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Saliva Hormone Test

Updated on December 8, 2021
Written by
Kelly Jamrozy
2 sources cited
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The Saliva Hormone Test

An at-home saliva hormone test helps you understand more about your hormones. It can tell if you have hormonal balance. But are they effective?

Before using a test kit, it’s important to understand how these tests work.

Saliva tests are a non-invasive and convenient way to test hormones. All you need to do is spit into a plastic tube and submit the sample to the testing company.

Hormone testing measures the levels of:

  • Androgen
  • Cortisol
  • Estrogen
  • Progesterone

These tests are easy to use and affordable. They offer a way to understand more about your body right from the privacy of your own home.

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LetsGetChecked

Our Favorite Male Hormone Test

What the Saliva Hormone Test Can Tell You about Your Health

Learning more about your hormones helps you understand more about your health.

Hormones are chemical substances produced and excreted by the body’s endocrine system. These chemicals travel through the bloodstream and regulate the activity of various organs and cells in your body.

Why is a Saliva Sample Effective for Testing Hormones?

Saliva offers a variable and complex look into what’s going on in the body.

It is produced by the salivary glands and the buccal glands. It includes liquid that leaks from the gums, as well as blood, which contains hormones.

Saliva testing provides an accurate assessment of various hormone balances, including:

  • Sex hormones
  • Thyroid hormones
  • Stress hormones

These tests determine whether your body’s hormones are balanced.

Once you identify an imbalance, it’s important to know the cause and find ways to return to homeostasis.

The most common causes of hormone fluctuations are:

  • Environmental exposure
  • Lifestyle choices
  • Medication
  • Disease

Saliva testing is a great way to begin your assessment of your hormonal balance.

A test kit is not going to give you all of the information you need to master your hormones. It might not be as accurate as a blood test. However, it’s a great jump-off point. A saliva test kit can provide general information you’d get in a hormone panel.

The test measures various hormone levels and tells you where there are imbalances. You’ll recognize problems and make lifestyle adjustments or seek treatment based on that information.

Sex Hormones

Assessing sex hormones is one of the primary reasons people use at-home saliva testing.

Sex hormones are an important factor in a person’s sexual development and ability to reproduce.

Additionally, sex hormones affect:

  • Inflammation
  • Hair growth
  • Cholesterol levels
  • Body fat distribution

Your sex hormones fluctuate throughout your life. If you’ve taken a saliva test before and you notice a difference in subsequent tests, you shouldn’t panic. However, it’s important to understand the fluctuations and know what causes them.

The most common reasons for changes in sex hormones include:

  • Aging
  • Menstruation
  • Menopause
  • Medication
  • Stress

Men and women have different sex hormones. The adrenal glands, the ovaries, and the placenta release female sex hormones when a woman is pregnant.

They include:

  • Estrogen
  • Progesterone
  • Small amounts of testosterone

Estrogen is responsible for sexual and reproductive development during adolescence.

Progesterone stabilizes the menstrual cycle and prepares the body for pregnancy.

Testosterone affects fertility, menstruation, and tissue and bone mass.

The only male sex hormone is testosterone. It plays a role in sexual development and reproduction. Testosterone is an androgen or steroid. It’s mostly produced in the testes with a small amount produced by the adrenal glands.

The hypothalamus and pituitary gland control testosterone production. It is responsible for the development of male sex organs during birth. It plays a part in the development of secondary sexual characteristics during puberty.

The testosterone levels gradually decrease with age. It results in:

  • Impotence
  • Low sperm count
  • Shrunken testes
  • Depression
  • Irritability

By submitting a saliva sample via a test kit, you can assess the balance of sex hormones. you can also determine if hormone replacement or hormone therapy is needed.

Stress Hormones

Stress activates your endocrine system. Stressful situations trigger the release of certain hormones. This creates a chain reaction that alters your body’s functioning.

The three main stress hormones include:

Cortisol

The body produces this hormone during anything perceived as an emergency.

It helps you deal with the situation appropriately. It is the body’s way of responding quickly and effectively.

When things are normal, your body uses about 90 percent of its energy for metabolic activities. This is when cells and tissue is repaired and renewed. But when you’re in stressful situations, the body’s energy focuses on releasing glucose into the blood. This paralyzes recovery and renewal.

The release of cortisol when facing an emergency is normal. Once the situation passes, your body returns to normal, too. The problem occurs when there is chronic stress.

When cortisol levels are consistently elevated in response, symptoms include:

  • Irritability
  • Constant fatigue
  • No sense of humor
  • Heart palpitations
  • Headaches
  • Muscle cramps
  • Digestive problems
  • Lack of appetite
Glucagon

Glucagon is another stress hormone.

It’s synthesized in the pancreas and plays a role in the metabolizing of carbohydrates. It causes the liver to release glucose when needed during stressful situations or when glucose levels in the body drop. This is a common issue for diabetics.

Prolactin

The pituitary gland secretes prolactin.

It plays a role in lactation. If it’s released in unhealthy amounts, it interferes with sex drive and the menstrual cycle.

A saliva test helps you assess your stress hormones and determine if there is a problem. Hormone replacement or hormone therapy is rarely needed. Most of the time, saliva tests reveal elevated stress hormone levels and they need to be reduced.

Thyroid Hormones

The thyroid gland also plays an important role in the production and release of thyroid hormones. It’s an essential part of the endocrine system that’s located in the front of the neck.

There are two thyroid hormones:

Thyroxine (T4)

Thyroxine (T4) production is regulated by the hypothalamus and pituitary gland.

The body signals the hypothalamus to release thyrotropin-releasing hormone. It stimulates the pituitary gland to release the thyroid-stimulating hormone.

Triiodothyronine (T3)

Triiodothyronine (T3) maintains brain function, muscle control, and heart and digestive functions.

It also affects the metabolic rate and bone health.

T3 and T4 are responsible for the regulation of:

  • Weight
  • Energy levels
  • Body temperature
  • Hair, nail, and skin growth

Thyrotoxicosis is a condition that occurs when someone has too much T3 in their bloodstream. It usually results from an overactive thyroid gland, also known as hyperthyroidism.

Hyperthyroidism is common when the thyroid is inflamed, there is a benign tumor, or someone has Graves’ disease. 

Symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:

  • Weight loss
  • Heart palpitations
  • Increased appetite
  • Irregular menstrual cycle
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Thinning hair

Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland is underactive. Some causes are:

  • Certain medications
  • Hashimoto’s disease
  • Pituitary inflammation
  • Pituitary tumors

Symptoms of hypothyroidism include:

  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Weight gain
  • Dry skin
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Constipation
  • Feeling cold

Issues with your thyroid hormones require medical attention. Using a saliva test helps identify an imbalance. However, you’ll need to work with a doctor to correct the problem. Left untreated, thyroid hormone issues can lead to serious medical concerns.

Your saliva test results are a starting point for figuring out why you aren’t feeling your best. Your doctor will administer a blood test and hormone panel to confirm the results. This measures the amount of thyroid hormone in your blood.

Hormone replacement therapy helps improve thyroid function.

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EverlyWell

Our Favorite Female Hormone Test

The Results of Your Saliva Hormone Test

At-home saliva hormone tests are an effective way to test hormone levels.

They are a jump-off point for dealing with health issues. They allow you to assess your situation in the privacy of your own home. You can review your results with your doctor and determine how to proceed.

Hormone testing helps you assess your overall health. It gives you a foundation on which to improve things and make lifestyle changes. But you should discuss your results with your doctor.

Imbalanced hormone levels can be a sign of a serious medical condition. A saliva hormone test gives you information you can use to better understand your hormone balance.

Get a saliva hormone test if:

  • You don’t feel your best
  • You have concerns about thyroid function
  • You feel foggy, weak, or tired
  • You believe you might have a serious health problem

Resources

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  1. Cleveland Clinic. “Endocrine System: What Is It, Functions & Organs.” Cleveland Clinic, 2020, my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/21201-endocrine-system.
  2. Hiller-Sturmhöfel, S, and A Bartke. “The Endocrine System: An Overview.” Alcohol Health and Research World, vol. 22, no. 3, 1998, pp. 153–64, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6761896/.
Kelly Jamrozy
Content Contributor
Kelly has experience working with clients in a variety of industries, including legal, medical, marketing, and travel. Her goal is to share important information that people can use to make decisions about their health and the health of their loved ones. From choosing the best treatment programs to improving dental and vision health to finding the best method for helping anyone who is struggling with health issues, she hopes to share what she learns through informative content.
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