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Some changes in hormone levels are expected, while others can indicate an irregularity. A person may monitor their levels at home for a range of reasons.
Hormones play an essential role in many aspects of health, from growth and metabolism to cardiovascular health and mood.
At-home hormone tests are becoming increasingly popular because of their relative privacy and comfort. Taking a test typically involves mailing a blood, urine, or saliva sample to a lab.
Below, we explore how the tests work and which hormones people tend to monitor. We also describe five testing kits on the market.
The body is regulated and controlled by the nervous system and the
- growth and development
- sexual function
- mood and behavior
- heart function
Hormonal imbalances can cause a wide range of symptoms, depending on the specific hormones involved and their levels.
Anyone who suspects that their symptoms result from an imbalance should contact a doctor. If they diagnose a health issue related to hormones, a person might also consider testing their hormone levels at home for greater clarity.
Some people require continued monitoring and may prefer the comfort and convenience of at-home tests. This may be true for people who are pregnant or have weakened immune systems, for example.
Also, some hormone levels
A person can purchase a home hormone test online from various labs. Most do not accept direct billing from health insurance providers.
Before buying a test, it may be a good idea to check whether the insurance provider will reimburse the cost. If so, a person can forward an invoice from the lab to their insurance company with their claim for reimbursement.
Once a person makes a purchase, the lab ships their testing kit.
When a person receives their kit, the first step is to register it online using a code provided by the lab. This ensures that the test results go to the person’s online account.
The next step is to collect a blood, saliva, or urine sample using the materials provided in the kit. The kit will also include instructions, and most labs offer assistance via phone or video.
After collecting the sample, the person ships it back to the lab. Most labs provide prepaid shipping labels in their testing kits.
Once the lab receives the sample, it sends a confirmation of receipt. Often, it then sends the sample to a partner lab for processing. This usually takes 3–5 business days.
When the results are ready, the person receives a notification that they can access their results online. A nurse or a doctor from the lab’s medical team may then contact the person to explain their results, offer advice, and send out a prescription if necessary.
Below, we explore the roles that these hormones play and why people monitor their levels.
Commonly known as the stress hormone, cortisol is produced by the adrenal glands.
Checking cortisol levels can help doctors learn how well these glands are functioning and diagnose various disorders, including Cushing’s syndrome and Addison’s disease.
Estrogens are crucial for the development and function of the reproductive organs. In females, they also support the development of what doctors call “secondary sex characteristics,” such as breasts.
One type of estrogen is called estradiol, or E2, and it is primarily produced in the testicles and ovaries. In females, checking E2 levels can help doctors identify and explain early onset puberty. In males, testing these levels can help them understand the cause of delayed puberty.
Follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone
Melatonin regulates the sleep cycle. A doctor may order a test to assess melatonin secretion patterns and the function of the pineal gland.
The pituitary gland secretes thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), and checking TSH levels can indicate how well the thyroid is functioning. It can help doctors diagnose hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
T3 and T4
Triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) are the two main hormones that the thyroid gland produces.
Checking levels of both T4 and TSH can give a doctor a good idea of the thyroid’s function. T3 levels help doctors diagnose hyperthyroidism and its severity.
A person looking for an at-home hormone test might consider one of the following options.
Everlywell says it only works with labs that have been certified at the state and federal levels.
This test looks at four hormones associated with general health in males, including dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S). This hormone plays an important role in producing testosterone and estrogen and supports the development of male sexual characteristics.
The other three hormones that the test checks for are:
- free testosterone
The kit requires a person to give a blood and saliva sample.
Doctors that are board-certified in the person’s state review the results, and a person can see their results online within a few days. A person also receives detailed information about what the results may indicate and other personalized information.
Like the male hormone test, this checks levels of cortisol, estradiol, free testosterone, and DHEA-S. In addition, it tests levels of:
- free T3
- free T4
- thyroid peroxidase antibodies
Otherwise, the process is the same as that described above. A person needs to give samples of blood and saliva, and they can access their results and personalized information within a few days.
This checks levels of:
A person needs to give a blood sample using a finger-prick technique described in the kit’s instructions.
The company says that its team physicians preview orders and check results. It also says that nurses are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer any questions.
Once the lab receives the kit, a person can view their results within 5 days.
This checks levels of:
- free androgen index
- sex hormone-binding globulin
Otherwise, the process is the same as that described above. A person collects a blood sample using a finger-prick technique and sends it to the lab. Within 5 days, the results are available for viewing online.
This checks levels of:
- morning cortisol
Once the lab receives the sample, a person can view their results within 3–5 days. This company does not provide access to a healthcare professional, and so it cannot offer prescriptions.
At-home testing cannot replace in-person medical care. These results alone cannot be used to diagnose a health condition.
A person should contact a healthcare professional if they:
- have questions about their health
- have been exposed to an infectious agent
- have a family history of any health condition
- are experiencing new or changing symptoms
Hormones play an essential role in a person’s health and well-being. At-home tests can be a straightforward and convenient way for a person to monitor levels of specific hormones.
While many testing kits are available, it is worth keeping in mind that these tests alone cannot be used to diagnose a health issue. Anyone with concerns should seek advice from a healthcare professional.