This is a common question and a very important one. If you don't get this one right, you will waste your money, time and efforts. You need to count on getting accurate results and be able to have results that you can USE to Take Action to Make Things Right!
There are 4 different ways to test your hormones
1. Venous Blood (from your arm)
3. Blood Spot (from a finger stick)
Testing Kits: https://drkarenleggett.com/pages/types-of-testing
Ok! Let's do it - to it - and tackle this very important question!
1. Venous Blood:
Venous Blood measures the amount of hormones in your blood.
This is a problem all by itself - to start with! It is far more helpful to know the levels of your hormones INSIDE your tissues than to simply measure the amount of hormones floating around in your blood. The actual amount of hormones that your tissues have is GREATER than the amount measured in your blood! So BLOOD Testing can be dangerous for you in the hands of an Inexperienced physician.
Though EXPerienced Doctors can do a pretty good job adjusting your hormone treatment, they are using far more of their "experience" than they are using your Hormone Blood Lab results. And their experience is valuable, and costly, as it should be.
You see, Blood Labs have established reference ranges that make up 95% of the population. So this is a real problem for doctors who want to go beyond thinking on the nose on their face.
Lets examine what that statement means.
If 95% of the population fall within the reference ranges provided by Blood Labs, it means that only 5 % fall outside this reference range with 2.5% of the population having too high of levels and 2.5% of the population having too low of levels.
But Anti-Aging / Functional Medicine Physicians, AND Smart Savvy patients know these reference ranges are far too broad and include "normal" as essentially ZERO hormones present - because Blood Labs were set up to think completely conventionally - meaning after Menopause you may have essentially zero levels of a hormone so therefore that falls in the "Normal Reference Range" since every woman goes through menopause - it's normal!
When you have blood work done by a Conventional Doctor, you might even experience something like this:
"Your problems aren't coming from your hormones because SEE... your hormones are normal," as they show you the results of your BLOOD work.
What good is that?
Saliva measures the level of hormones that are most closely representing the level in your TISSUES. This is what we want.
Saliva isn't well known in the Conventional Doctor community though. And this can be very confusing to patients since their doctors tell them Saliva isn't the right form of testing. It can drive us Anti-Aging / Functional Medicine doctors bazzerk!
This is the method of Hormone Specialty Laboratories! Not a surprise. You won't find sex hormone saliva tests at Quest or Lab Corp. You will find Sex Hormone Saliva Tests at Specialty Hormone Lab companies - that primarily ONLY test hormones!
3. Blood Spot:
Blood spot is a fairy new way to test hormone levels that was designed by Specialty Hormone Labs and they are also quite accurate.
But the reason they are more accurate than Venous Blood is because the Specialty Hormone Labs recognize the proper Reference Ranges, and provide this with the results.
There is a second reason Blood Spot is more accurate than Venous Blood too.
When you get your blood drawn from your arm, the blood sits in a tube and what happens to the hormones is anyone's guess at that point. Some of the vials of blood make it to the lab within an hour, or less if you're lucky. Other's may take much longer.
As the blood sits in the tube, the levels of hormones can actually change by breaking down. This too can underestimate the real tissue levels you really have!
Blood Spot is a finger prick and dries very quickly. The blood is stabilized almost immediately and thus the level measured is the true level from that blood "spot."
Urine is actually a wonderful way to test hormones. These days there are even Urine Spots. Meaning you provide just a single urine sample that dries very quickly, again stabilizing the amount of hormones in that dried urine spot.
Urine can provide the most comprehensive testing, and include the metabolic breakdowns of your hormones too!
The biggest problem with Urine testing is that it is very expensive, our 400 dollars, and it requires one of us, an Anti-Aging / Functional medical doctor to interpret.
So that's the 4 types. And now you see why I am so PRO-Saliva. Blood spot is my second choice.