I THINK I HAVE A HORMONE IMBALANCE - HOW CAN I KNOW FOR SURE?
If you're suffering from persistent, troublesome symptoms or are dealing with chronic health issues, testing your hormone levels can often provide the answers you’ve been seeking.
A simple saliva test can detect hidden hormone imbalances that sabotage our best efforts to lose weight, balance our moods, remember things, boost energy, sleep well, enjoy sex, look good, feel your best, and stay healthy!!
You can take our hormone quiz HERE to see if your symptoms align with those of a hormone imbalance, or visit our "Build Your Own Test Kit Package" for the breakdown of what we offer and how it can help you get to the root of your symptoms.
Email us any questions at email@example.com.
WHAT OPTIONS DO YOU HAVE FOR TESTING/CONSULTING?
We currently offer a "Build Your Own Test Kit Package" including 1x saliva test kit*, personalized results recap, access to our NEW rebalance rescue guide (library of helpful hormone health lessons) PLUS options to 'add on' a custom action plan, vitamin D testing and/or thyroid testing at checkout. We will provide options to schedule a 1:1 phone consultation with our educators/experts once your results are in.
👉 Visit our "Build Your Own Test Kit Package" page for details about everything included in this package, why we use saliva testing, who it's for (women of all ages), details about the hormones we test, our process, our consult options and common FAQs.
*Our saliva test is provided by a CLIA certified lab (ZRT), and measures the 'master' hormones: estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA, and cortisol. Samples are collected 4 x over the course of 1 day to assess full adrenal function. US residents will receive a prepaid shipping label to send their samples to the lab for processing.
WHAT IS YOUR APPROACH TO HORMONE BALANCING?
Our approach is all natural and in alignment with the goals of functional medicine in that we help women find the root cause of hormone-linked symptoms that many women struggle to find relief from, such as difficulty losing weight, fatigue, anxiety, sleep issues, irregular menstrual cycles, mood swings, breast tenderness, sugar cravings, acne, low libido, reduced strength, and stamina, etc.
YHB prefers saliva testing over blood testing for several important reasons. Salivary testing is considered the "industry gold standard" for evaluating adrenal function AND it provides a more accurate measurement of bioavailable (active) hormone levels that can be closely matched to reported symptoms. Keep reading for a more expanded explanation of why we prefer saliva VS standard blood testing.
Once we have saliva test results in hand (providing a clear picture of where your 'master' hormone levels lie), we will provide comprehensive education to help you understand your hormone levels, related symptoms and root causes, along with science-backed lifestyle/nutrition/supplement strategies to optimize your overall hormone health.
If you decide to add on a "custom action plan" (via our Build Your Own Test Kit Package) you will ALSO receive specific rebalancing suggestions & insights - based on your unique hormone levels and symptoms, including *priority* nutrition, lifestyle, supplement and bio-identical hormone suggestions (specific brands & resources).
WHAT'S INCLUDED IN YOUR REBALANCING GUIDES?
Please visit our "Build Your Own Test Kit Package" for an in-depth explanation of everything included! In short, you'll receive:
- 1 x saliva test kit (measures estrogen, progesterone, DHEAs, testosterone & 4 x cortisol; collected 4 x over the course of 1 day)
- 1 x results recap - (translation of your lab results & relevant education to help you understand your levels/imbalances, root causes, related symptoms, and an overview of holistic "next steps" to support overall hormone balance)
- Access to our "Rebalance Rescue Guide" - interactive library of helpful hormone health lessons for women of all ages. Includes lessons to help you understand your hormones & cycles, how to prevent fluctuations & imbalances at each stage of life, lifestyle non-negotiables, smart supplementation, overview of hormone replacement therapies (BHRT vs. HRT), & support finding quality medical care / voicing your hormonal needs and concerns.
Those who "add on" a custom rebalancing guide will ALSO receive specific rebalancing suggestions & insights - based on your unique hormone levels and symptoms, including *priority* nutrition, lifestyle, supplement and bio-identical hormone suggestions (specific brands & resources).
All educated we provide is well backed by research and is aligned with what experts in the field of functional and integrative medicine know, and are continually learning about best practices for achieving natural hormone balance at any age. All supplements, dietary, exercise and lifestyle changes are known to promote and support natural hormone balance (but should not be construed as medical advice. You should consult with your primary care physician for medical advice, treatment, and/or diagnosis).
WHAT SORTS OF SUPPLEMENTS/PRODUCTS/HORMONES DO YOU SUGGEST IN YOUR GUIDES?
Any supplements/herbs we suggest come from reputable, high-quality brands that are third-party tested and available for purchase online and/or over the counter.
The physician formulated, bioidentical hormone products we *may* suggest (for those who purchase a 'custom action plan' - and if test results indicates a need), are also high quality, third party tested products available online and/or over the counter. These products are intended for use only in ‘goldilocks’ doses, to mimic amounts naturally produced by the body (pre-menopause) and help ‘top up’ hormones to more optimal levels for symptom relief.
👉We provide 'smart use instructions' for women of all ages (pre/peri/post menopause) to review before using bioidentical hormones and to discuss with your health care team.
WHY DO YOU PREFER SALIVA TESTING OVER STANDARD BLOOD TESTING?
#1. Saliva testing allows convenient home collection that is pain-free, non-invasive, and does not create a stress response (i.e. skin pricked with a needle for a blood draw can skew test results).
#2. Saliva testing measures “bioavailable" hormone levels that are ACTIVE in the target tissues of the body (where hormones do their work!) and thus, results correlate much more closely with reported symptoms. Meanwhile, standard blood tests measure TOTAL hormones, including INACTIVE hormones still bound to carrier proteins in the bloodstream.
Note: Many women receive “normal” blood test results even though they feel anything BUT normal! This is where saliva goes deeper, allowing us to connect the dots between your symptoms and ACTIVE hormone levels!
#3. Standard blood tests do not show us the "PG/E2 ratio." This measurement is very useful for helping to pinpoint "estrogen dominance," an imbalance characterized by an excess of estrogen relative to progesterone, linked to heavy/painful periods, weight gain, bloating, PMS, mood swings, hypothyroidism, and increased risk for breast cancer...to name a few! (NOTE: "relative estrogen dominance" can present in women with normal or LOW estrogen levels, if/when progesterone levels are low or "inadequate" relative to the amount of estrogen in the body).
#4. Saliva allows stress-free collection of cortisol samples at four specific time points in the same day for charting full adrenal function (note: the adrenal glands produce the "stress hormone," cortisol and DHEA). This "Diurnal Curve" (aka your daily stress pattern), should be higher in the first half of the day, steadily decreasing over the course of the day to lower levels at bedtime. This provides a helpful snapshot of your adrenal health.
The standard blood test, taken at one random time of day, using a needle, can trigger a stress response that can skew the accuracy of cortisol measurement.
#5. Saliva samples are intentionally collected during a specific time in the cycle (for those with a trackable period), when hormones are surging in the luteal phase. Those with no cycles or irregular cycles may test any day of the month they are not bleeding/spotting.
WHAT ARE THE "MASTER HORMONES" YOU TEST AND WHAT ARE THEY RESPONSIBLE FOR?
Estrogen: Estrogen is reputed to be “the angel of life” because it makes cells grow – developing the female organs (uterus, breasts, ovaries), growing the egg within the ovary each cycle, and thickening the blood-rich lining of the uterus (endometrium) that is shed in the monthly period. Too much estrogen left unchecked by progesterone, its balancing partner, can lead to estrogen dominance marked by heavy periods, PMS, and weight gain, and more serious, estrogen-driven disorders such as fibroids, endometriosis and cancers of the breast and uterus. On the other end of the spectrum, too little estrogen can lead to hot flashes and night sweats, vaginal dryness, and bone loss (osteoporosis).
Progesterone: Primarily, progesterone is made in the ovaries during ovulation. When (for a variety of reasons) we don’t ovulate every cycle, our bodies can’t produce enough progesterone to keep estrogen levels in check, setting us up for estrogen dominance. Progesterone is also known as the “pregnancy” hormone (think ‘pro-gestation’) that secures the fetus in utero and provides essential support throughout the pregnancy. Known as the "great balancer," progesterone is a calming hormone that can help reduce symptoms such as anxiety and painful periods while keeping moods balanced and supporting deeper sleep.
(Androgen Hormones): Testosterone & DHEA: Along with the most noticeable effect of low libido, testosterone and DHEA deficiency can deplete bone and lean muscle mass, leading to decreased strength and stamina, a lower metabolic rate (inefficient calorie burning), and even a decrease in mental outlook and cognition. (Do you struggle with low self-esteem and finding your confidence/ voice? This is a sign of low androgen levels. Cognitive/emotional challenges can also correlate to low levels!)
On the other hand, elevated androgen hormone levels can cause acne, weight gain/belly fat, hair loss, facial/body hair, aggression/irritability, sugar cravings, fatigue and risks for insulin resistance and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).
Cortisol: Produced by the adrenal glands, this hormone helps to regulate the stress response, blood sugar balance, the sleep/wake cycle and immune functions. Levels should be higher in the morning for daytime energy supplies, and should drop gradually throughout the day to its lowest level at bedtime, for calming and sleep readiness. Imbalances of cortisol indicate taxed adrenals that may not adequately meet bodily demands for increased energy or immunities, especially during periods of heightened or prolonged stress.
For all of the above mentioned hormones, saliva test results can serve as a guide to rebalancing and rebuilding your health.
NOTE: men and women have the same hormones, just in differing amounts. The lab adjusts results ranges according to gender, menstrual status (normal, irregular, post-menopausal) as well as due to hormone/birth control use and certain health history factors (hysterectomy).
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO REBALANCE MY HORMONES? (+ A NOTE ON RETESTING)
Keep in mind that the natural/holistic approach to hormone balance is a more gradual adaptation that can provide longer-lasting results without the risky side effects of synthetic hormones, including birth control (that may deliver short-term results that can lead to longer term side effects and serious health issues!).
As you will often hear: “we are all uniquely made,” so when making diet or lifestyle changes and adding new supplements/herbs to the body, every individual experience is somewhat different! Most of our clients notice relief in one or more symptoms within the first few weeks, but this can vary based on individual health/lifestyle factors including prolonged stress, poor diet, long-term use of synthetic hormones (birth control, HRT). We usually encourage allowing up to 2-3 cycles/months of consistently following the rebalancing protocol to experience best results.
A good time to retest is 3-4 months after initiating specific lifestyle/nutrition/supplement suggestions (especially important if introducing any hormone replacement therapy). Retesting is encouraged because it monitors the effectiveness of implementation and reveals any areas that could use some adjusting. You may also want to switch up (adjust or wean off) certain supplements to match progressive hormone levels. For these reasons, we don’t suggest waiting longer than six months to retest, and we provide special retesting discounts for all existing clients.
Keep in mind: the natural or ‘holistic’ approach to hormone balance can be a more gradual adaptation (VS. using synthetic hormones/birth control for fastest results), but is one known to provide longer lasting relief without the nasty side effects!
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER I PURCHASE A TEST KIT?
After purchasing a package with us, we will mail out your saliva test kit – to arrive at your door within 3-5 business days. Each saliva test kit is self-contained with complete directions and everything you need to collect your samples from home. The saliva test measures estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, as well as the adrenal hormones, DHEA, and cortisol in four plastic tubes.
Once you receive the test kit, the first thing to do is read YHB's detailed collection instructions and determine your testing window. You will test 4 x over the course of 1 day, based on your cycle length or irregularity (for example, those with a regular, 28-day cycle may collect on either day 19, 20 or 21 - counting 'day 1' as the first day of their last menstrual cycle). We will provide detailed instructions for women accurately tracking ovulation (testing is suggested 5-7 days post ovulation) or for those with longer/shorter cycles. Those in menopause can collect any day, and the same applies to premenopausal women with irregular or absent periods, provided they are not bleeding or spotting. Men may test any day of the month.
After determining your designated collection day, your first saliva sample should be collected within 30 min. of waking and before eating, drinking, brushing/flossing teeth or exercising; your second sample is collected before lunch, your 3rd sample in the evening (or before dinner), and the last sample at bedtime.
All 4 samples will be returned to our lab using the envelope enclosed in your kit, with the prepaid UPS (return) shipping label affixed, retaining the lower half for tracking details. Note: International clients will need to cover the return shipment cost to send to our lab in the US.
Your test results will be ready up to 7-10 business days from the time the lab receives your samples. Keep in mind: saliva samples remain viable for up to 30 days without being frozen.
Once YHB receives your completed lab analysis and report, we will notify you by email, along with "next steps" (these vary depending upon the package purchased). Those who add-on a custom action plan will complete a Q&A to help us prepare the most helpful rebalancing suggestions.
All clients may 'add on' a custom action plan, additional testing (thyroid/vitamin D/insulin markers) and/or a 1:1 phone consultation once results are in. Split payment options also available!
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BIOIDENTICAL HORMONES & SYNTHETIC HORMONES (HRT)?
Bioidentical hormones, derived from natural soybean or other plant-based substances, are compounded by a lab to be identical to our body's own (endogenous) hormones. Like a key in a lock, they are compatible with and accepted by the corresponding cell as its own. Only bioidentical hormones molecularly fit into hormone receptors perfectly, recognizing and allowing the BHRT (bioidentical hormone replacement therapy) to do its job. In short: bioidentical hormones are active and bioavailable for use by the body.
Synthetic hormones, such as those found in HRT (Premarin/Prempro), birth control pills, hormonal IUDs, and implants, are unnatural and non-identical to human hormones. Synthetics have a completely different chemical structure, which does not precisely “fit” human cells, in fact most synthetic hormone formulations are derived from pregnant horse's urine!
Synthetic hormones can cause imbalances and side effects such as weight gain, belly fat, anxiety, stress, difficulty sleeping, sluggish metabolism, and low thyroid symptoms. Far more threatening, long-term health risks for heart attack, strokes, blood clots, and breast cancer were revealed in the Women’s Health Initiative study (WHI 2003), causing HRT usage to plummet, while the use of safer, bioidentical hormone versions increased significantly. Although findings in the WHI study have been called into question, additional research confirms that synthetic hormones contribute to far more significant side effects and symptoms VS. plant derived, human-identical hormones!
You can read our full blog on the difference between BHRT and HRT HERE. We are currently organizing a comprehensive list of studies that detail the many benefits of BHRT (email us to request this list).
TEST ELIGIBILITY QUESTIONS
CAN I TEST MY HORMONES WHILE ON BIRTH CONTROL?
Yes, you can test your hormones while using birth control, but please note that your results will show hormone levels under the influence of contraception (the exception to this is the copper Paragard IUD, which is non-hormonal). Testing while on birth control can still be helpful, as we can analyze these findings and discuss how your symptoms may be caused by or connected to your current B.C., along with suggestions for alleviating its effects (paired with lifestyle, diet & supplement suggestions – depending on results).
** NOTE: the lab adjusts reference ranges to account for any B.C. or synthetic hormone use.
If, however, you are considering coming off your birth control or switching to a non-hormonal form of contraception (copper IUD, diaphragm or cervical cap, for example), we recommend waiting 6-8 weeks before testing OR until a regular period returns, to allow your hormones to readjust to baseline levels (not under the influence of fluctuating hormones).
**NOTE: We only provide custom insights and supplement suggestions for those who add on a custom action plan (via our Build Your Own Test Kit Package). The action plan can also be purchased after test results are in.
Should you decide to test under the influence of BC now but would like to discuss taking a break or transitioning off in the future, we can provide resources and suggestions for helping you do so safely and effectively (eliminating possible side effects & symptoms)
CAN I TEST IF I'M SUPPLEMENTING WITH HORMONES?
Yes! Testing is a great way to assess the effectiveness of your current hormone supplementation (or hormonal B.C.) - especially if you are not planning to make changes to your current regimine.
In this case, be sure to refer to the detailed collection instructions ahead of your testing day. We provide specific instructions for WHEN to collect your samples based on the type of hormone used (for example, if using a topical progesterone cream, we suggest taking a 12-24 hr. break from the cream before collecting your first morning sample).
** NOTE: We DO NOT suggest saliva testing for those using sublingual hormones or troches (contact us for a different test type or with any test collection Q's).
I AM CURRENTLY PREGNANT (OR, PLANNING TO GET PREGNANT SOON) – CAN I STILL TEST?
If you are pregnant now, your hormones will be reflective of pregnancy levels, so we suggest waiting to test until you've had your baby and periods have resumed.
CAN I TEST WHEN BREASTFEEDING?
Breastfeeding hormones will inevitably suppress your estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone levels, so we recommend waiting to test at least THREE months after nursing ends or normal periods have resumed.
I AM CURRENTLY IN MENOPAUSE, CAN I STILL TEST?
Yes, menopausal (OR "post-menopausal") women have so much to learn from testing their hormone levels! Since hormones govern physical, mental, and emotional functions throughout our entire lives, women in menopause need to make sure they’ve still got hormones in all the right amounts. As we get older and ovarian hormone production (of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone) wanes, replenishing hormones not only helps relieve stubborn symptoms, but also helps protect our organs, brain, heart, skin, and bones from rapid aging. This is where hormone test results are essential to determine appropriate use of bioidentical hormones, as needed.
I'VE HAD A TOTAL HYSTERECTOMY, CAN I STILL TEST?
For starters, total hysterectomy puts a woman into instant menopause. Regardless of her age, she and a menopausal woman have the same thing in common: a permanent lack of hormone production leading to chronic imbalance and total reliance on the adrenal glands for hormone output. Therefore, testing identifies the specific imbalances that may be the culprit behind troublesome symptoms and disorders common to this stage of life!
INSURANCE / PAYMENT QUESTIONS
DO YOU OFFER INSURANCE COVERAGE?
Unfortunately, insurance companies do not typically cover saliva testing or our educational services. However, many people are able to use their HSA or FSA to purchase a package (see next answer).
CAN I USE MY HSA OR FSA TO PURCHASE A PACKAGE?
Many YHB clients use an HSA/FSA payment card to purchase a package on our site. We always suggest contacting your plan's provider before purchase to ensure your transaction will be approved. We are happy to provide an itemized receipt upon request (email us after purchase: firstname.lastname@example.org).
HOW DOES SPLIT PAYMENT WORK?
ARE YOUR SERVICES AVAILABLE GLOBALLY?
YHB works with many international clients! We ship globally and phone consultations can be arranged using our Zoom account.
Select "international" shipping at checkout ($29.99), which covers one way shipping to get the kit to you. Our lab will ship your kit & email your tracking # directly.
NOTE: You will need to cover the shipping costs to get your samples to our lab in the U.S. (Although we provide prepaid shipping labels for US residents to mail their samples to the lab free of cost, we cannot provide prepaid return labels for international customers).
TEST COLLECTION QUESTIONS
WHEN DO I TEST IF I HAVE AN IUD (WITH NO CYCLE)?
If you have an IUD without cycles, you can test on any day of the month since you do not have a trackable cycle.
CAN I TEST WHEN USING NUVA RING BIRTH CONTROL - SHOULD I REMOVE IT TO TEST?
No need to take it out for the test! Refer to and follow the test collection instructions based on your cycle length. If you have any Q's - contact us!
WHEN SHOULD I COLLECT IF IM TAKING HORMONES?
Unless you intend to discontinue your hormone therapy, you do not need to stop hormone use to test. Review and follow the directions below for sample collection according to your type of hormone therapy:
TOPICAL HORMONES (Cream or Gel)
• DO NOT APPLY ANY TOPICAL HORMONES ON COLLECTION DAY.
• Collect saliva samples 12-24 hours AFTER the last dose.
ORAL HORMONES (Pills)
• DO NOT USE ANY ORAL HORMONES THROUGHOUT THE DAY OF SALIVA COLLECTION.
• If taking progesterone: Collect saliva 6-10 hours AFTER the last dose.
• If using any other hormone: Collect saliva 12-24 hours AFTER the last dose.
PATCHES, VAGINAL RINGS, PELLETS OR INJECTABLES
• Test half-way between doses. For example, collect 3 days after a once-a-week patch or 2 weeks after a once-a-month injection.
SUBLINGUAL or TROCHE HORMONES
• We DO NOT suggest saliva testing for those using sublingual hormones or troches (dissolved under tongue). Contact us at email@example.com for another testing option.
CORTISOL SUPPLEMENTATION / CORTISONE-CONTAINING PRODUCTS
• CONSULT YOUR PROVIDER for instructions if using cortisol supplementation for adrenal support.
• If not medically necessary, STOP USING CORTISONE-CONTAINING PRODUCTS 5 DAYS PRIOR to saliva collection.
DO HERBS, VITAMINS, OR OTHER OTC PRODUCTS AFFECT RESULTS?
Some over-the-counter (OTC) products are known to affect hormone test results. Excluding vitamins, the following supplements/medications can impact test results: progesterone, pregnenolone, hydrocortisone creams or inhalers, DHEA, and 7-Keto-DHEA. When using ANY of the above, please list them on the Test Requisition form so the lab can adjust your test range accordingly and follow the Collection Instructions to ensure proper collection.
RE: 7-KETO DHEA, we suggest testing hormones 3-4 days after last use.
NOTE: any product that contains steroids (rash creams, steroid inhalers) can artificially skew cortisol and/or progesterone levels if used 3-5 days prior testing. We suggest avoiding these products (unless medically necessary) prior to your test collection day.
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