Salivary Hormone Testing
Salivary Hormone Testing is a simple, non-invasive and effective way to test for hormone levels in men and women.
Standard blood hormone tests measure the total amount circulating in the blood, however this does not always give an accurate representation of hormones available to tissues. For this reason, hormone therapy prescriptions based on blood tests are often overestimated, potentially leading to unwanted side effects.
By assessing hormones in saliva, we are able to get an accurate measurement of the hormones that are available to bind to cells of the body, that is, those hormones that are not bound to proteins. This is because hormones must pass through the salivary gland to get into the saliva. In other words, blood measures hormones that may eventually reach the tissues whereas saliva measures hormones that are actually reaching the tissues.
There are several options for salivary hormone panels:
1) Female Panel – measures Estradiol, Progesterone, Testosterone, Cortisol and DHEA-S. This test is useful to assess imbalances in female hormones that may be leading to symptoms such as irregular menstruation, changes in libido or menopausal symptoms. For a pre-menopausal woman, the best time to check hormone levels is approximately 1 week before menstruation, or approximately day 21 of your cycle. Post menopausal women are not subject to the same ups and downs in monthly hormone levels and may be assessed at any time.
2) Male Panel – measures Testosterone, Estradiol, Cortisol and DHEA-S. This panel can be used to detect hormone imbalances in men who suffer from symptoms such as low energy, decreased libido, loss of muscle mass, enlarged prostate (BPH) or enlarged breasts.
3) Adrenal Panel – Measures DHEA-S and Cortisol levels at 4 points throughout the day. This test is a good way to assess adrenal function and the capacity of a person’s ability to respond to stress.
When a person is exposed to repeated or prolonged stress, the adrenal glands first respond by going into what is known as adrenal resistance. The body produces higher amounts of cortisol to help the body adapt to stress. This leads to typical symptoms of anxiety, insomnia and feeling “tired but wired”.
If left uncorrected, adrenal resistance may eventually lead to adrenal exhaustion. At this point the body becomes unable to mount an appropriate response to stressors. The adrenal glands become depleted and cortisol levels are reduced along with other adrenal hormones such as aldosterone, and DHEA. People suffering from adrenal exhaustion may experience low blood pressure, dehydration, low blood sugar, depression, decreased libido, and fatigue, especially early morning fatigue.