Saliva Hormone Testing: FAQs

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Saliva Hormone Testing Kit

Saliva hormone testing is simple and noninvasive, allowing you to check your hormone levels and detect imbalances or deficiencies. With saliva test kits, you can submit a sample for evaluation from the comfort of your home.

Throughout all stages of life, both men and women must manage significant changes in their hormones. These changes can be severe or minor in nature and may affect a wide range of developmental factors, including menstrual cycling, bone health, menopausal symptoms, erectile dysfunction, mood, and more. It’s important to evaluate your hormone levels in order to detect various health problems and monitor treatments. One of the safest methods to do so is with saliva hormone testing.

What Is Saliva Hormone Testing?

Saliva testing was first developed in the 1980s, and over the past four decades, this technology has improved drastically. Hormones are messenger chemicals secreted by glands that travel throughout your bloodstream. Each hormone is responsible for regulating certain tissues, organs, and systems, so if your hormones become imbalanced, you can experience health problems.

To determine if your hormones may be contributing to symptoms or health problems, you can schedule a hormone test, typically using blood, saliva, or urine. Your saliva contains the same components you would find in your blood, so hormones find their way into your saliva through your blood. By using a saliva testing kit, you can use a sample of your saliva to evaluate your current hormone levels.

Questions Regarding Saliva Testing

It’s common for many individuals to have questions about saliva testing. Previously, the most accepted way to evaluate hormones was through blood tests performed in a lab or physician’s office. Saliva testing offers many advantages over blood testing; learn more so you can make a more informed decision regarding your hormone testing.

Why Should I Use a Saliva Test Instead of a Blood Test?

Blood tests require you to visit a lab or office for a blood draw, and if you don’t like having your blood drawn for any reason, this test can be both painful and stressful. In addition, the stress of a blood test can increase your cortisol levels, which can influence the test. By contrast, saliva tests allow you to submit a small sample of your saliva without the need for travel or blood draws. Saliva tests are also more convenient than blood tests. Rather than visit a doctor’s office multiple times for testing and discussion, you can test at home and submit the sample to a lab for results.

Perhaps most important is the fact that hormones exist in the body in two different forms: active and inactive. Active, or “free,” hormones aren’t bound to any proteins, while inactive hormones are. Only active hormones can enter your saliva, as these can freely move throughout your body and are bioavailable for use by tissues, organs, and systems.

As a result, while blood tests capture both free hormones and inactive hormones, saliva tests only evaluate free hormones. Because of this, saliva tests do a better job of showing you exactly how your hormones are affecting you, whereas a blood test returns information on all hormones and may not give you a clear understanding of your free hormone levels.

How Accurate Are Saliva Tests?

Saliva tests are very accurate. Hormone tests are easier to analyze due to the adoption of electrospray ionization (ESI)-MS/MS. With the ability to detect hormones in ESI-MS/MS, saliva tests have been able to provide more precise results than ever before. In addition, since saliva tests measure only free, bioavailable hormones, the results provide information about hormones your body will be able to put to use.

Are Saliva Tests Effective in Addressing Infertility?

If you’re dealing with fertility problems, you can easily check your hormone levels with a saliva test. If the test reveals critical deficiencies in hormones, you can then address the deficiency to overcome infertility. Saliva tests can also reveal whether hormone replacement therapies are effective in elevating hormones to the desired levels. If you believe your estrogen levels are the source of your infertility, consider using a saliva testing kit that checks this hormone.

When Can I Take a Saliva Hormone Test?

Believe it or not, the timing of your hormone testing can influence the results. In the morning, your cortisol levels are at their highest, and they slowly decrease throughout the day. If checking your cortisol levels, you may want to take two samples of your saliva at different points of the day. If checking testosterone, anytime between 7-10 AM is recommended, as your testosterone levels decrease as the day goes on.

Depending on your menstrual cycle, you may want to wait until one week before your next period to complete a saliva test. Your menstrual cycle can affect your hormone levels, and it’s best to check your hormones before your period is due.

Why Would a Doctor Want a Saliva Test?

Doctors order hormone testing for a number of purposes, but most often to pinpoint the cause of a particular symptom or set of symptoms. Hormone tests can be used to diagnose infertility, evaluate developmental delays, determine whether menopause is occurring, and even identify the presence of disorders like PCOS and cancer. With a saliva test, you can easily use a sample of your saliva to check your hormones versus traveling to a lab for a blood draw. Because these tests are easier, less time-consuming, and extremely accurate, doctors may prefer them over other forms of testing.

Should I Get a Testing Kit or See a Doctor?

Saliva testing kits are accurate and can be done in the comfort of your home, while seeing a doctor requires you to schedule a time in the day when you have to be in an office. This can be time-consuming and even stressful for some. If you want to test your hormone levels, consider using a testing kit that can still provide accurate results. Then, schedule any necessary follow-up care with your physician.

How Do I Use the Saliva Testing Kit?

Saliva tests are simple but will come with instructions so you know what to do when the time comes.

  • Choose the time of day you wish to take the test – it’s typically best to test right away in the morning when hormone levels are optimal and unaffected by your daily routine.
  • Avoid eating, smoking, brushing your teeth, or chewing gum before the test. Drinking plain water is fine, but avoid other drinks.
  • When it’s time for the test, allow saliva to pool in your mouth, then open the tube and deposit the saliva. Tubes contain a mark that shows how much saliva is enough for a sample, typically ½ to 2/3 full.
  • If you’re taking multiple tests, repeat the steps above.
  • After the samples have been collected, place them into the supplied package, affix the mailing label, and mail them to the lab for analysis. While saliva is fine for a few days after depositing, you should try to send off your test as soon as possible.

What Do Saliva Hormone Tests Show?

Saliva tests can measure a wide range of hormone levels, depending on which you want to test. These hormones can include:

  • Cortisol
  • Estrogen
  • Testosterone
  • Progesterone
  • Estradiol
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)
  • Melatonin
  • Estrone

You can test multiple hormones at once, such as estrogen and estradiol together. Or, choose a hormone test with a grouping of hormones that includes those on your target list.

How Long Do Saliva Samples Last?

Saliva samples can last a few days. However, study show if you freeze your sample at -4 degrees Fahrenheit or below within 24 hours of retrieving the sample, it can be analyzed within 28 days. If you’re struggling to produce enough saliva for your test, you can refrigerate the sample and add more saliva at the same time of day the next day.

Can Saliva Tests Be Negative or Inaccurate?

Saliva tests are extremely accurate, but it’s important to follow the directions, or you’ll risk inaccurate results. If you receive saliva test results that show no abnormalities, but you feel your hormones need to be examined, try another test and ensure you’re producing enough saliva. If you’re struggling to produce enough saliva for the test, one tip to try is to press your tongue to the roof of your mouth.

Will Blood in Saliva Influence Results?

Yes, blood in the saliva can affect your hormone results. In order to produce an accurate test, rinse out your mouth with water until you can’t see any blood in your saliva. Then, wait 10 minutes before resuming your test. If you see blood in your test tube, you can rinse out the tube thoroughly in warm water, then place it sideways on a paper towel. After 20 minutes, you can do the test again with the same tube.

What Should I Do Before Beginning My Saliva Test?

Stress can increase your cortisol levels, so be sure to get some rest prior to doing the test. You may also need to refrain from taking certain medications leading up to your test, so read the instructions carefully. If you take stimulant medications such as Adderall, you can continue taking these as normal, as these won’t impact your results. The night before, drink plenty of water so you can produce enough saliva for the test.

What Should I Avoid Doing Before Testing Cortisol with a Saliva Test?

If doing a cortisol saliva test, it’s recommended you avoid eating and drinking 30 minutes before taking the test, with the exception of plain water. You should avoid brushing and flossing your teeth for 30 minutes before your test, as well. If you take cortisone injections, this can affect your results, so you may want to pause the injections for at least two weeks before your test. If you use a high dose of vitamin B12 supplementation, this can affect your melatonin results. Refrain from using this prior to taking a saliva test if checking for melatonin.

Can I Drink Water Before Taking a Hormone Saliva Test?

Yes, drinking plain water will not influence your saliva test. Other beverages can influence your results, so only stick to water if you’d like to hydrate before taking the test.

Do I Need to Avoid Caffeine and Chocolate Before Taking a Test?

You are not required to avoid caffeine and chocolate on the day of doing the test. While you should avoid eating and drinking anything that isn’t water 30 minutes prior to doing the test, you don’t have to avoid chocolate or caffeine earlier in the day. These do not influence the measurement of hormone levels.

Do I Need to Stop Taking Birth Control Before Taking a Saliva Test?

If you’re taking birth control pills or other oral contraceptives, you can still take a saliva hormone test. These methods of birth control become suppressed when you ovulate, meaning you can then test your hormones at any time. If you’re testing melatonin or cortisol, your results will be unaffected by birth control methods.

Can Cosmetic Products Influence Hormone Tests?

Some cosmetic products such as soaps, makeup, and hair care products can contain hormones. Testosterone can also be found in certain eyelash-lengthening products. In order to produce accurate saliva hormone tests, refrain from using these cosmetic products 24 hours prior to taking the test. Cosmetic products that don’t contain any hormones can still be used.

Suggested Reading: Anti-Aging Skin Care Essentials

Shop for Saliva Hormone Test Kits Online

While saliva hormone testing has been available for more than 40 years, technology has improved to the point where it is just as accurate and more convenient than blood testing. Still, many are unaware of its advantages. Keeping your hormone levels regulated can ensure you stay healthy far into the future, and using saliva test kits is a private, effective, and convenient method to evaluate hormone levels of all kinds.

Saliva Hormone Test Kits

At Compound Pharmacy of America, our mission is to help people struggling with all types of health issues, including infertility or other hormone-related concerns. Stocking saliva hormone testing kits is just one way we help you manage your health from the comfort of your home.

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About Matt Poteet, Pharm.D.

Chief Operating Officer, The Compounding Pharmacy of America Matthew Poteet, Pharm.D. graduated with Honors from Lee University with a Bachelors of Science in Biological Science. After his undergraduate training, he completed the Doctor of Pharmacy program at Mercer University Southern School of Pharmacy, graduating in 2004. Dr. Poteet has spent much of his pharmacy career on staff at two of the most prestigious academic teaching hospitals in the Southeast; Emory University in Atlanta and Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. At these institutions he received extensive experience and training in sterile products compounding. He returned home to East Tennessee in 2010, where he has held the position of Pharmacy Director at two sterile products pharmacies in Knoxville. Matthew lives in Knoxville with his wife, Chris. Dr. Poteet is Tennessee’s first Board Certified Anti-Aging Pharmacist by the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine. Read More About Matthew Poteet, PharmD