role in metabolism and the growth and development of the body.
It produces thyroid hormones which are responsible for your weight, body temperature, energy levels, and the growth of your hair, nail, and skin cells.
A thyroid hormone test checks for:
If you have hypothyroidism, it means you don't produce enough thyroid hormones. This can lead to weight gain, fatigue, hair loss, dry or rough skin, slow heartbeat, and low tolerance to cold.
The condition has also been linked to poor memory, depression, decreased libido, and irregular menstruation.
If you have hyperthyroidism, you have too much thyroid hormones. This causes weight loss, difficulty sleeping, excessive sweating, fast heart rate, hand tremors, and increased bowel movements.
Other symptoms include anxiety, low sex drive, irregular periods, and enlargement of the thyroid gland (known as goiter).
Stress is linked to six of the leading causes of death among Americans.1 A stress hormone test can assess your stress levels. It can also help you determine your ability to cope with stress.
Most of these tests measure cortisol, the primary stress hormone. When you are stressed, your body produces more cortisol than usual.
Cortisol enhances your most important body functions to help you survive stressful situations. These include mood, energy levels, immunity, digestion, and tissue repair.
Chronic stress can expose your body to elevated cortisol levels for too long. In turn, this can negatively affect your health and lead to:
A saliva test measures the amount of "free" hormones in your body.
Free hormones are not attached to a carrier protein. Your body can readily use them, producing instant effects on organs.
A saliva hormone test can accurately measure your:2
A blood test measures the "bound" hormones circulating in your bloodstream.
Bound hormones are attached to a carrier protein. When your body uses free hormones, these bound hormones replace them. This helps ensure that you have a constant supply of hormones.
Since most hormones are bound to protein, a blood test can check for a wider range of hormones. These include:
Most healthcare professionals rely on blood testing. Despite being invasive, it is the most versatile way to check different types of hormones.
With companies such as LetsGetChecked offering at-home blood tests for hormones, you can order tests online and have them delivered to your home.
Saliva testing is a non-invasive and relatively new alternative to blood tests. Studies show they can accurately measure a select number of hormones.
Its only drawback is its limited applications. After all, a salivary hormone test cannot check for as many hormones as a blood test.
At-home blood hormone testing is the best option if you want to check for:
It's also a great way to test for various diseases — including diabetes, prostate cancer, and PCOS.
You can use it to monitor hormone levels and test your fertility, especially when taking pills or injectable hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
Saliva testing works can help you monitor hormone levels while taking topical hormone therapy. Examples include HRT gels and creams.
As soon as your test results are ready, you can review them from the comfort of your home. We recommend discussing your results with a doctor. They can help you determine how to proceed.
A health professional may request additional tests to diagnose your condition. They might also suggest lifestyle changes and have you undergo treatment.
Hormone imbalance can be a sign of a serious medical condition. Hormone testing gives you the information you need to understand your hormones.
Get an at-home hormone test if: