How to Get Your Hormones Tested Accurately, So You Can Understand Where You Are at and How to Move Forward?

How to Get Your Hormones Tested Accurately, So You Can Understand Where You Are at and How to Move Forward?

Your hormones are so important when it comes to Endometriosis. I don’t personally believe they were the cause of developing Endometriosis but their imbalance will certainly impact on how we feel and how much our Endometriosis grows and worsens. Your hormones control so many aspects of your health and how you feel emotionally that it is crucial to find out where they are at – even if your approach on how to deal with the imbalance is different to what doctors might recommend.

Here are some signs that your hormones could be out of balance:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Feeling alone, lost or disconnected
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Bleeding gums
  • Breast tenderness
  • Lethargy, tiredness – feeling “flat”
  • Palpitations
  • Bone and joint pain
  • Weight issues
  • Fluid retention/ abdominal bloating
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Headaches/migraines
  • Insomnia
  • Irritablity
  • Acne
  • Loss of libido

These might sound like minor symptoms but they illustrate an imbalance. Imbalances need to be resolved or we inevitably have a reaction within the body we simply don’t want.

So, how do we test our hormones accurately?

I am not sure why but many doctors and gynaecologists will often test hormones through our blood. This is simply not effective…. let me explain why:

Hormones are fat-soluble in their nature. They sit in the fat cells in our bodies. Blood tests only measure the serum of the blood, which is water-soluble. To accurately measure where your hormones are at, you really need to do a saliva test. This measures your active or bioavailable hormones.

I did my saliva test through a company called Patient Advocates in Tauranga – great if you live in New Zealand. If you live elsewhere, you can usually find a good laboratory that will do it for you. It is typically a progesterone test you are looking for. There are other tests you can order online through the well respected Dr John Lee’s site:Β http://www.johnleemd.com/store/prod_stest.html.

Depending on your budget, you can get the whole lot tested but a progesterone-only test will give you a fair idea. There is also a question-based test, through Dr John Lee’s site, which will give you an indication on whether your hormones are in balance or not.

FREE HORMONE TEST KIT ONLINE.

Here are the steps, which I was given to do my saliva test:

  • Test your saliva on the 19th, 20th or 21st day of your cycle. So, counting the first day of your period as day 1, count it out until day 20. It is just after ovulation you are aiming for. A good measure is also to check your mucous levels – sorry to be graphic but when the white mucous stuff that you get with ovulation slows down or stops, this is when you want to test your hormone levels. You are supposed to have a peak of both oestrogen and progesterone during that time – the Luteal phase. I notice it because my mood changes – but you might have to be aware of this, having watched your cycle patterns over a few months to really notice this one.
  • Test it about an hour after you wake up and when you haven’t had anything to drink or eat for at least 30 minutes.
  • Spit in lots of saliva, so they can get an accurate reading.
  • Courier the saliva test to the respective lab or get it there as quickly as possible.

 

I got my test results back the other day and they seemed fairly easy to read. What you need to understand about reading it is to match the time of month you did the test with the results you were given. My test indicated that for the Luteal phase, which is the period we would be measuring, the normal range for progesterone should be higher than 1.0 nmol/L. (this was based on me being premenopausal).

My results came back as 1.2 nmol/L! This is good but still on the low side. I am just within the “normal” range and still suffer from some of the symptoms as indicated on the list above and in the free test above.

Your results will vary depending on many, many things. EVERYTHING influences your hormone levels and they can change from month to month, which is why it is good to test these regularly or be very aware of your symptoms according to the list above. Your diet, your stress levels, your environment, your exercise levels, how many drugs you have been taking, where you live… all of it influences your hormone levels.

 

Okay, so where to from here?

I am going to explore some progesterone creams. To be honest, I am a little hesitant about the idea and want to really understand how this works. I have bought Dr. John Lee’s book: What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause: The Breakthrough Book on Natural ProgesteroneΒ and so far it is incredibly informative! It is of course a given that we use the right progesterone cream that is totally natural and not synthetic in nature – in any way. But I want to understand how it works, why it works and most importantly for how long we need to take it. As you probably know, if you have been reading my blog for a while, I am not a fan of taking anything long-term and don’t believe our hormone imbalance is the cause of Endometriosis. It is a symptom of the condition. However, I can see the merits in regulating our hormones to put other aspects in our bodies back in balance, which will aid our healing on a long-term basis.

If you have tried progesterone creams and have some knowledge in this area, please feel free to share as I am always curious to hear other girls’ experiences. If you have any questions on the saliva test, feel free to ask me and I will share my experience with you.

 

Big hugs,

PS: If you want to figure out how to manage endometriosis naturally, sign up to my free REACH Kickstarter program. Simply click here to sign up. 

Share your thoughts...

  1. Hello ! I started taking birth control November 2016 due to extremely painful periods. I tried getting off it but had awful break outs and decided to go back on. The more I research I feel I really need to get off it and try to find the root issue. I want to get my hormones tested but was wondering how long I should be off birth control before ?

  2. I am 29, for years I have all PMS symptoms, some months are more irritating that others. Fatigue, cramps, abdominal pain, joint pain, cold palms and feet, acne, low libido, depression in the days of cycle….My gynecologist told me every woman is different and that everything is fine until my period is regular. Since I am in such great pain, I should take Nalgesin and lay down!!! I don’t believe that. I don’t belive and I am sick of waiting “better days” or menopause so I could be pain free or in the good mood :). I heard about Vitex and online ordered pills and was planning to take them in 400 mg daily dose. I really appreciate the article and would appreciate if someone would provided their experience with vitex (if any). I am going to take hormonal test (my doctor thinks this is not neccessary since I have a period) and start with Vitex. Any advice is appreciated. Thanks!

  3. I had a procedure done with my dr that now I do not get my period anymore. So how would I know when to do the saliva test ? My dr also put me on thyroid medicine but I still have all my same symptoms ? Cold all the time, very moody, hair loss, severly fatigued, skin problems, but my drs seem to think I am ok ?

    • I would perhaps see a different doctor or a Naturopath who appreciates the whole connection with thyroid and endo sweets. It is not as simple as just fixing one problem at a time. You need to look at the whole body.

  4. I m 40 but since I turned 38 my body started changing. I started with anxiety, depression, palpitations, heartburn, fatigue, etc.. The doctors only prescribed me with antidepressants, like Prozac and Zoloft, but I never took them. I don’t want to mask the problems I rather solve them. I made my own research and started taking natural supplements like Gaba for anxiety, and that helped my a lot. But now I am struggling with Insomnia and that’s killing me, I will do anything to sleep at least 4 hours a day.

  5. Hi Melissa, I totally agree with you. I did the saliva testing, and while the results were very discouraging (I have very low levels of both prog & est — and I mean LOW), it was still so helpful to finally get some answers that may not have been revealed through blood hormone testing. I have been on progesterone cream for about 3 months now (even though both hormones were very below normal, the ratio was still higher estrogen than progesterone), and so far absolutely no difference (um, except that I’ve actually started bleeding even more — what?!), but I figure just like gynecologists tell women that the pill takes several months to even out your hormones, it might be the same with progesterone cream. I’ll let you know if there are any positive outcomes

    • You may not be taking enough progesterone cream to make a difference. In fact taking too little can make symptoms worse. Never take less than 100mg. Daily. Could take 4-6 months to level out. I am taking 300mg due to terrible symptoms.

  6. Hi! I had wanted to get a test because I feel that my hormones are balanced only during my period. I LOVE that time of the month because (unlike most women) I don’t get any pains/aches or discomfort during that time. It’s like heaven! The week before that time, it’s like hell. But I also noticed if I eat organics, naturals, and no dairy, the week of hell before “the time” doesn’t happen. But my problem is, I am more affectionate/sensual, lovable, and aroused during that time of the month. Once the time is done, it’s a whole 3 weeks or so until I’m this sensual/affectionate kind of person. I’m nice, I’m not crabby, but I feel like my libido is gone if I’m not going through my period. Is there any advice you have, or tests you recommend… anything that would help me find out what is missing in my system that I can raise back to normal? Thanks!

    • Hi Triffany,
      That is quite unique πŸ™‚
      I would maybe get onto Maca Root Powder. I add in into a smoothie and it really boosts the libido – in a general sense. It levels our our hormones and it helps me heaps with my PMS and other hormone related stuff. Make a smoothie with banana, coconut milk, water and maca and maybe a little honey – if you need it. Really tasty and makes the maca more absorbable πŸ™‚

  7. Hi Melissa! I wanted to say thank you for your wonderful information. I do have one question. I had all my levels tested through blood, and they were tested on day 6 of my cycle. I was about a day after my period stopped. When my doctor got my results back, she said I am not ovulating, but I’m very confused. I wasn’t ovulating at the time that I took the test of course since it was right after my period stopped. BUT, she put me on all these medications. :/
    I would appreciate any advice. Thanks!

    • Hi Bea,
      It is quite common not to be ovulating at all. Maybe you can share what medications the doctor put you on and perhaps we can work out some natural alternatives. Maca Root Powder is fabulous to encourage natural hormone production and balance.

    • The main ones that I was put on was a birth control called Novial, which has the same active ingredients as the birth control Desogen (desogestrel ethinyl estradiol). She said this was to stimulate me, and the other one was bromocriptine to lower my prolactin levels. The others medications that she gave me were to fight against the side effects, but not related to my actual treatment. I really would a million times prefer to take natural remedies, since I’ve had some bad experiences with prescriptions. I will definitely look into Maca Root.
      Thank you again!

  8. Hi Melisaa,

    Thanks for all the information as always. I’ve been wanting to check my hormones for a long time but my family physician did only a one time blood test (at a random day in my cycle!!!) and I am not really sure if this is gonna tell me anything useful. I have many of the symptoms listed above plus I have a lot of nausea and recently I’ve been having a lot of muscle pain (which I never had before, although I used to do a lot of exercise before compared to what I do now!). I’ve been reading about hormonal tests and I still have doubts whether urine test would be more effective than saliva. May I ask why you chose saliva over urine test? it seems urine can test for more hormones and is more reliable, isn’t that right? Thanks πŸ™‚

    cheers,
    -Mojdeh

    • Hi Mojdeh,
      Pleasure πŸ™‚
      The muscle pain is an indicator of toxins trying to come out of your body. – exercising does a great job of clearing that or do a good juice fast or detox and that will help too πŸ™‚
      The book by Dr John Lee (world renowned expert on hormones) suggested the saliva test. I have not heard of urine as a suggestion but maybe try the urine option and let us know the results. It might be that the saliva test was easier to do than the urine one – gotta see a doc for that one!

  9. Be careful taking hormone regulating herbs such as vitex and progesterone creams I was warned by my herbalist, fyi. It is one or the other it seems. I have chosen the natural herb route as it seemed more gentle, however after two years of taking a tincture with vitex in it, specially made for me by the herbalist, I still have the endo pain etc. however I have noticed less breast soreness around period times… hope this is helpful in some way!

    • Hi Sarai,
      I am learning that Vitex and Progesterone Creams or it seems any hormone specific treatment can be highly beneficial for a short-term “adjustment” in the body – like 3months. Once we go over that length of time, it can create imbalances going the other way -as you described in your experience with Vitex. I do agree that it can be tricky to judge but it is important to keep a diary of our symptoms and recognise when they are getting worse and stop at that point.
      Thanks for sharing Sarai:)

  10. About 6 years ago I had my hormones tested by saliva testing. My hormones were looking ok, but he put me on a progesteron/ estrogen cream. I was on it for 3 months and saw no change.
    Now…I am going to a integrative doctor and he tested my hormones by blood testing. I was estrogen dominant. You can’t lower the estrogen so he tried to balance it with 25 mg of progesterone with bioidentical compounded hormones.. I got my blood tested again after being on the progesterone for 2 months. My estrogen went way down but now my progesterone went way up. He put me on thyroid med (armour) 30 mg to drive my tsh down but it drove my TSH up even higher. So now I am on a 45 mg dose I have not noticed much changes and it said it has be come obvious that my body is highly sensitive. This I have known for most of my life and was not surprised.
    I am still tired, moody and just not up to par.

    • Hi Jane,
      This is really interesting and kinda scary as to how sensitive hormones can react in the body. I prefer to focus on the liver, personally as it ultimately can flush out any excess and regulate them for us. I also found Yoga seems to help me πŸ™‚
      Maybe you and me can do a liver flush together when I get to London and have settled down a little?

  11. Hi Mel,

    That makes sense to me – I find I get my worst symptoms around ovulation, high oestrogen or estradiol. My abdomen feels worse, heavy , bloated, than before a period.

    Also, interestingly, during perimenopause your oestrogen actually rises – it is your progesterone that diminishes first! Apparently perimenopause can start anywhere from 35 to 45. I’m 40 this year, so its something I’m going to be looking into.

    I’d love to know if you get any relief from your cream. What symptoms are you still getting?

    namaste
    Allannah

    • Hi Allanah,
      Yeah, there is a great miscommunication that oestrogen lowers with menopause too. The symptoms are the same as puberty but for some reason gyni’s say it is a lack of oestrogen…..?
      The symptoms I have are quite minor – not the really annoying ones but I still have water retention, skin break-outs, stiffness in my muscles and joints and irritability and the mood related ones. Much better all round but they are still there πŸ™‚

      I will keep you posted πŸ™‚

      Namaste
      Mel

  12. I just started the natural progesterone cream last week. So far, I cannot tell a difference in much. My breasts are more tender and I have had cramping today. My integrative doctor wants to level off my estrogen levels with it because he feels that I am estrogen dominant…thus the endometriosis. I hope it works!!

    • Hi Laurie,
      I heard that it makes our oestrogen dominance symptoms a little worse for the first week or so, while the oestrogens are coming out of the receptor sites but that it improves after that. Keep us posted as it would be great to compare notes! Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

    • Hi Laurie:
      I was also told I was estrogen dominant. But my integrative doctor told me that he doesn’t believe I have endometriosis. This is the first time I have ever been told that. All doctors I went to said I no doubt had it and I have had surgery and I have had a Hysterectomy. When I had the Hysterectomy 6 years ago they said I had no visual implants.

    • I have been using the cream for 2.5 weeks, and have had terrible breast tenderness and some digestive issues. My doctor is having me use less cream now. He said that every woman is different, and that we will have to play with the dosage until it is right for me. I also found out my thyroid is very low, and that is a culprit for how I feel. I just started taking TSH 3 to try to get my level back to normal.

      • Hi Laurie,
        That is very interesting. I read in Dr John Lee’s book that we can expect some reaction the first week but not that long. Also, with the thyroid, maybe ask your doc about just taking a drop of pure iodine orally. I heard this from a few different sources and wanted to find out if there was any truth to it.

  13. I asked my dr to test my hormones but she wouldn’t do it she said it wasn’t called for. I read the list above about sypmtoms of hormonal imbalance and I have over half at least. My feet are always cold, acne, low libido, extreme fatigue, palpitations, joint pain, feeling seperate.
    I have been using an IUD for the last few months I wonder if its related although the acne seems to be slightly better but the fatigue is too much for anyone. I was taking another med for the acne that may have been cauing that but I have often wondered why my feet are always cold.

    • Hi Sarah,
      How rude of your doctor not to do as you ask! I would find someone who will. It is so important to know where you are at. The acne is so linked to hormones! The cold thing also relates to they thyroid function.

    • It upsets me that doctors won’t test hormones! Like “Let’s do some incredibly invasive surgeries to examine your insides before doing a simple saliva test that could reveal non-structural hormonal imbalances that could be alleviated with some natural hormone supplementation.” I was having EVERY symptom — hair loss, weight loss, bleeding all month, super-panicky all of a sudden — and my doctor wanted to do surgery and put me on zoloft. πŸ™‚ I had to find a naturopath who immediately suggested hormone testing — which explained nearly every symptom! I hope you got hormone testing done somewhere!!

  14. I used progesterone creams through my reproductive endocronolgists suggestions along with fertility treatment. My Progesterone was low so they had me take supositories from after ovulation until I got my period in hopes of keeping my levels elevated enough to support implantation. It was gross and I always had to wear a pantyliner. I personally hated it and rather eat nutrient rich foods that support high progesterone like sweet potatoes, onions, garlic, walnuts and pineapple! πŸ™‚

    • That does sound nasty. Supositories are the ones you stick up there? I would probably opt for a progesterone cream that you just smear on the skin. I hadn’t heard of foods that support progesterone! I love sweet potatoes and pinapple so eat those anyways πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing!

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