Find out how the DUTCH test compares to other hormonal imbalance tests
You might think your hormones – and all the side effects they can cause – are just something you have to deal with.
That feeling irritable, fatigued and bloated is normal, and that gaining weight is an inevitable part of the aging process.
But what many people don’t realize is that these symptoms (and more) could actually be signs of a hormonal imbalance – a problem one study found could affect nearly half of all Americans.
There are many effective treatments available to help get your hormones back in sync – and advances in testing technology mean it’s easier than ever to see if there’s a problem you need to address.
In particular, the DUTCH hormone test is a comprehensive and convenient approach that measures 35 different hormones and more, so you get your complete hormonal picture.
In this article, we explore three ways women can test for hormonal imbalances – and why the DUTCH test could be the missing piece to solving your hormonal health puzzle.Your hormones naturally change as you age, but that doesn’t mean you have to suffer #hormones #labtesting #health #wellness Click To Tweet
Hormones are powerful chemical messengers that are responsible for coordinating almost all of the body’s processes, including your metabolism, growth and reproduction.
They move around your body in your bloodstream, which is why blood tests are one of the most common ways to check for a hormonal imbalance.
In particular, blood tests are often used to measure the levels of women’s three key sex hormones: estrogen (primarily estradiol), progesterone and testosterone.
While it’s normal for these hormones to fluctuate at different points of a woman’s menstrual cycle, it’s easy for them to get out of balance. This can result in a wide range of symptoms, from weight gain, hot flashes and insomnia, to headaches, low libido and depression.
Hormonal imbalances are particularly common as women approach menopause – when their estrogen levels start declining rapidly – and can also be caused by an underlying (and perhaps undiagnosed) health problem like diabetes or an underactive or overactive thyroid.
Chronic stress can also significantly affect your hormones, which is why cortisol – the so-called ‘stress hormone’ – is often included in blood tests to give you a more complete hormonal picture.
What a blood test can’t tell you, however, is how well your sex hormones are being metabolized – that is, how effective your body is in breaking them down.
This is important, because some researchers believe there may be a link between the way women’s bodies break down estrogen and their risk of developing breast cancer.
What’s more, a blood test only gives a snapshot of your hormones at a particular point in time. This means it may not be the best option if you want to monitor changes in your hormone levels over a whole day, for example.Blood tests can be used to check hormone levels, but they only give a snapshot at a particular point in time #hormones #labtesting #health #wellness Click To Tweet
While the idea of spitting into a tube may not be appealing, saliva tests are a good option for women who want to get an even deeper look at their hormones.
That’s because unlike blood tests, which look at your total hormone levels, saliva tests specifically test your free hormone levels – that is, how much is immediately available to be used by your body.
This can give you a much clearer picture about how your hormones are functioning, especially if your total level of a particular hormone is low.
Because saliva tests can be taken multiple times throughout the day, they’re also useful for measuring your daily free cortisol pattern (also known as your diurnal rhythm).
Cortisol levels are normally highest in the morning and then gradually decline throughout the day, and changes to this pattern can indicate you may be chronically stressed or have an underlying health problem that needs to be addressed.
While saliva testing has specific advantages compared to blood testing, it does have its drawbacks.
For example, hormones are found in much lower concentrations in saliva compared to blood and urine, which can affect the accuracy of the results.
Saliva tests are also affected by topical and oral hormone usage. This means if you’re using hormone supplements or hormone replacement therapy, saliva tests may not be the best option for you.
DUTCH hormone test
The DUTCH hormone test stands for Dried Urine Test for Comprehensive Hormones – and as its name suggests, it’s one of the most comprehensive tests available to assess women’s hormones.
As well as checking levels of 35 hormones including all three estrogens (estrone, estradiol and estriol), progesterone, testosterone and DHEA-S (a major precurser for sex hormones), the DUTCH test also measures their metabolites, giving a much clearer picture of how these hormones are being used by the body.
Like the saliva test, the DUTCH test can also be used to measure your daily free cortisol pattern. This gives it a distinct advantage over the traditional 24-hour urine test and negates the need for an additional saliva test.
The DUTCH test is superior to the saliva test, however, in that it also measures cortisol metabolites.
This, together with the measurement of other key hormones like adrenaline and melatonin (a key hormone in the sleep-wake cycle that can decrease as you age), gives a much more complete picture of your adrenal function and overall hormonal health than was previously possible.
It’s worth noting however that the DUTCH test doesn’t measure your thyroid hormones. If you or your physician are concerned about your thyroid, you’ll need a separate blood test.
Hormones play a key role in almost all the body’s processes, and even small changes can have a big impact on your health.
Women are particularly susceptible to hormonal imbalances at certain times of their lives, but that doesn’t mean they have to just ‘live with it’.
In fact, there are many options today to help women get their hormones back in sync – but first you need to know what the underlying problems are.
Each hormonal imbalance test has its pros and cons, but if you want to get a deep understanding of your hormonal health, the DUTCH hormone test delivers the most ‘bang for your buck’.
And, once you have this information, you’ll be able to work with your health-care team to devise a treatment plan that’s specifically tailored to you.Each hormone test has pros and cons, but the DUTCH hormone test delivers the most ‘bang for your buck’ #hormones #labtesting #health #wellness Click To Tweet