After your purchase has been processed, your test kit will be mailed to you directly, arriving within 3-5 business days (allow longer for international shipping).
SALIVA COLLECTION INSTRUCTIONS
If you've purchased a saliva test package, your test kit will come with everything you need to collect your samples and return them to the laboratory for analysis (including a pre-paid UPS shipping label). NOTE: if you "ADD ON" a vitamin D or thyroid blood test, you'll receive a saliva/blood combo kit. Blood tests may be collected any day.
Below are general instructions for saliva testing (we provide videos/detailed instructions after purchase):
- You'll receive 4 collection tubes to collect samples upon waking / before lunch / before dinner / before bed (MUST be completed within the same day).
Women with regular cycles should test mid-luteal phase - but we will send specific instructions to help pinpoint the ideal day - for those with varying cycle lengths, irregular cycles and/or those who are accurately able to pinpoint ovulation.
- Women with absent cycles (for 2 months or more) may test any day of the month that they are not bleeding/spotting.
- If using hormone medications or birth control, provide details where indicated on the test requisition form included in kit.
- Mark all symptoms, e.g. mild, moderate, or severe on the provided requisition form (in your kit).
- Saliva samples remain viable for up to 30 days (without being frozen), so the time in transit to the lab is not a concern, no matter where you live. (We only suggest freezing samples after collection as a precaution, to preserve samples incase you forget to ship)
- Your results will be ready 7-10 business days from the time the lab receives your samples in the mail. You can track your samples en route to the lab using the tracking # on the 2nd half of the UPS shipping label.
- Once results have been received, the team will email you with next steps (next steps depends on type of package purchased). All consultations will be scheduled once results are in.
WHY DO WE PREFER SALIVA HORMONE TESTING VS. STANDARD BLOOD TESTING...WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?
As far as using saliva instead of traditional blood tests – science proves it far more telling than the latter. Here are the primary reasons:
#1. Saliva testing allows convenient home collection that is pain free and non-invasive and does not create a stress response (i.e. skin pricked with a needle for a blood draw, which 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 blood stream.
Note: Many women receive “normal” blood test results even though they feel anything BUT normal! This is where saliva goes deeper, allowing you to connect the dots between your symptoms and ACTIVE hormone levels!
#3. Standard blood tests do not show us the PG/E2 ratio, a very useful measure for determining "estrogen dominance," an imbalance characterized by an excess of estrogen to progesterone linked to heavy painful periods, weight gain, bloating, PMS/mood swings, hypothyroid and higher risks for breast cancer. (This imbalance can also present in women with normal or LOW estrogen levels, if progesterone levels are low or "inadequate" relative to estrogen).
#4. Saliva allows stress-free collection of cortisol samples at 4 specific time points over the course of one day for more accurate charting of normal adrenal function and the diurnal pattern (note: adrenal glands produce cortisol). Cortisol or “stress” patterns (a major indicator of adrenal function), cannot be accurately measured in a standard blood draw using needles at 1 random time of day that can trigger a stress response and skew results.
#5. Saliva samples are collected during a specific time in the cycle (for those with a recent or 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 about other types of testing?
There are other ways to measure hormones - such as in urine, which is a reliable way to measure hormone metabolites, and is far more accurate than standard blood testing as well (though results should be reviewed in-depth, with an integrative/functional medicine practitioner). We've previously partnered with practitioners who interpret urine testing, but do not currently offer this service due to the significant time & costs involved (we hope to offer a urine test kit in the future).
We also want to acknowledge that *some* doctors will measure 'bioavailable' or "FREE" hormone levels in blood, however, this is usually not the case with a standard blood draw and is rarely covered by insurance. (We really wish insurance companies made it easier to cover additional forms of hormone testing!).
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