What Is the DUTCH Hormone Test and How Can It Help Me?
The DUTCH Hormone test is an expanded hormone panel used to assess the hormone imbalance in women and is especially useful for those going through the stages of perimenopause to post-menopause.
Hormones maintain all sorts of bodily functions, including managing appetite, metabolism, mood, stress, sleep cycles, and sexual function. When even one hormone is out of balance, uncomfortable symptoms can occur.
When women are experiencing symptoms like painful menstruation, headaches, PMS, fatigue, mood swings, anxiety, and depression, the DUTCH hormone test can point medical providers to the source of the problem.
DUTCH stands for Dried Urine Test for Comprehensive Hormones. A small amount of urine is collected to measure reproductive and adrenal hormones including melatonin and oxidative stress. These urine samples are collected four or five times over the span of 24 hours and are collected onto filter paper, dried, and then sent off to the lab.
The kind of hormones measured in the DUTCH hormone test include:
Why is The DUTCH Hormone Test Better Than Other Tests?
DUTCH hormone testing is a comprehensive test of multiple hormones and can give a better understanding of what is going on. For some, it gives a more accurate reading than other hormone tests.
For instance, say you are testing for cortisol via a blood test: when you test cortisol levels in the blood you only get an assessment of cortisol levels at that particular time of the day. It is impractical to get blood drawn for testing multiple times in a day and so results can often be skewed.
Serum testing is one of the most worldwide accepted forms of testing. Sticking with our example of cortisol testing, serum testing can be lacking because adrenal hormones cannot be accurately assessed due to free cortisol levels changing throughout the day.
Urine testing can be an awkward process with quite a lot of room for error. It is suggested that about 40% of urine tests are taken inaccurately. Furthermore, an accurate assessment of cortisol and free cortisol cannot be accurately taken from a urine test. Often, this test is paired with a saliva test, which more accurately can test levels of free cortisol. The DUTCH hormone test takes away the necessity of having two tests.
Saliva tests are one of the most accurate ways to measure free cortisol levels. However, levels of metabolized cortisol also need to be measured and a saliva test alone can not accurately measure most metabolized hormones.
Why Is The DUTCH Hormone Test Useful?
The DUTCH test allows for an accurate assessment of progesterone levels because it can measure progesterone metabolites. The more conventional hormone blood test, used by most doctors, may not be as precise when looking for additional problems.
When metabolites of progesterone are functioning properly they will cross into the brain and attach themselves to GABA receptors which regulate your mood and help you sleep.
Another advantage of the DUTCH hormone test is that it can measure the metabolite, Androsterone. If the test indicates a certain level of androsterone, it can be helpful for medical practitioners to be able to diagnose PCOS, a hormonal disorder common to women of reproductive age.
Additional uses for the DUTCH hormone test include:
● Adrenal Fatigue. Testing adrenal hormones can give medical providers possible answers about a woman’s sleep and stress issues by understanding if the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and adrenal glands (aka the HPA axis) are communicating properly.
● Hormone Replacement Therapy. The DUTCH test can give the medical provider information that can help them determine the best hormone replacement therapy for you.
● DHEA Levels. By testing DHEA levels, a hormone that regulates your mood, medical practitioners may be able to determine the cause of fatigue, depression, low muscle mass, low libido, aching joints, and lowered immunity.
● Estrogen Dominance. When a woman has too much estrogen and too little progesterone, it may cause PMS, endometriosis, painful periods, tender breasts, and moodiness.
● How Estrogen Metabolizes. When estrogen isn’t metabolized correctly, women can be at risk for such cancers as cervical, uterine, and breast cancer.
If you’re experiencing symptoms like heavy periods, fatigue, moodiness, headaches, decreased sex drive, fibroids, or hormonal weight gain, and want to figure out exactly what’s causing it, we can help.
Contact us today to learn more.