Frequently asked questions
- When does it make sense for me to do a salivary hormone test?
- I am taking the contraceptive pill. Does is it still make sense to do the hormone test?
- I am taking a hormonal compound – can I still do the test?
- Can my doctor carry out the test?
- What exactly do I receive after taking the test?
- Why do I have to pay a nominal fee in addition to the costs for the test?
- What happens if I change my mind? Can I cancel the order?
- Why do I have to take several samples in the mornings?
- Which factors can manipulate the results of my salivary test?
- How long does it take until I can expect my results?
- I have received the results. What now?
- If I am suffering from a hormonal imbalance, is it necessary to take a hormonal compound to correct a deficiency or excesses?
When does it make sense for me to do a salivary hormone test?
Our tests can be carried out in different situations. A salivary hormone test can provide information on the condition of you hormonal balance and whether your body is producing all hormones sufficiently. Especially when, for example, you are suffering from chronic fatigue, depression, blemished skin, thinning hair or hair loss, PMS, sleeping disorders or stress, or if you are not able to lose weight despite a healthy diet and sport or if you have the suspicion of coming close to or already being in the menopause, a salivary hormone test can be very informative, as hormonal imbalance is often the cause for these and other complaints.
Even if you have decided to level out a deficiency, for example by using other therapies, it is advisable, from time to time, to check if your dosage is set correctly and whether the treatment has had any effect. This is especially the case, if you having been using the same treatment for several years, due to the fact that the hormone production of the own body changes with increasing age; the therapy must be regularly adjusted accordingly.
I am taking the contraceptive pill. Does is it still make sense to do the hormone test?
Even if you are taking the contraceptive pill, a hormone test can be very informative. A salivary hormone test can answer the question, whether the prescribed pill is the right one for you or whether it is causing a deficiency or excess of certain hormones.
Many women take the same unsuitable pill over a number of years, without knowing that possible complaints may be associated with this pill. At the beginning, doctors tend to prescribe a pill which is known to be well-accepted by most women – just not all women. It is not until the complaints that arise are brought into association with the pill from the patient, that the doctor begins to adapt the hormonal composition of the prescribed compound, by prescribing a different type of pill. Without an exact hormone test the doctor can only combine the described complaints in order to determine which pill is most suitable. Many women work their way through a number of different pills until they find one that is right for them; even though every adjustment puts strain on the body. A specific adjustment with regard to your hormonal levels is much more effective. In this case, a salivary hormone test can be very helpful.
I am taking a hormonal compound – can I still do the test?I
Yes, the same applies here as with the contraceptive pill: A hormone test can provide information on whether the hormonal compound is being correctly dosed for your body, or whether it is possibly causing a deficiency or excess of the certain hormones. Particularly when taking hormonal compounds, it is advisable to check at regular intervals whether you dosage is still set correctly, as the hormone production of the own changes with increasing age.
Can my doctor carry out the test?
Theoretically, it is also possible for your general practitioner to carry out the hormone test. However, not every doctor offers salivary tests for hormonal determination. Normally if you request a hormone test, your doctor is likely to do a blood test. However, blood tests have quite a few disadvantages in comparison to salivary tests:
- A salivary test specifically analyses the hormones and not the proteins that are attached to them. These “free” hormones are actually available for the cells whereas the bound hormones are not usable by the cells. Blood tests measure both types of hormones in an undifferentiated manner, meaning that no information has been acquired on how large the proportion of the hormones is, that can actually be used by the cells.
- The blood is drawn from a vein using a needle, whereas the saliva is painlessly collected using a type of straw. If you find injections unpleasant, your body may also react to the forthcoming blood test by releasing the stress hormone cortisol. This inevitably causes the measuring of the cortisol levels to be manipulated.
- The samples for the salivary test can be easily collected at home, by yourself. This means that you do not have to rely on the opening hours of your general practitioner. Many hormones must be tested at certain times, due to the hormone production being exposed to fluctuations at different times of the day; thus a sample for the determination of the melatonin levels must be collected at 2 am in complete darkness. In the case of cortisol for example, the daily progression of the hormone levels is more accurate than a single sample; this means collecting several samples over the course of the day. All this is not possible for your general practitioner.
- Also in the case of other hormones that are not depicted in such a daily progress diagram, due to the fluctuations at different times of the day it makes sense to create an average value from several samples, rather than just a momentary insight of your hormone levels provided by a blood test.
What exactly do I receive after taking the test?
You will receive a report from us which includes your results. These are represented graphically, by using the coloured markings you can quickly determine whether your levels are within the reference range or whether they deviate. If your levels are deviant, the graph clearly shows in which direction your levels are deviating (too low, too high) and to which extent. Additionally, your measurement results are compared with the reference data. The reference data which is used for the tested parameters depends on your gender, age and the time of the saliva collection. Furthermore there are different reference fields for women depending on the phase of their cycle, the intake of hormonal compounds or contraceptives (the pill, coil), hysterectomy and menopause. In addition to your results we also explain the functions of the tested hormones, which symptoms are caused by a deficiency or excess. With the delivered results, your doctor or alternative practitioner can start the suitable therapy, in order to correct the level of your hormones if necessary.
Why do I have to pay a nominal fee in addition to the costs for the test?
The indicated costs for each hormone test refer to the hormonal analysis service – on the other hand, the nominal fee of £10 covers the cost of materials for the test kit and the processing costs that occur through the acceptance of your order and the sending of the test kit.
The costs for the hormone analysis are only to be paid when you have received the test kit. This is one of our services for the case that you change your mind about the hormone test after receiving the test kit – in this case we will, of course, not charge you with the costs for the analysis. We only keep the nominal fee of £10 to cover the costs incurred up until that point.
What happens if I change my mind? Can I cancel the order?
If you change your mind about doing the salivary hormone test after having placed your order, you are only charged with a nominal fee of £10 - this covers the processing and material costs. Please inform us via e-mail, fax or letter if you would like to cancel you order.
Why do I have to take several samples in the mornings?
The pituitary gland in the forebrain (die “hormone control centre”) has a direct and indirect influence on our endocrine (hormone) system, by pulsatively releasing certain hormones. This means that our hormones are not distributed in a consistent manner, but rather in larger amounts over the course of the day, every 1 to 3 hours. Due to this, the hormones are subject to fluctuations at different day times, so that it makes sense to mix several samples from one “distribution period” in order to determine an average value.
Which factors can manipulate the results of my salivary test?
The following factors can have an influence on hormone levels and the results of the salivary hormone test:
Bleeding gums, gum infections or wounds in the mouth can lead to small amounts of blood being mixed with the saliva sample. This is problematic because the hormones in the blood have an up to 100 times higher concentration than those in the saliva, and even the smallest amount of blood leads to the results showing a much too high hormone level. Therefore, it is important to examine the saliva sample for any red colouring. If a red colouring can be seen then the sample must be discarded. The mouth as well as the collection container must be washed twice, thoroughly with water. After 10 to 15 minutes a new sample can be collected. In the case of constantly bleeding gums a time must be chose when a distortion can be excluded.
Food products and supplements containing hormones
Food products that contain hormones can have an influence on the measured results, especially if there are still traces left in the mouth that can lead to the measurement of falsely high levels. Therefore, the mouth should be rinsed after the consumption of the food products, and before the saliva collection, or you can refrain from eating these food products on the day of the saliva collection. Food products that contain hormones are e.g. milk and egg products, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage), cucumbers. In addition, compounds with soya lecithin or isoflavone compounds can have an influence on the estradiol levels.
Hormones as well as hormonal compounds have an influence on the measured hormone levels. Many women use contraceptives in the form of hormones. These include not only the contraceptive pill, but also hormone plasters, ring, coil, depot injections and rods. The hormones can be administered in various dosage forms, for example capsules, tablets, gels, creams, pastilles or drops. Already two to five days before the saliva collection all sublingual hormones such as drops, pastilles, etc. should only be taken with water, without leaving any remnants in the mouth. Also hormone gels and creams should no longer be used 48 hours before the sample collection. 12 to 24 hours before the sample collection, hormonal compounds such as tablets and capsules should no longer be taken; but not the contraceptive pill. If the hormone gels and creams are to be rubbed in by hand then the active substance can stay on the hands for a while before it is absorbed. In addition, the rest of the active substance is then transferred to other objects (bed linen, clothes, etc.) and people (partner, children, when shaking hands) by touch. Therefore, it is important to always wash your hands after applying hormone gels or creams. In such a case it is important for the sample collection to wash your hands with soap and if possible to wear disposable gloves. Otherwise there is a risk of obtaining falsified high levels as the result.
Vigorous physical activities of any kind (physically strenuous jobs, weightlifting and other sports, even garden work) quickly increase the distribution of testosterone. Due to this, it makes sense to refrain from doing any strenuous activities one day before the saliva collection, ultimately avoiding a manipulation of the results.
How long does it take until I can expect my results?
From the moment of the receipt of your samples it can take between 5 and 15 days until you receive your results. The determination of the melatonin levels is much more complex and can therefore take up to 3 to 4 weeks.
I have received the results. What now?
Apart from the results we will also send you information about the effect of the tested hormones and the symptoms cause by a deficiency or excess. Apart from that, you will also receive a few tips to help increase your well-being. Additionally your doctor can expertly interpret the results and specifically with your help find a solution for your complaints.
If I am suffering from a hormonal imbalance, is it necessary to take a hormonal compound to correct a deficiency or excesses?
No, not necessarily. It is your choice if you wish to correct the hormonal deficiency or excess. Apart from the hormone substitute therapy with bioidentical hormones (hormones that are accepted by the own body) which can be initiated your doctor, there are also other treatment methods available. It is important to choose the method that your are most comfortable with. In the case of a light hormonal deficiency/excess it can already help to try a gentle correctional method. However, if the symptoms do not cease or the hormonal deficiency/excess is strongly pronounced you should definitely ask your doctor for advice.
Depending on what is convenient for you there are many different approaches to choose from – the following is an alphabetically sorted list*:
Ayurvedic or traditional chinese medicine
Both the ayurvedic as well as the traditional chinese medicine (TCM) have various methods to bring the hormone levels back in balance. Discuss your hormone test results with an ayurveda or TCM specialised doctor or alternative practitioner.
The treatment with bioidentical hormones involves specifically supplying the body with whatever it is lacking. It is important to understand that bioidentical hormones such as those found in the contraceptive pill have a different molecular structure than the hormones produced by the body – therefore this can cause side effects as the react differently than the hormones produced by the body. Bioidentical hormones, however, comply with the exact structure of the hormones of the body and can be recognised as such by the own cells.
The bioresonance therapy, BRT in short or also know as the MORA therapy, works with electromagnetic oscillations which are led straight into the body, for more information please consult with a specialist.
The craniosacral therapy was developed from osteopathy. By touching specific areas the energy flow of the body should be corrected and the self-healing properties of the body are activated.
What we eat affects our hormonal balance. Certain hormones, pre-hormones as well other components important for the production of hormones (e.g. Amino acids, vitamins) are included in food products. We rely on a correct diet because our body can not produce some of the important components. If you know what your body is lacking or containing too much, then you can adjust your diet to suit. If you are still unsure about any points after receiving your results, please talk to your doctor or a nutritional adviser to inform yourself about which food products you should be consuming more, or less from.
There are different homeopathic substances available at pharmacies which can help the body to produce the missing hormones by itself. For more information please talk to your pharmacist or a specialised practitioner.
There are many plants which have been proven to stimulate the production of certain hormones; if you know which hormone deficiency you are suffering from then you can correct the hormonal balance using dragees or herbal teas available at you pharmacy.
Orthomolecular medicine especially uses vitamins and minerals to regulate a biochemical imbalance of the body. A specialist can offer more information if you should decide on using this method.
Athletic activities can also have an influence on the hormonal balance. For example, physical effort increases the testosterone and cortisol levels for a short period of time. This can be specifically used to manipulate your hormone levels.
*This is only a list of the different treatment options. Neither the order nor the listing of the treatments represent an encouragement or evaluation in general of the methods of treatment stated above.