Hormones in perimenopause and menopause are very complex and at HHA we strongly believe in testing your hormones in order to customize the best possible treatment plan to get you feeling like the best version of yourself.
Many doctors will blindly treat hormones and give hormone replacement therapy without doing the appropriate testing. How can you possibly know what to target without looking inside the body? If your phone stopped working, you wouldn’t just bang it on the table and hope for the best. You would take it to a technician to run a diagnostic to find out what is wrong with it so that the appropriate measures could be taken to fix it. It is the same for your hormones. We need to do the diagnostics.
At HHA we often use the DUTCH test. DUTCH stands for Dried Urine Test for Comprehensive Hormones. This test looks at over 45 different measures of your hormones health. The report we receive is 8 pages of amazing hormone information!
The DUTCH test is done through a series of urine collections. In you test kit, you will find 5 sample collections strips that you pee directly on (kind of like a pregnancy test). You will do this 4-5 times over the course of around 16 hours. There are a few rules when completing the DUTCH test such as limitations on alcohol, caffeine and fluid intake. This is to make sure we are getting the most accurate results. Once you have collected your samples, you will let them dry for 24 hours and then mail them off in the prepaid mailing envelope. The results should be delivered to your health care provider within 4-6 weeks.
The DUTCH test gives us a comprehensive look at all of the sex hormones (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and DHEA). It also shows us how you metabolize estrogen. Once estrogen is used in the body, it needs to be metabolized and broken down to be excreted out of the body. There are 3 ways we can do this. One “good” way and two “bad” ways that are cancer promoting. The DUTCH test tells us how much you are metabolizing down the “Bad” pathways and whether we should be addressing this to decrease your future cancer risk. The test also looks at you adrenal function. Your adrenal glands are responsible for handling your stress response and secreting cortisol, “the stress hormone”. Cortisol has a huge impact on your other hormones so seeing whether it is high, low or normal really helps dictate treatment targets. With hormone imbalances often comes sleep disturbances and insomnia so the DUTCH test also looks at your melatonin, “the sleepy hormone”. This way, we can tell if sleep problems are related to just melatonin or a combination of other hormone imbalances.
The DUTCH test is helpful whenever you are experiencing hormone related symptoms. Symptoms in perimenopause and menopause are complex and impossible to interpret without the corresponding lab tests. This is because our bodies are tricky and often the symptoms of a hormone being too high can actually be the same as the symptoms for a hormone being too low! If you are still have regular cycles then you will do the DUTCH test 7 days after ovulation is confirmed. Check out our blog on cycle tracking to find out how you can determine ovulation. If you no longer get a cycle then you can complete the DUTCH test on any day. If you have irregular cycles then you will want to speak to your Hormone Health Associate to help you figure out what the best day to do your test will be.
If you’re curious how HHA can help you navigate perimenopause and feel great during menopause, book your free 20-minute discovery call here.