Saliva testing is an easy and noninvasive way of assessing your patients hormone balancing needs, and is proving to be the most reliable medium for measuring hormone levels. Unlike serum tests, saliva testing represents only hormones actively delivered to receptors in the body. Clinically, it is far more relevant to test these bioavailable hormones and provide an accurate reflection of the body’s active hormone levels.
Which Hormones are tested?
Estrogens: There are three forms made by the body: estrone, estradiol and estriol. The form used in past hormone replacement therapies is estradiol, often in the form of concentrated pregnant mare’s urine (premarin). It is a proliferative (causes growth) hormone that grows the lining of the uterus. It is also a known cancer-causing hormone: breast and endometrial (uterine) in women and prostate gland in men. It will treat menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, insomnia and memory-loss. With the bio-identical formulas estriol is matched with estradiol (biest) to provide protective effects and additional estrogenic benefits. The other major protector in keeping estradiol from running amok is progesterone. Estrone and estriol are also useful hormones to test.
Progesterone: Called the anti-estrogen because it balances estradiol’s proliferative effects. It is considered preventive for breast and prostate cancers as well as osteoporosis. In addition, too little progesterone promotes depression, irritability, increased inflammation, irregular menses, breast tenderness, urinary frequency and prostate gland enlargement (BPH).
Testosterone: An anabolic hormone (builds tissue) that is essential for men and women. The proper level of testosterone is necessary for bone health, muscle strength, stamina, sex drive and performance, heart function and mental focus.
DHEA: An important adrenal gland hormone, which is essential for energy production and blood sugar balance. DHEA is a precursor to other hormones, mainly testosterone.
Cortisol: Your waking day hormone (highest in the morning and lowest at night). It is necessary for energy production, blood sugar metabolism, anti-inflammatory effects and stress response.
Who should be tested? Both men and women experience changes in hormone levels with age. Sometimes those changes result in unpleasant symptoms that demand attention. Often, the changes are more subtle – yet there is still an impact on overall health. Hormone testing is applicable for:
- Men and women concerned with changing hormone levels as a result of age.
- Cycling women experiencing PMS symptoms, perhaps related to a hormonal imbalance.
- Peri-menopausal and post-menopausal women concerned with their estradiol and progesterone levels for replacement considerations.
- Those wishing to monitor their hormone levels following replacement therapy (oral, sublingual or topical), and subsequently regulate their supplement levels.
- Anyone with symptoms involving fatigue, insomnia, stress, immunity problems, blood sugar problems, and an overweight body should be tested for cortisol levels as well as “sex” hormones.
Men and women of any age who are having symptoms of hormone imbalances should test for all hormones that may be associated with their symptoms. Men and women over the age of forty may want to do a baseline test. Frequently, imbalances will be detectable for a time period before symptoms gain attention.