Choosing one hormone level testing method over the other has caused headaches for many health workers and lab analysts. An ideal way of hormonal testing guarantees the highest level of accuracy in its result. The efficiency of a testing method is attributable to both its advantages and disadvantages.
Among the standard test methods, fluids are the most common samples for the tests, with blood, saliva, urine, and plasma being the most widely available. We have been getting highly accurate results for our patients in Hoover, AL Birmingham, Alabama area for years.
Below, we will look at the four sample types and discuss when each is most likely to give more conclusive results:
Originally, serum was the only sample type used for hormonal imbalance tests. Due to its simple extraction method, serum has always been the standard and most commonly accepted test. However, medical advancements have made it possible for scientists to explore other fluids that could provide information on an individual’s hormonal level.
The serum is most efficient when testing for hormones, which are peptides by nature, such as the FSH, LH, prolactin, insulin, and the thyroid hormone. The serum also has positive results when testing for the sexual hormone Binding Globulin. The secretion of hormones varies typically in different parts of the day. Using serum may make it hard to conclude whether the sample’s collection was during a high or low secretion.
However, serum samples are limited, since it’s not used to test various hormones like estrogen, androgen, and adrenal metabolites. These hormones are usually crucial to the medic as they reveal more information about the patient’s health status.
Saliva use has grown in popularity in the past decade due to its non-invasive nature and ease of collection. Saliva can also be used by practitioners such as chiropractors, who cannot draw blood from their patients. One advantage saliva use has over serum is its ability to be collected several times in a day or a week, making it easy to test and explain different hormonal patterns.
For women who still have their menstrual cycle, saliva is used efficiently to test their estrogen and progesterone levels. Saliva can also be used to check for the secretion patterns of the hormone cortisol, provided the samples are collected at intervals in a day, or evening.
Due to the saliva’s ability to measure free hormones and its versatility, it can be considered a better measure than serum. When preparing pregnant women for labor, a saliva test comes in handy to identify if they face a pre-term birth.
The following hormones are available in the saliva samples:
However, the use of saliva can be affected by lifestyle activities such as drinking, type of food eaten, and lipstick used. Saliva is also limited to the testing of steroid hormones, with peptide hormones unavailable.
The use of urine samples is rarely used in clinical testing, though it is common during research. Urine is best used to measure secreted hormones during the night, such as Growth Hormone 14 and the Melatonin 15. It is one of the oldest methods of testing.
When urine samples are collected throughout the day, there is less chance of having an irregular result due to the different hormone levels. Urine tests are used for measuring unbound hormones, and through the tests, it is easy to identify the bio-available hormones.
When using urine samples, the main downside is the collection’s messy nature since you are expected to fetch your sample in a small container. The results of a urine test are also prone to alteration due to different fluid intake frequencies.
Blood from capillaries
Also referred to blood from a finger stick, blood is not drawn from the main veins, but from capillaries. This blood sample is usually collected on a filter card, where it is allowed to dry. The dried blood has a better success rate since hormones in dried blood can be stable for a long time compared to serum.
This method may be efficient and easy to use, but it is not the most popular among medical practitioners.
The above testing techniques have different advantages and disadvantages compared to the other in hormone level testing. Notably, it is possible to combine more than one testing method to achieve more accurate test results.
Do you wish to have your hormonal balance checked by a professional? Contact us today at (205) 352-9141 and get the chance to enjoy our services!