The DUTCH Complete Hormone test is an innovative approach to hormone evaluation. Here we discuss why it’s a great idea for all women who have menstrual cycles or who are on HRT to consider this test. You can order it directly on your own, and it comes with a written interpretation from the Precision Analytical (DUTCH) lab.
Many people order this test in advance of becoming a new patient in our practice so they get more out of their first appointment. Or, you can opt to book a NON-patient consultation with us to review your test results. (This non-patient appointment does not include medical advice, a comprehensive review of your case, or a treatment plan, however, people taking a DIY approach appreciate these consults. In addition, these consults can be used as a second opinion when you are working with a practitioner who may not be a hormone expert.)
What does the DUTCH Complete Hormone test measure?
The test measures these hormone metabolites from dried urine samples:
- DHEA and DHEA-S
Why measure all these hormones?
There are lots of reasons!
- If you have adrenal issues (manifesting as sleep, stress, anxiety, depression, or energy problems), testing your adrenal hormones and their rhythms gives definitive information on how to handle these problems. We are specifically looking at your adrenal-brain communication, known as your HPA axis (hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal).
- With fertility problems, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), fibroids, PMS, irregular periods, painful periods, moodiness, and endometriosis, this test is highly beneficial. It gives a complete picture of how adrenal and reproductive hormone imbalances contribute to these problems. We never know what the PCOS hormone picture is without testing.
- If you use hormone replacement therapy, it’s important to monitor your levels. This test works uniquely well for oral progesterone, vaginal hormones, patches, pellets, and injections. Note that this is only for hormone replacement therapy, not hormonal birth control pills!
- With sleep problems, it’s important to check melatonin and cortisol. If melatonin is low, or cortisol is high, either of these situations can cause sleep problems.
- You may have low DHEA levels. This is a “feel-good” hormone produced by your adrenal glands. When it’s low, it can cause fatigue, a decrease in muscle mass or bone density, depression, aching joints, loss of libido, and lowered immunity.
- You may have “estrogen dominance.” This is when the scales are tipped so that progesterone is low and estrogen is high. Estrogen dominance can be a factor in endometriosis, PMS, painful periods, fibrous breasts, fibroids, tender breasts, moodiness, and more. It can also make perimenopause symptoms significantly worse.
- This test shows how you metabolize estrogen through your liver. If you don’t metabolize estrogen well, your risks of estrogen-related cancers such as breast, cervical and uterine cancer can increase. THIS IS WHY WE RECOMMEND THIS TEST FOR ALL WOMEN WITH MENSTRUAL CYCLES OR ON HORMONE REPLACEMENT.
The DUTCH test add-ons
Precision Analytical added these bonus markers in 2018:
- Two B vitamins that are important for hormones: B12 and B6.
- A marker for oxidative stress (think “rusting” in your body, which damages your cells, your DNA, and your mitochondria).
- Neurotransmitters that show dopamine and first responder stress hormones (epinephrine and norepinephrine).
- Your need for glutathione, which is THE master antioxidant that you make. With low glutathione, you are impaired in your detox abilities, methylation, use of omega-3 fats, and immune function! Glutathione is often low if your environmental chemical exposure (from food, air, water, cleaning products, body products, etc.) is more than you are body can manage.
What does this test involve?
It’s easy! The kit contains paper strips that you dip in your urine at specific times over 24 hours. When the strips are dry, you mail them off in the enclosed envelope. In about two weeks you’ll receive a 16-page report. (See a sample report here.) You can use these results to get an accurate picture of your hormones and intervene if needed in a precise and personalized way. No more guessing!
What does it cost and does insurance cover it?
Insurance does NOT cover this test at this time because it is “investigative.”
Insurance may cover hormone blood tests, and these are useful as well. However, blood does not measure hormone metabolism, free cortisol, or melatonin, among other markers on the DUTCH test. Urine metabolites give unique information that a blood test does not provide. In our clinic, we often use both.
Women who changed their lives with the DUTCH test
These are a few of the thousands of women we’ve had the honor to work with and help (Name and graphic representations are fictitious to protect our patients’ identities):
Postpartum and No Periods
Melanie (age 36) had not felt herself since the birth of her second child one and a half years ago. Her periods had not returned and she suffered from insomnia, fatigue, anxiety, and depression. She had no interest in sex, and had symptoms of low thyroid (cold, tired, dry skin) even though her thyroid hormones were normal.
Findings: Menopausal ranges for progesterone, low cortisol and testosterone, elevated stress hormones.
Treatment: We also discovered Melanie had blood sugar dysregulation and nutrient deficiencies, so we addressed those as well. We used dietary changes, herbs, and supplements.
Within three months, Melanie got her period and her energy back, and her moods became much more stable and uplifted. Her skin got healthier and she felt warmer.
Estrogen Dominance and Toxic Load
Jasmine (age 29) had a myriad of hormone imbalance symptoms including anxiety, PMS, painful periods, breast tenderness, fatigue, irritability, and frequent migraines. The worst symptom was very frequent and heavy periods.
Findings: Perfect adrenal hormones, low progesterone, high estrogen, and impaired detox.
Treatment: Jasmine’s primary root cause was estrogen dominance, and we also discovered nutrient deficiencies, anemia, and low beneficial bacteria in her gut. We used herbs, supplements, foods, cyclical progesterone, acupuncture, and focused detox.
Jasmine’s first cycle on this protocol was significantly better! Each cycle improved, and after a year she had normal, pain-free periods, and her migraine incidence dropped down to very rare.
PCOS and Infertility
Gemma (age 31) knew she had PCOS and had tried healing it, but had not been successful getting off the pill and regulating her periods. It was next to impossible to know if and when she was ovulating, and she really wanted to have several children, which was frustrating and upsetting.
Findings: High testosterone, low progesterone, high estrogen, and high cortisol.
Treatment: We knew Gemma had insulin resistance to address as well. We used herbs, supplements, diet and exercise hacks, as well as stress management training to adjust her hormone imbalances and promote ovulation and regular cycles.
Within only three months, Gemma dropped 11 pounds and got pregnant!
Adrenal Dysregulation and High Cortisol
Lisa (age 51) felt exhausted for about four months ever since a demanding overseas work trip. She had a history of chronic stress from her job. She had high cholesterol and difficulty losing weight in spite of being on a low-calorie diet and doing spin class daily. And although she was on bio-identical hormone replacement therapy, she suffered from hot flashes, which were worse if she had her beloved glass (or 2) of wine at night.
Findings: High cortisol. Estrogen and progesterone levels were within normal range, with good estrogen metabolism; which meant her hormone therapy was working and it was safe to continue.
Treatment: We made lifestyle modifications such as adding calories, incorporating meditation and acupuncture, reducing exercise, and keeping wine to weekend nights. We also added herbs and supplements to regulate her adrenal (HPA axis) and lower cortisol.
Lisa’s energy improved immediately. She began to lose weight, and really enjoyed spinning less, eating more, relaxing more often, and feeling calmer.
Adrenal Dysregulation with Infertility (Poor Egg Quality)
Judy (age 27) was extremely fatigued throughout her day-to-day and relied on strong coffee to function. She felt that she never recovered after “burning the candle at both ends” during graduate school. She was ready to start a family but had not gotten pregnant yet. And she worried about her ability to conceive as doctors had told her she had “poor egg quality.”
Findings: Low cortisol, and low sex hormones—especially for her age!
Treatment: We used herbs, supplements, and foods to nurture hormone production and get her adrenals back on track.
Within six months, Judy no longer felt tired all day long. She had enough energy to work out again. And, 8 months later, she got pregnant!
Perimenopause with Estrogen Dominance
Aparna (age 44) was a breast cancer survivor and was experiencing early menopause symptoms because of the medications. She took Ativan for sleep and anxiety and wanted to get off it.
Findings: Low estrogen with poor metabolism, high stress hormones, oxidative stress, and a need for glutathione.
Treatment: Aparna had estrogen dominance previously, but now estrogen was blocked. She had nutrient deficiencies, toxic burden, and immune dysregulation (usually the case with cancer). We used nutrition, supplements, focused detox, and herbs to support her immune system, build her vitality, and help her detox function.
Over the course of a year, Aparna was able to slowly wean off Ativan, restore deep sleep, lessen her hot flashes, and reduce her anxiety. A year later, she felt that she had recovered and her vitality had returned.
Wonder if you have a hormone imbalance?
The women above demonstrate different hormone-related symptoms, and also different DUTCH test results. Each test result is unique and the findings require a specialized intervention that fits the individual. Do you wonder if this test is right for you? You can reach out and book a discovery call with us.
If you’re curious to find out if you have a hormone imbalance, you can take this assessment: