Saliva vs. Blood Serum in Hormonal Imbalance Testing
When a hormonal imbalance occurs, several changes happen in the body that can affect your way of life; fertility is just one of many changes.
• Breast tenderness
• Irregular periods
• Vaginal dryness
• Night sweats
• Declining libido
• Hair loss or hair growth in unwanted areas
• Water retention
• Increased body temp
If you have at least a few of these, especially over an extended period of time, you will need to seek your doctor’s advice and be tested for a hormonal imbalance. If your doctor doesn’t feel it is necessary or advises against it but you have lingering doubts get a second opinion and get tested anyway. Some conditions that affect hormonal shifts can be deadly or damaging if left unchecked such as endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome (or PCOS), breast, ovarian and uterine cancers.
I’m Ready to be Tested; Now What?
Now that you are seeking testing you need to know a few things. First of all be aware that hormonal testing is still considered an exception, a procedure that isn’t necessary to overall health and therefore can be expensive. Some estimates are as high as $200 per hormone tested plus the doctor’s visit bill.
Second, you may need to do more than one test to be certain of you current hormonal levels.
Third your doctor may balk at the idea of testing; a doctor’s primary focus is treating symptoms over causes so you may be diagnosed with other conditions before a hormonal balance would even be considered. If you think that you have an imbalance make it clear that you want to be tested.
Saliva vs. Blood Serum Testing
There are two main forms of testing, blood serum and saliva. Both have their own merits and weaknesses. Here’s what you need to consider when you choose:
Pros of Saliva Testing:
• Saliva hormone testing is considered the best source for establishing the levels of DHEA, Cortisol, Testosterone, Progesterone, and Estrogen in the body. This is because it tests it on the cellular level vs. blood serum testing which test how much is on the bloodstream.
• Taking a saliva sample is much less stressful and invasive than blood testing.
Cons of Saliva Testing
• If you take hormonal supplements via drops, spray, or lozenges however this form of testing wouldn’t be accurate as they affect the saliva glands.
• Many insurance companies will not cover the cost of saliva testing.
• Not all labs carry this form of testing.
Pros of Blood Serum Testing
• Most hospitals and labs carry this form of testing.
• Most insurance carriers cover blood serum testing.
• There are still some hormones which must be tested by blood because saliva testing is not yet available.
Cons of Blood Serum Testing
• Blood testing is broad ranging method that tests the level of hormones found in the sample. This means if you’re stressed during the sample taking process it may alter the results.
• Blood testing may also require specific times of blood drawing and multiple samples to evaluate hormonal levels accurately.