Why saliva testing?
Salivary hormone test
Hormones can be examined using a saliva test. When determining hormones in the saliva, only the free and bio-available proportion of the hormones are measured. This is the proportion of the hormones that are not bound to proteins and can actively be used by our cells: for example, in the brain, in the uterus, in the skin and so on. This proportion can change, depending on whether we are healthy or fighting an infection. Saliva tests are non-invasive and therefore not associated with pain, unlike blood tests. The saliva test can be carried out regardless of time and place, and is not subject to the opening hours of doctors' practices. If certain hormones are being tested more than once on a daily basis, this flexibility is particularly useful for creating daily hormone profiles. Nightly and monthly profiles are also more practical to obtain for this reason. During the day, large amounts of hormones are released periodically, making it sensible to collect mixed samples throughout the day so that an average value can be calculated. Hormones taken by saliva test have a high stability because the accuracy of the results is not manipulated by being stored for several days or at room temperature.
Hormones can be determined using a blood test. For the determination of hormones from the blood, collecting a blood sample is necessary. This can either be taken from a vein with a needle or collected after a small prick of the fingertip. When determining hormones using a blood test, the proportion of hormones which are attached to protein and circulating in the body is measured. The bio-available proportion of hormones in the body, which are not attached to proteins, are not taken into consideration. The hormones are measured at the time the extraction of the blood sample takes place, resulting in a time-bound recording.
Hormonal fluctuations over the day cannot be taken into consideration by this procedure. Most of the hormones are expressed as total values, although the free as well as the bound proportions are included.
24h urine test
Hormones can be measured using a 24-hour urine test. This tests involves collecting the urine over a time period of 24 hours. For this time period the hormones that are released and circulating within the body, as well as the metabolites of certain hormones, are measured. It must be taken into consideration that the hormones are not the same at every time of the day, but rather tend to fluctuate over the course of the day. The collection of the urine over a time period of 24 hours compensates for these fluctuations. The test is meant to offer an insight into your metabolism on an average day, to provide a picture of your hormone levels and to find out how both can affect your symptoms. It is important to collect all urine samples over the 24 hours. If the collecting of one sample is forgotten then the procedure must be repeated and the urine once again collected over 24 hours.