Updated: Nov 2, 2019
In early 2017, I found myself sitting in my doctors office, welling up with tears as I shared something I was ashamed to admit. My hair had been falling out for six months and I didn't know why. At home hormone testing was far from my mind.
...the time I spent in the shower was becoming traumatic.
...I stopped putting my hair in a ponytail because it made my scalp hurt, even when working out.
...and I'd wake up each morning rubbing my hair follicles because it felt like they couldn't breathe.
Let me back up a moment.
Before this point, I had gone to the doctor four years prior and asked them to test my hormones. This was before I knew anything about hormones, and my coworker told me you could just ask for the tests to be done. Well... she was a bit older than my then 26 years, so it might have been common in her age bracket.
Western medicine didn't see PMS or acne as a good reason to test my hormones. To me, this was my first indication that my hormones were off and I wanted to know which ones so I could fix it!
Fast forward to trying to hold myself together and my doctor finally agreed to refer me to a specialist to test my hormones. They wanted to specifically check my thyroid.
Which made me fume - why should a woman have to wait for her hair to fall out for her doctor to take her seriously when she wants to talk openly about her hormones and get to know her body?
Everything happens for a reason though, and that experience (the four years ago one) did lead me to start Balanced Bombshells!
To shorten this story, my hormone tests came back normal... no thyroid issues and I'm "healthy".
They basically sent me on my way, throwing up their hands with an "I'm sorry, we didn't find anything... so do you want to go back on the pill?"
When they tested my hormones, they did not have me pair the blood sample with my cycle. Which, now that I'm obsessed with cycle syncing and teach this concept to women, I feel like we both wasted our time. There wasn't any way they could get an accurate reading of my whole hormone panel without knowing where my cycle was!
Estrogen and progesterone fluctuate throughout the month, and in order to know what your hormones are truly up to, your cycle needs to be taken into consideration.
That's why I was so excited to learn about Let's Get Checked, a company set up for you to test specific hormones and vitamin levels, all from your comforts of home.
This post is to share my personal experience getting my hormones checked at home. I'll share which tests I used, why I chose them, what the process was like, and my test results, in case you've ever wanted to try this too.
1. The Tests
The two tests I did were the Female Hormone Test and the Ovarian Reserve. There are many other tests you can do like your thyroid, vitamin levels, liver function, cortisol, and so many more. If your man is interested in getting his hormones and wellness exams done, there are tests for him too!
Since I was able to (on my own) fix my hair from falling out (I had a progesterone deficiency that did not show up in "disease" range, which is what Western medicine tests for) and regulated my cycle (it was irregular for a few years at 40-43 days), I was curious on where my ovulation phase was at.
I had a pretty good idea since my period was now regular, but I wanted to make sure.
The Female Hormone tests the four hormones related to ovulation. This test was also super specific, as you can only collect your blood sample on the third day of your period.
You need to ovulate to have a healthy period and to get pregnant. Family planning is on my radar, so I wanted to make sure there were no issues here. And if there were, I would have time to fix them. I don't believe in waiting for something to become an issue. I want to know what I'm dealing with, so there is time to troubleshoot!
The second test I chose was the Ovarian Reserve. This tests your AMH (Anti Mullerian Hormone) which gives a good indication on the number of viable eggs you have left. It can be a good indication of fertility.
Here is a look at my online dashboard with the two tests I've completed. It's easy to click on the one you want to look at, which will bring you to your results.
Sunny Disclaimer: if you are on the pill or use the IUD, the female hormone panel may not be the best test for you until you come off them. You need to be ovulating for an accurate reading, and the pill/IUD masks ovulation. This is why women aren't meant to get pregnant while using these contraceptives
2. Taking Your Blood Sample
Let's Get Checked mailed the kits immediately to my house, which was super convenient. Each kit walks you through how to create an online profile and set up the specific numeric sequence attached to your test.
This way their lab will be able to keep track of your blood sample and provide you with your results. It was easy to set up and I recommend doing this before you take your sample.
To start, you take the blood sample before eating anything. I usually wake up starving, so this was helpful where I didn't have to drive to a clinic and have to wait for my much anticipated breakfast.
Next, I watched their how-to video, which they share a link to in a pamphlet that comes with the test. I DEFINITELY recommend watching this video!
Because I was waiting for the third day of my period, I took the Ovarian Reserve first. It could be taken on any day of your cycle.
The kit comes with four finger pricks and a vial where you put droplets of blood from your finger in. There is a max fill line that you need to reach. If you do not reach this line, then the sample would be considered unusable. You don't want to waste your money by missing this line!
Man, that first test... I had to watch the video four times - haha.
I'm also terrified of needles. Like it's a whole thing and I can't look at them. So I was scared on having to prick my own finger. My anxiety was running high and those hunger pangs motivated me to get over myself.
Thankfully, with the finger pricks, you never see the needle. You hold it over your finger, push down, and it pricks your finger. Once you prick, you hold your finger over the vial and allow the blood drops to flow down. You can squeeze/massage your finger to help increase blood flow.
I didn't have enough blood from the first finger, so I had to prick another one... and another... and another.. I used all four!
This was not something I was expecting and then had to walk around for a few hours with bandaids on half my hands. Later that night I also forgot about them and started chopping onions... which stung!
Tyler, my main squeeze, had taken a food sensitivity test at home a few months prior and said I should do jumping jacks beforehand to get the blood flowing more.
I tried this when I took the Female Hormone Test and it worked so much better! I only had to prick two fingers on that one.
After taking the blood sample, you put the cap on and shake the vial. This helps keep the sample viable to be sent to the lab. You then package the sample and drop it off to be mailed - on the same day.
Make sure you test on a day you know you can drop the sample in the mail.
Shipping was paid for, so it was convenient to just walk in and drop it off.
3. The Results
They advertise that you'll get your results online within 5 days. This was where I was pleasantly surprised. A nurse emailed me and mentioned they had tried calling to discuss my test results (I never pick up on a number I don't know). They wanted to schedule a convenient time to call back.
I honestly hadn't thought I'd talk to someone directly. I thought I'd just get my results online and have to figure out what they meant. This was beyond helpful and I was really touched.
A nurse called back almost immediately and walked me through my results. They explained what each test meant, what the hormones being tested were indicating, and took time to answer my questions - which were a lot.
For the ovarian reserve, I was nervous. I almost didn't do this test because there was a part of me that thought ignorance was bliss. What if my eggs sucked? What if my fertility is low?
Regardless of the answers, I needed to know.
Here is what my Ovarian Reserve results were.
You ideally want to be somewhere in the middle of the two black lines, and I was! The nurse explained that for my age, this is a really good result. I'm 32 and she mentioned these were numbers women see in their early to mid twenties, so I was thankful.
Tyler and I were at his family's house for Thanksgiving when I got these results and it was a great way to ease some of my fears, while saying my gratitude prayers.
For the Female Hormone Panel, this is what the panel looks like with all four hormones tested. You can then click on each one to see what your results are.
The nurse answered my questions confirming what each hormone meant and what each was for. The Lutenising and Follicle stimulating hormone help with egg release and control ovulation.
Prolactin is related to milk production for breast feeding. And Oestradiol is a kind of estrogen, which you want balanced because it could through off the relationship with progesterone. Progesterone is another sex hormone you need for pregnancy and carrying a baby to term.
I was most concerned with the lutenising hormone since when I first got my hormones tested, this was the only one that was slightly off. Which made sense because at the time, my period was delayed.
As you can see in these results, it was back in normal range and was great confirmation! My period has been on track over the past year, so I was pleased that it showed up in my blood work.
Now you've got the ins and outs on two at home hormone tests related to your ovulation and family planning. Don't forget to use my code, BOMBSHELLS, at checkout if you're going to try any of these hormone tests!
*this post contains affiliate links, which means if you were to make a purchase with Let's Get Checked, at no cost to you, Balanced Bombshells, LLC will make a commission.
Curious on learning even more about your hormones? Become a member of the Balanced Bombshells Lifestyle Plan today!