At-home hormone tests can indicate a hormonal imbalance. This article features the best hormone tests for fertility, menopause, and more from brands including Everlywell, LetsGetChecked, and myLAB Box.
A note about sex and gender
Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.
Hormones play an essential role in many aspects of health, from growth and metabolism to cardiovascular health and mood. Some changes in hormone levels are typical, while others can indicate an irregularity. A person may monitor their levels at home for a range of reasons.
This article explores how the tests work and which hormones people tend to monitor. It also describes six of the best testing kits on the market.
The nervous system and the endocrine system regulate the body. The nervous system uses nerves to send signals, and the endocrine regulates the body’s functions through chemical messengers that travel through the bloodstream. These messengers are hormones.
Hormonal imbalances can cause various symptoms, depending on the specific hormones involved and their levels.
Anyone who suspects 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. For example, this may be true for pregnant people or those with weakened immune systems.
Also, some hormone levels decrease with age, and older adults who regularly check their levels may find it more convenient to test from home.
Once a person makes a purchase, the company ships their testing kit.
When a person receives their kit, the first step is registering it online using the code the company provides. This ensures that the results go to the person’s online account.
The next step is to collect a blood, saliva, or urine sample using the materials in the kit. The manufacturers should include clear instructions, and most companies offer phone or video assistance.
After collecting the sample, the person ships it back to the company or a designated lab. Most companies provide prepaid shipping labels in their testing kits.
Once the company receives the sample, it sends a confirmation of receipt. It then usually 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 and can access the results online. A nurse or doctor from the company’s medical team may then contact the person to explain the results, offer advice, and send out a prescription, if necessary.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved the majority of at-home tests. It states that while at-home tests can be fast, cost-effective, and confidential, they should not replace the care of a person’s regular healthcare professional.
Results from at-home tests can vary. These products may not test as widely as tests from the doctor’s office, and several factors can influence their accuracy, including that:
there is more room for user error during sample collection
samples are at risk of contamination or damage during shipping
some companies may not use CLIA-accredited labs to analyze samples
Getting tested at a doctor’s office will ensure a person has help understanding their results. A doctor will also be able to inform a person of the best steps to take next.
People should always speak with a doctor if they are concerned about their health and not make health decisions based on at-home test results without first consulting a healthcare professional.
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 the testicles and ovaries primarily produce it. In females, checking E2 levels can help doctors identify and explain early- or late-onset puberty. In males, testing these levels can help doctors understand the cause of delayed puberty.
Follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone
At-home testing cannot replace in-person medical care. At-home test results are insufficient to diagnose a health condition, and people should not change their diet, stop or start medication, or make large lifestyle changes based on the results of an at-home test.
A person should always discuss their at-home test results with a doctor before making these changes.
Below, we answer some common questions about at-home hormone tests.
Depending on the test a person chooses, it will screen for more or fewer hormones. While tests that check more hormone levels are more expensive than basic tests, people may find they receive a more thorough overview of their hormone health.
It is possible to check hormone levels at home. People can buy at-home hormone test kits from companies such as LetsGetChecked and Everlywell. Although these tests can inform a person about various hormone levels, buyers should not change their diet, medication, or lifestyle based on the results without first discussing them with a doctor.
Many companies work with CLIA-certified and some CAP-accredited laboratories to analyze people’s hormone test samples, meaning the labs comply with federal and state regulations and go through regular checks on their tests’ accuracy.
However, at-home tests may not be as accurate as those a person can get in a doctor’s office. This may be due to a higher margin for error when people take their own samples and the risk of damage during shipments.
The FDA states that people should always discuss their at-home test results with a doctor who can interpret them based on the person’s medical history, physical exams, and other test results.
A hormone imbalance occurs when a person has too much or too little hormones in their bodies. While symptoms vary depending on which hormone is out of balance, common signs include acne, weight changes, and a lower sex drive.
The FDA states that at-home tests can be cost-effective, quick, and confidential. However, they may not test as widely or be as accurate as tests available from a doctor’s office. People looking for a test to monitor their hormone levels in conjunction with regular care from a doctor may find these tests worth it. However, getting tested at a doctor’s office will ensure a person gets the insight, support, and testing panels they need for their particular situation.
People can use at-home tests to check their hormones at home. Typically, people must provide a blood or saliva sample to use the test. However, they should speak with a doctor to discuss any concerns they have about their hormones.
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