Hormones are chemicals released by different glands in the body, which are part of the endocrine system and they affect our body as a whole. They dictate how we sleep, manage stress, grow, metabolize food, and much more. So when our hormones aren’t balanced, our body functions aren’t balanced. Something as simple as the afternoon crash could mean a hormone issue! I recently did The Dutch Test and wanted to share my experience, and how this test might be able to help you! Comprehensive hormone testing is hard to come by, but The Dutch Test is definitely a great option.
Signs of Hormone Imbalance
First, let’s chat a little bit about what hormone imbalances might look like. It can be a very wide range of symptoms from mild to severe, and you may not even know it’s an issue. Now, you can’t go blaming every single symptom you have on crappy hormones. That is – until you get them tested.
Here are a few signs of a hormone imbalance:
• Excessive weight gain
• Decreased sex drive
• Hair loss
• Extreme fatigue
• Digestive distress (constipation/diarrhea)
I know each of these symptoms can be extremely annoying and infuriating, not to mention the task of trying to get to the root cause of them. I mean, how is someone even supposed to know that they need to get hormone tests done for being tired?! Well, it comes down to preventative medicine…
Everyone women should regularly get her hormones tested to stay on top of her health. Because if you don’t it turns into reactive medicine. We can’t wait for something to go wrong before we start digging, we have to get out in front of it! That is why I vow to regularly get blood work done, for both my thyroid, stress hormones and female hormones.
Hormone Testing – The Dutch Test
Precision Analytical is a company that created The Dutch Test. The company was created by a Mark Newman and a team of physicians/analytical chemists to create the perfect testing kit. It is a comprehensive hormone test taken at home, using urine samples. This company has bridged the gap between patients, health care providers and hormone testing.
The home testing kit is ordered by a provider and sent to your house. You follow the instructions, send it in with your payment and the results get sent to your provider. From there they have a team of clinicians on staff to explain the results and give recommendations for supplements! It is an easy process, and the results are so extensive.
My Dutch Test Experience
I had the pleasure of completing The Dutch Test to get my hormones tested for reasons being acne, an irregular cycle and digestive issues. So, let me explain it all to you!
First off, the test gets sent to you (or given by your provider) and you just follow the simple instructions. If you are a cycling woman, you need to complete the test 6-7 days after ovulation. If you are a menopausal woman, it doesn’t matter when you complete it!
There are 4 urine samples that are taken – 1 at dinner, 1 before bed, an optional middle of the night if you wake, immediately in the morning, and then 2 hours after waking. You then let them all dry, package them up and send them back in. It takes a few weeks for them to analyze it and then you get your results!
I wanted to dive into my results so that you can see just how extensive the test is and what all is tested!
The hormones tested include:
» Sex Hormones and Metabolites (progesterone & metabolites, estrogen and metabolites, androgens and metabolites, estradiol)
» Adrenals (creatinine, daily free cortisol and cortisone, cortisol metabolites and DHEA-S)
» Organic Acid Tests (OATs) (vitamin B12, Vitamin B6, Glutathione, dopamine metabolite, norepinephrine/epinephrine metabolite, melatonin, oxidative stress/DNA damage (measuring as 8-hydroxy-2-deoxyguanosine)
Female hormones: For my test – it showed low estradiol, estrogen metabolites and total estrogen. This could still be my body recovering from hormonal birth control, or it could have been an issue even before birth control.
Estrogen has 3 different pathways within the body – CYP3A4 (breast cancer pathway), CYP1B1 (DNA damaging pathway) and CYP1A1 (protective pathway). I am fortunately using the correct pathway (for the most part) but am slowly starting to favor the DNA damaging one. This means starting on herbs to make my body favor the protective pathway instead!
Progesterone and testosterone levels were fine as well as androgens (which means my acne is not coming from a female hormone issue).
Adrenals: The test shows that free cortisol (stress hormone) is within range, but the metabolized cortisol (overall production) is elevated. This implies that my HPA-Axis is low (the connection between the brain and endocrine/hormone system). Basically, my cortisol production is okay, but my body is not getting rid of it like it should. So if I am not detoxifying naturally and getting rid of it, it is going to stay in my body. So because production might be okay or a little low, the fact that it is hanging around for awhile is benefitting me. This could mean an issue with the thyroid (as I have had in the past). Protocol here is decreasing training volume/intensity, supporting thyroid with herbs and stopping caffeine (tears…lots of tears shed here).
DHEA was in range which means my adrenals are fully functioning…WIN!
OATs: All levels were within range, except melatonin being a bit high. Because I do not supplement with a sleep aid, this high reading could be a sign of inflammation in the gut (surprise surprise) so gut healing is on the protocol list! Taking some herbs, as well as decreasing inflammatory foods, increasing gut support foods and decreasing stress. Oxidative stress was low! This is HUGE as it is a marker for DNA damage and an increased level could mean chronic inflammation, increased cell turnover (cell death is not good), chronic stress, hypertension, diabetes, kidney disease, depression, skin conditions, liver disease, Parkinson’s and different types of cancer. It is definitely something everyone should get tested!
Overall it was definitely an eye-opening test! Learning that my thyroid is in “normal range” in terms of conventional medicine but maybe not optimal enough to support my bodies detoxifying process’ was interesting! As well as learning that my acne was not due to a female hormone/cycle issue (thank god).
It’s time to scale back my training, my coffee drinking and my stress and really focus on what is going on inside. Because if you don’t fix the root cause, you will never get better.
I know it isn’t always easy trying to find a provider to order the tests you want, because let’s be serious…when you walk into your doctors office and ask for blood work they say “I don’t think it’s medically necessary” and won’t order it for you. Well let me remind you…you have to be your own advocate! If you aren’t looking out for your own body and the future of your health, whose going to? I highly recommend getting hormone testing done regularly.
If you are interested in getting a dutch test done, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I have a practitioner that will order the test and do a phone consult with you about your results!