Previously, in other blogs, I have referenced “salivary testing of hormone levels”.
For those of you who have never heard of that before, your typical response would be something like,
“Saliva? What’d you say? Did you say SALIVA? Is that sort of like a medical SNIPE HUNT, DOC??” Your first impulse would be to consider it a joke, like scheduling a colonoscopy on April 1st….!
Well, salivary testing is NOT a joke. Salivary testing has been around since the 60’s and has been proven to be MORE accurate than blood hormone testing over and over again. We live our lives in the cells of our mind and our body, not in the blood stream. Hormones travel in that very crowded blood stream from the glands that make them to their target organs. They travel almost completely bound to proteins with between 1 and 5% unbound. Only that small part of the total may leave the blood stream and enter into their target cells to accomplish their purpose. Measuring free hormones in a blood sample involves first measuring the total hormone and then subtracting out the amount of carrier protein in that blood and subtracting to find the unbound or “free” hormone. But is that 1% or 5%? Not sure? Well, that is a 400% difference, but the labs that make their living with blood tests would convince you that such is the best that can be done. But what if you measured a liquid MADE BY a cell or group of cells?? Ok, sweat might work; yes, or tears, or….Eureka! We all make over a quart a day of saliva and that is made by the acinar cells in the salivary glands!! And no needles are involved?? And it is CHEAPER THAN BLOOD??? Well, OK then!!!
Truthfully, salivary hormone testing is superior to blood testing for all sex hormones and cortisols. We send you home with a “kit” that includes some vials and you collect your “drool” in the privacy of your own home (usually alone in the bathroom so your spouse doesn’t laugh at you….). Then you bring the samples by and we send them off for you. 10 days later the results come by computer and we get you back in to see what we have learned. Easy peasy (and accurate!).
You can’t manage what you can’t measure. So measure well in order to treat well. That is what we are all about at Upper Valley Family Practice and Urgent Care. Give us a call (356-8883) and come in; it is a sure path to feeling better soon!