Menopause Test Options -Blood Tests and Saliva Testing for Menopause Hormone Evaluation
Debate continues in the medical community regarding the saliva test and its place in menopause hormone testing and natural hormone balancing.
If you are new to the whole concept of natural HRT, you may not yet be familiar with this menopause test option.
Unfortunately, your doctor may not be aware of this testing method, either, or may not be willling to try it, even at your request. Insurance providers are sometimes reluctant to pay for this type of menopause test, so you may have to pay for this yourself. (in my opinion, it was worth the extra cost in my situation)
Saliva testing has been in use for for over thirty years. However, many doctors and other health professionals still order and rely on serum blood tests to monitor progress in natural hormone replacement.
Unlike blood tests, saliva tests can be done in the comfort and convenience of the patient’s home and the cost can be substantially less. Much scientific data exists which proves the validity of saliva testing yet many doctors–and insurance companies – still prefer to use serum blood testing.
Is Saliva Testing A Reliable Menopause Test?
So why does saliva testing provide superior diagnosic results for hormone levels? Simply put, routine blood serum and blood plasma tests show total hormone levels but do not accurately reflect ‘free hormone’ levels. In other words, serum tests cannot accurately show biologically active hormone levels.
Research shows that the circulating hormones made by the adrenal glands and ovaries are bound to proteins, held in little ‘protein envelopes’ by SHBG (sex-hormone-binding-globulin) or CBG (cortisol-binding-globulin). Because these hormones are protein-bound, they are not biologically active.
Saliva tests reveal the levels of unbound proteins in the body. Only about ten percent of circulating hormones are free (unbound) and available to the cells at any given time.
According to Marla Ahlgrimm, the founder of Women’s Health America Group, and author of the book, The HRT Solution,
…”hormone levels have traditionally been assessed indirectly by using an FSH/LH test or directly using a serum test…the interaction between the sex steroids and FSH/LH levels is complex and cannot indicate hormone levels accurately…studies demonstrate the accuracy of saliva for the measurement of free-hormone levels. Clinical trials have validated the specificity of the method by detecting increases and decreases in hormone levels following therapy.”
Ms. Ahlgrimm, R. Ph., is an expert in natural hormone replacement, having pioneered individualized low-dose natural HRT in the 1970′s.
Other professionals in the field of natural hormone replacement, who advocate saliva testing are the late Dr. John Lee, Dr.
David Zava, Ph.D. of ZRT laboratories and John Kells, cofounder and chief executive of Aeron LifeCycles Clinical Laboratory.
For further study on this subject, you may find the web sites of several testing labs to be a good resource.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or other medical condition. This information is provided for educational and informational purposes only. Please consult with your doctor should you have specific health questions or concerns.