The current standard for hormone level testing is a blood test.
This test measures the amount of hormones that are protein bound in the blood. Biologically active hormones in the body are not protein bound. This raises the question: if blood tests only measure hormones that are protein bound and biologically active hormones are not protein bound – why are we still relying on blood tests to measure active hormone levels? Saliva hormone testing offers an accurate alternative to traditional blood tests and has been the standard of the World Health Organization for years.
Saliva testing is quicker, less expensive, and less painful than blood tests, and is a reliable way for you or your doctor to measure hormone levels and test for hormone deficiencies. Most saliva test kits require a minimum of two or more hormones to be tested. Testing for five hormones, progesterone, estradiol, DHEA, testosterone and coritsol, is optimum. If you wish only to test for the minimum number of hormones, we recommend you test for estradiol and progesterone.
(We also provide blood hormone tests wherever needed or requested).
Timing of when to take a saliva sample for testing is crucial.
- For menstruating women, the test needs to be performed in the luteal phase (the later half of the menstrual cycle). In a normal 28-day menstrual cycle, this is usually about one week before the menstrual period, or days 19-21 of the cycle, counting the first day of your menses as day #1 of the cycle.
- Women taking hormones should be tested towards the end of a hormone treatment cycle.
- Men and Postmenopausal women not taking hormones can take the test at any time during the month.
A quick note
If you are supplementing with non-protein bound biologically active hormones it may take several weeks for this to show up on a blood test. Saliva hormone testing is able to record changes in hormone levels as quickly as they occur. For example: a saliva hormone test is able to detect changes to progesterone levels within hours of using transdermal natural progesterone.