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What is the DUTCH test and can it support hormone balance?

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can the DUTCH test help support hormone balance

In recent years, hormone imbalances have become increasingly common among men and women. They affect many different aspects of health and wellbeing, including mood, energy levels, weight management, and a host of issues with the menstrual cycle. Fortunately, modern science has provided us with new tools to help pinpoint these imbalances.

Only when we know which hormones are out of balance can we address the issues and put things right. One test in the functional medicine practitioner’s toolkit is the DUTCH hormone test.

In this blog, you will discover what the DUTCH test is, what it can measure and how it may help support hormone balance.

What is the DUTCH Test?

DUTCH stands for Dried Urine Test for Comprehensive Hormones. It’s a state of the art test offering a detailed peek into your hormone levels. It uses several urine samples, which are then dried and sent away for analysis. Dried urine has been shown in research to be an effective way of measuring hormone levels 1.

Therefore, it provides a complete picture of your hormone production and metabolism over time. This is in contrast to a blood test which can only provide a snapshot of your hormone levels at a single point.

Which Hormones Are Tested?

Depending on the test chosen, hormones tested include oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone, the so-called reproductive hormones. Cortisol, DHEA and melatonin, plus levels of brain transmitters can also be tested. This builds up a picture of the comparative levels of your hormones and pinpoints whether one or more are out of balance.

Crucially, the tests also measure how your body is metabolising hormones – in other words, what happens to them once they’re produced. Hormones can be metabolised in several different ways, with some forms less beneficial than others and having potentially different health effects.

For What Conditions are DUTCH Tests Indicated?

The DUTCH tests are reliable and accurate tools to assess hormone levels and identify imbalances contributing to many different symptoms. These include fatigue, weight gain, low mood, and problems sleeping.

If progesterone and oestrogen are out of balance, issues can occur like problems conceiving, PMS, irregular or heavy periods, PCOS, hot flushes, night sweats and joint pains.

Stress and reproductive hormones don’t operate in isolation, so the test can be very helpful if you have been under long-term stress.

Your stress hormone cortisol naturally fluctuates over a 24-hour period, so a test revealing any deviations from this natural rhythm can be useful to discover whether ongoing stress is contributing towards your health issues 2.

Can the DUTCH Test Map my Cycle?

Naturally, when you are cycling, your oestrogen and progesterone vary over the month in a predictable pattern. Oestrogen levels start low and increase as you approach ovulation, before falling again shortly before your period starts. Progesterone levels naturally rise steeply following ovulation, then drop before menstruation. Any disruption from this natural pattern can lead to irregular cycles, fertility issues, and PMS.

If your cycle is irregular or you are experiencing symptoms that fluctuate throughout the month, it doesn’t make sense to test your hormones on a single day. Your levels the following day could be significantly different.

If this sounds like you, the DUTCH Cycle Mapping Test may be recommended. This test measures your hormone levels by taking 25 samples over the course of a month. By so doing, the test will reveal whether your hormones are rising and falling at the correct time of the month and detect any patterns or fluctuations in your hormone levels.

Is the DUTCH Test Suitable for Menopause?

support hormone balance during menopause. Image shows scrabble pieces with words like menopause, estrogen, age, hot flushes etc

After menopause, your body stops producing hormones according to the same monthly pattern as it did when you were having periods. Therefore, it might not be necessary to take several hormone samples over the month. This means the single-day DUTCH Plus Test may be more appropriate for you if you are having bothersome symptoms. This test takes several samples over the course of 24 hours.

Your practitioner can advise on the most suitable test for your circumstances and health goals.

Is the DUTCH Test Suitable for Men?

Hormone imbalance is common in men as well as women. Therefore, the DUTCH Plus Test can be useful to pinpoint any imbalances in reproductive and stress hormones in men contributing to health issues.

Can the DUTCH Test be Done at Home?

Yes, the test is simple to use at home. You then need to post it back to the laboratory by next day delivery.

Is the DUTCH Test Legitimate?

The DUTCH Test was developed and validated by leading experts in the field of hormone health. It’s used by thousands of registered practitioners all over the world to help restore hormone balance in both men and women. The sample and analyses methods have been rigorously tested to be certain they are effective and precise 3, 4. Further, the test has been found to accurately indicate whether or not women are ovulating 5, and revealed differences in hormone levels between women who were having periods and those who were not 6, so we do know that it accurately reflects hormone levels.

Can a DUTCH test help support hormone balance?

What is the DUTCH test and can it support hormone balance. The image shows a medical person holding the words hormone and balance.

You may have heard the term ‘balanced hormones’ and wondered what it means. Your hormones have intricate relationships to each other, and these alter from hour to hour and day to day. It’s this equilibrium between the various hormones that is essential to health. However, in cases of ill-health, the level of one hormone may raise and another may fall. This situation, for example, occurs in the case of ‘oestrogen dominance’ which is connected with a range of symptoms and health risks including conditions like PMS, irregular periods and fibroids 

One of the key benefits of the DUTCH test is its ability to provide a complete picture of your hormone levels, tracked through the day or over the month. This detailed analysis can reveal patterns of hormone production and metabolism. Furthermore, it can indicate complex interactions between hormones that are contributing towards your symptoms.

Once we have identified imbalance with the DUTCH test.

Once these issues are identified, your practitioner can then develop a targeted treatment plan, personalised to you, to address and support your specific imbalances. This may include recommendations for dietary modifications, nutritional or herbal supplements, lifestyle strategies or other therapies to support healthy hormone production and metabolism. Because different hormone imbalances can produce many similar symptoms, without knowing which hormones are out of kilter, any treatment will be, by necessity, largely guesswork.

In addition to identifying hormone imbalances, the DUTCH test can also help monitor your progress over time. By periodically retesting, you and your practitioner can easily track changes in your hormone levels. This will enable your practitioner to adjust your treatment plan as needed to ensure optimal hormone balance and overall health.

Is the DUTCH Test Right for me?

If you have been searching for answers to your health issues without success, and you are confused about the advice you’ve been receiving, then it’s time to start looking for causes. You may have been told your hormone levels are ‘normal’ when they’ve been tested at a single moment in time, but you still don’t feel right.

The DUTCH Test and Functional Medicine

Functional medicine believes in finding out the root causes of your health issues. A key tool in this detective work is functional testing, which is always carried out alongside a detailed case history. But the bonus of testing is it can pinpoint exactly what’s happening inside your body to cause the symptoms that are bothering you.

If you are experiencing symptoms that could indicate hormone imbalance, contact us to discuss how the DUTCH test could help support your hormone balance and health.

References

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