Why I love the dutch test
How many weeks, months or years have you wasted seeing your doctor and doing blood tests only to be told that your hormones are normal and there is nothing wrong. However, the giant cysts on your chin, painful periods, and anxiety tell you otherwise.
Now don’t mistake this as an anti-doctor rant because it certainly isn’t. Most doctors don’t have the access to this kind of testing and are not trained to interpret or use these tests.
There are a few different ways to test your sex hormones: blood, saliva and urine. My preference is to use an at-home dried urine test AKA the DUTCH (Dried Urine Total Complete Hormones) test.
Why I use the DUTCH test
Simply, because it shows me the full picture of what is going on with your sex hormones, sleep hormones and adrenal hormones.
The reason I favor urine over blood for these hormones is that by taking 4-5 samples over 24 hours you are getting a far more accurate picture than one blood sample which is just a snapshot. Your hormones fluctuate massively over the day so by testing a few times you get a better idea of what is happening. The other reason for using urine for sex hormone testing instead of blood or saliva is that it shows me the metabolites of the major hormones. This is important as it is the metabolites that often have the biggest effect on your symptoms.
Metabolites = intermediate products of hormone reactions that the body uses for further reactions and then needs to detoxify.
Who should take the test?
Anyone who is experiencing:
- Painful periods
- Heavy periods
- Irregular periods
- Trouble falling pregnant
- Weight gain
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome
How do you take the test?
If you have a regular menstrual cycle you take the test between day 19-22, if you don’t then you can take it any day, but ideally on a normal workday – not a crazy, or super relaxed day. You use the test at home by urinating on the strips or dipping the test strips into your urine at 4-5 different times over the day, let the strips dry, then send back to the lab. Easy!
What does the DUTCH test actual test for?
- Estrogen and 8 metabolites – this shows me how much estrogen you are making, and more importantly how your body is breaking down and clearing the estrogen via the liver. Are you making the protective form of estrogen or more of the two harmful metabolites that are linked with some cancers?
- Androgens – your ‘male’ hormones, and the ones that can cause cystic acne, hair loss, weight gain, low libido and facial hair.
- Progesterone – your happy, calm, content hormone, the one produced after ovulation. Do you have enough of this at the right time of your cycle?
- Cortisol – I can see how much active vs inactive cortisol you have and how much you produce over the day. Feeling burnt out? Then you need to understand what is going on so you can treat it properly, as feeling fatigued and burnt out has two causes with very different treatments.
- Melatonin – your sleep hormone, it is important to know how much and when you make this hormone for better sleep at night and to feel awake instead of groggy in the morning.
- Organic Acids – these are markers used to measure some nutrients (B12, and B6) and mood hormones (dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine), as well as your level of oxidative stress or DNA damage.
What do you do with the information?
You use it! Well… I use it and translate it into diet, lifestyle and supplement recommendations to help you improve your hormonal picture. You can see an example of what the test results look like here.
If you are trying to treat without testing you are just stabbing in the dark. Often similar symptoms are caused by completely different hormonal imbalances, and if treated wrong can make you feel worse, or further impair your fertility. Rather than wasting time and money treating the wrong thing, it is always best to first test then treat exactly what is going on.
Where can I buy a DUTCH test kit?
Test kits must be purchased and interpreted by a qualified practitioner.