By Zoom Heaton, RPh., CDCES, ABAAHP, FAAMFM
Clinical Liaison – Women’s Health
Hormone testing plays a crucial role in diagnosing and managing various health conditions. Accurate hormone levels provide insights into the functioning of the endocrine system, helping healthcare professionals make informed decisions regarding treatment options. With multiple types of hormones testing available, it is essential to understand the importance of testing methods and how each one is validated for reliable results.
Got questions about hormones, hormone testing, or women's health? You can schedule a one-on-one with pharmacist Zoom Heaton through out ConsultRx website — click here for more info.
Blood testing is one of the most common methods used to measure hormone levels. It involves drawing a blood sample and analyzing it in a laboratory. This method provides accurate measurements of hormones circulating in the bloodstream, allowing for comprehensive evaluation.
Rissin et al., J Emerg Technol's Health Inform. (2017), Blood-Based Assay Approaches for the Detection of Clinically Relevant Analytes.
Saliva testing measures the level of unbound, biologically active hormones that have entered saliva through the salivary glands. This method is convenient, non-invasive, and can provide insight into free hormone concentrations, which may better reflect hormone bioavailability.
Gröschl M., Frontiers in Neuroendocrinol (2006), Current Methods in Biomarker Discovery and Analysis.
Urine testing measures hormone metabolites excreted in the urine, providing information about hormone levels and metabolism. This method can provide a comprehensive analysis of hormone production, clearance, and metabolism.
Belanger et al., Environ Health Perspect (2009), Monitoring Human Exposure to Estrogens and Estrogenic Chemicals.
Blood Spot Testing
Blood spot testing involves collecting a blood droplet from a finger prick onto a designated card or strip. This method offers convenience and ease of sample collection, making it suitable for home testing.
Wilhelm et al., PLoS One (2011), Monitoring of Salivary Cortisol with a Simple Sampling Device Gives Reliable Results in Various Settings.
Get the best supplements to support your health
Check out some of the top-of-the-line women's health supplements you can find at Pharmacist Formulations. These don't just have the active ingredients — they're pharmacist-produced and meet the best quality and standardized ingredient sourcing, cGMP manufacturing, correct parts of herbals, quality assurance testing, and dosing.
Here's a sampling:
Accurate hormone testing is vital for an optimal understanding of hormone balance in the body. Whether it's blood, saliva, urine, or spot testing, each method offers unique advantages and considerations. However, it is crucial to ensure the validity and reliability of the testing method through appropriate validation measures, standardization, and adherence to quality control practices.
The most common hormonal tests requested are usually related to fertility, menopause and other changes women go through, as well as seeking answers to various symptoms. Some common hormones recommended for testing include estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA/DHEAS, FSH, LH, cortisol, thyroid hormones, TBG, SHBG and melatonin.
Hormone testing is at the heart of diagnosing and managing various health conditions. However, despite its importance, there exists a significant level of controversy surrounding hormone testing. The disagreements primarily stem from different perspectives held by conventional medicine practitioners and those in the emerging field of functional medicine.
Conventional practitioners usually rely on evidence-based research to interpret hormone test results and base treatment decisions on established medical standards. They focus on using hormone testing for diagnosing specific conditions and implementing evidence-based treatments. Functional medicine takes a patient-centered, holistic approach to healthcare, emphasizing identifying and addressing the root causes of illness. In functional medicine, hormone testing is often used in a broader context to evaluate multiple hormone imbalances across different systems in the body. This perspective emphasizes the importance of optimal hormone balance for overall wellness and aims to achieve personalized treatment plans. Functional practitioners may prefer additional testing methods, such as saliva or urine testing, to assess hormone levels more accurately.