Hormone Tests

HOW TO ORDER LAB TESTS….

You can view details, sample reports, collection instructions and order all tests mentioned via
Regenerus (RG),
Medichecks (MC),
Invivo, (IV, use code BO2QKE_890 when prompted when registering)
Genova (G, use code A42RS when prompted during the order process)
Biological Testing Services (BTS, email and give my name Micki Rose).

Use the search facility at each lab to find the test I’ve mentioned. Please direct all questions on doing tests, shipping, payment and getting results etc to the lab, thanks. Medichecks includes phlebotomy, Regenerus, Invivo and Genova have lists of phlebotomy clinics where you can get blood samples taken. For help before ordering or with results afterwards, see Support options here.

Unsure if you need a Hormone Test?

Check out these factsheets and see if anything resonates with you: Oestrogen Dominance, PMS, Menopause, Men’s Health.

Testing Summary

There are simply loads of different hormone tests you can do and it really depends what you are looking to find out. To be honest, I am going to make this easy for us and recommend only a couple. What we want is useable, practical information to help see what is going on in this complex area of hormones. For both women and men, the best test, by far, is the DUTCH Complete Plus (RG). You can do other versions of the DUTCH including the standard DUTCH Complete (RG) or DUTCH Complete with Mapping (RG), see the differences below. Alternatively: for women, choose the Genova Rhythm (G) or Rhythm Plus (G) and for men: Male Hormonal Health (G), which includes a PSA check.

The DUTCH Test

Put simply, I think you get a great deal of information with this test, plus it’s simple to do as it uses dried urine.

It can be done by people with irregular cycles, on HRT, the pill etc and by men. It covers everything we’re likely to need to know clinically to help you get well, including adrenals and the metabolites (you can read more about that here on the Adrenal Tests page), sex hormones (oestrogen, progesterone, testosterone) and their metabolites, a monthly cycle (in the Cycle Mapping one,) clues on methylation, oestrogen dominance (important for women and men), oestrogen breakdown, androgen and DHEA issues, liver phase 1 and 2 clearance, organic acid markers for B12, B6 and glutathione deficiency, an oxidative stress check and three key markers for mood issues, fatigue and hypersensitivity.

It’s more cost up front, I’ll grant you, but much better value in the long run. The only downside is the complexity of the reports!

You can learn all about the DUTCH tests on their site here. And see the various sample reports here.

The DUTCH Complete checks adrenals, sex hormones (oestrogen, progesterone, androgens inc testosterone and DHEA), plus all the other markers as described above.

The DUTCH Complete with cycle mapping checks all of that plus a monthly cycle pattern of the oestrogen and progesterone for women having cycles.

The DUTCH Plus is the Complete using saliva samples – which I think is better, hence it’s my fave – plus CAR (cortisol awakening response) that can sometimes show a developing adrenal problem even if the normal cortisol samples look OK. I think this is the best.

Here are the DUTCH Collection Instructions as a PDF and here is a series of videos if you are more complex cycle-wise or on meds/supplements. If your cycles are long, short or irregular, see the extra guidelines hereIf you are on HRT, check if the DUTCH is viable or not for you here; it depends on the form you are taking. Note the Mirena coil contains synthetic progesterone which is not detected by the DUTCH tests; everything else is tested fine but don’t rely on it to show progesterone correctly.

Samples are returned to the UK lab and drop-shipped to the US for you. Any questions, check the DUTCH website, their FAQ is very useful.

Note that if you mess up your samples, a new test kit costs a further amount – about £12 currently – so just be aware of that.

The One Day Hormone Test

An alternative, slightly cheaper option for a salivary adrenal and hormone test is the Genova One Day Hormone Check (G). This a urine test that measures the usual 4 cortisols and DHEA for adrenals, plus a snapshot of oestrogen, progesterone, the ratio between them (for oestrogen dominance) and testosterone.

Just bear in mind that when you take your sample matters for women – to interpret the results, you need to know roughly which phase you are in ie. luteal (Day 15- 28 usually) or follicular (day 1-13 usually). Ovulation occurs on Day 14 roughly. These timings vary a lot so use them as guidelines only!

You can do a much simpler One Day Progesterone/Oestradiol Test (G) if you need to. This can be useful if you just need a snapshot eg. to check hormone treatment progress or check luteal phase hormone production, or if you are no longer having periods.

You can get much more complex tests including Hormonal Health (G), which measures levels in blood and is particularly useful for PCOS and others needing to see free androgens, SHBG etc.

Oestrogen Metabolism

How we are metabolising oestrogens is vital. Read the Oestrogen Dominance factsheet here. If oestrogens are not being metabolised down well enough, it leaves us at risk of oestrogen-sensitive illnesses such as breast and prostate cancers.

If all you want is to check is for oestrogen dominance, use the One Day Progesterone/Oestradiol (G) test. If you want to see the levels of the good and bad oestrogens to assess cancer risk, for example, you would do the Oestrogen Metabolism Test (G). This is included in the DUTCH tests.

Cycle Mapping

Sometimes women might need to see what’s happening throughout the month. It might be to see when they are likely ovulating or when their hormone symptoms are at their worst – do the symptom timings correspond with a surge or drop somewhere you could target?

The DUTCH Test with Cycle Mapping (RG) will do this for you, as will the Rhythm (G) – hormones only – or the Rhythm Plus (G), which includes adrenals as well as hormones.

Both give you some useful graphs – I find looking at those can help you to see past the numbers and compare where the peaks and troughs should be and where yours are.

Why is it useful to test adrenals as well?

Including adrenals can be very useful because they are partly responsible for the production of the sex hormones, especially as we get older (take note pre-menopausal women) so, if the hormone levels are struggling, it is often because the adrenal output is too low or dysfunctional somewhere, if you see what I mean. Correcting the adrenals and HPA axis generally improves oestrogen and progesterone levels and is usually where I would start with poor hormone levels, especially if you are over 40.

Also, the adrenal test will check DHEA levels too which has a direct impact on progesterone and testosterone production. So, if your DHEA was high, this could explain why you are progesterone dominant or producing a lot of male hormone. Obviously, it all gets a lot more complex than that – this is hormones after all! – but you get the general gist.

For women no longer having periods

I would say the the DUTCH Complete test above, which includes a check of the good and bad oestrogen ratios for risk of hormonal cancers like breast or ovarian, for example, would be a great choice, as would Menopause Plus Profile (G). I encourage everyone past menopause to have it.

Combine that preferably with a Bone Resorption/Osteoporosis Risk Assessment (G) to see if you are breaking down bone faster than you should be (this shows problems much earlier than a DEXA scan). I truly wish more people would do this test!

Male Hormones

For men, things are a lot simpler (as always with hormones!). Again, do the DUTCH Complete. This includes DHEA, which is so important for men as it is the pre-cursor for making testosterone and male hormones in general. Ergo: if DHEA and testosterone are low, you have your answer – boost the DHEA, or in more complex cases, see what else might be going on.

Alternatively, you can simply do a Testosterone Test (G) – this can be used for women too, of course. I prefer the DUTCH here, though, because we can see what’s happening to the testosterone you do have – is it going down the androgenic 5-alpha pathway or the less active pathway?

In addition, there is the very useful Male Hormonal Health blood test which includes a PSA and SHBG check.

Told you: simpler!

Adding Neurotransmitters

Sometimes it can be useful to see what your levels of the brain neurotransmitters are with hormones eg. serotonin for PMDD, PMS with mood issues or adrenaline or GABA for anxiety etc.

The best test here is the Neuro Hormone Complete Plus (RG), which includes adrenals, key hormones and the main neurotransmitters. If doing the DUTCH Complete, use the Neurotransmitter Basic (RG) or the more advanced Neuro Biogenic Amines (RG).

Phew: that’s a lot of info and choices I know, sorry; I’m trying to cover all bases here! Just have a good look through the various tests I’ve highlighted – and others I haven’t – and see what test gives you the information you need. I’ve tried to choose tests that give you good reports to help you see what the results mean too!

HOW TO ORDER LAB TESTS….

You can view details, sample reports, collection instructions and order all tests mentioned via
Regenerus (RG),
Medichecks (MC),
Invivo, (IV, use code BO2QKE_890 when prompted when registering)
Genova (G, use code A42RS when prompted during the order process)
Biological Testing Services (BTS, email and give my name Micki Rose).

Use the search facility at each lab to find the test I’ve mentioned. Please direct all questions on doing tests, shipping, payment and getting results etc to the lab, thanks. Medichecks includes phlebotomy, Regenerus, Invivo and Genova have lists of phlebotomy clinics where you can get blood samples taken. For help before ordering or with results afterwards, see Support options here.

Testing Summary

There are simply loads of different hormone tests you can do and it really depends what you are looking to find out. To be honest, I am going to make this easy for us and recommend only a couple. What we want is useable, practical information to help see what is going on in this complex area of hormones. For both women and men, the best test, by far, is the DUTCH Complete Plus (RG). You can do other versions of the DUTCH including the standard DUTCH Complete (RG) or DUTCH Complete with Mapping (RG), see the differences below. Alternatively: for women, choose the Genova Rhythm (G) or Rhythm Plus (G) and for men: Male Hormonal Health (G), which includes a PSA check.

Testing Tips…

Check above for all the various links for help on the DUTCH tests.

Genova has a Guide to which samples are best for which hormones here.

If you have erratic cycles or find it difficult to track your cycle/see when you’re in the luteal phase – the best time to test if having periods – try using ovulation sticks. They don’t have to be the fancy digital ones. Use one a day. Count seven days after the paper first changes colour and do your test then – that’s when you will be in the luteal phase. Clever huh? The lab taught me that one 🙂