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Old 05-26-2009, 03:32 PM   #1
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Saliva tests vs. blood tests for hormone testing

Well, I've been calling some doctors to see if they do saliva testing and I'm hitting some brick walls. The problem is that my insurance won't cover the one I want to go to because the doctor doesn't participate in insurance. This woman is very expensive $300-400 and there's no way we can afford that. So, my question is: Is there really that big of a difference between saliva and blood tests for hormones in terms of the kind of results you get? I mean, isn't a blood test just as good? From everything I've read, it's not. What about getting a saliva kit at a pharmacy? How does that work exactly? I'm not even sure I can afford that. My insurance says they'll cover it 'if I'm in menopause'. What the heck does that mean? That my periods have to cease before they'll cover it? It'll be a long time before that happens since I'm only in perimenopause. Anyway, I have a list of doctors I got from a compounding pharmacy. Once I get the results back from the saliva test, do I go to one of them for prescription creams? Please help. I've been feeling horrible lately like I got run over by a truck. I'm depressed, achy, no sex drive, and just generally feel like garbage. I don't think my progesterone cream is working anymore. Please help. :-(

 
Old 05-26-2009, 04:49 PM   #2
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Re: Saliva tests vs. blood tests for hormone testing

I have an appointment with a new doctor who is having me complete saliva testing because of my age and symptoms. This particular test takes 4 samples throughout the day and measures estradiol, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA-S and cortisol. He said this test is beneficial because it gets a picture of what happens to the hormone levels throughout the day. However, it is expensive and I had to think hard whether or not to do it. I haven't seen the doctor yet, but I was told by his assistant that he would have a compounding pharmacy formulate whatever may be needed, if anything. I know there are some places you can buy saliva testing kits without doctor's orders, but they are still expensive. Going that route, you may not be getting the tests that would be most helpful for you and then you don't have someone to interpret them for you and prescribe a course of treatment.

That said, I talked to the nurse-practitioner at my ob/gyn's office and she said she can effectively measure hormone levels through blood tests. She also told me that while a woman is in perimenopause is the time to do HRT if it's going to be done at all. She said she won't use HRT if someone is already in menopause. If I didn't need this other doctor to take care of problems with my thyroid and adrenals, I would have started with the blood tests through the ob/gyn's office. Maybe you can find someone who your insurance will cover and get a consultation and blood work through them. If it's not too expensive, that would be a good way to start. I think it's possible to get good results without having to pay for the saliva testing. There are definitely differing opinions among medical professionals regarding saliva testing. Some think it's the best way to go, while others don't believe in it at all. Best of luck to you!

 
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Old 05-26-2009, 05:52 PM   #3
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Re: Saliva tests vs. blood tests for hormone testing

Thanks so much for your quick reply, much appreciated. My insurance company said that the only way they'd cover me seeing that doctor I wanted to see was if there wasn't anyone else in-network that done that type of testing. If there isn't, then my primary care doctor has to submit an out-of-network referral form to my insurance. After that, it's hurry up and wait to hear back from them. So, I guess I have to make some more calls tomorrow. I've been so drained lately I can barely pull myself out of bed, let alone make a phone call. I also can't even talk about my hormone issues anymore without crying. I've been crying half the day. Anyway, I suppose if worse comes to worse, I'll do another blood test if I can't afford anything else. My last one was last November. I'll definitely be looking for a different doctor, though. The last one was a new doctor and sat down and talked to me for all of five to ten minutes. She quickly went over my bloodwork with me and sent me on my way with a script for a supposed biodentical hormone called Prometrium. I told her that I was sensitive to side effects and asked her what could I expect from this drug as far as that goes. She just said that it would make me tired and might make my periods irregular. Well, I went home and did my research and the side effects were way more than just what she mentioned. Many of which were things I was already going through with the peri, specifically depression and mood swings. These were common side effects. Nice. I also have a history of depression since I was a young child, and I told her this too. Obviously, it fell on deaf ears. Needless to say, I don't trust her and will never see her again.

Last edited by kittywitty; 05-26-2009 at 06:04 PM.

 
Old 05-28-2009, 06:11 PM   #4
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Smile Re: Saliva tests vs. blood tests for hormone testing

Kittywitty,
Hi! I saw you on another post. I have had blood tests and saliva tests. My insurance covered the tests.. but unfortunately NOT the doctor.
My results were very similar for both blood and saliva. The saliva panel I had however revealed more things about the brain such as serotonin, dopimine, ect... blood does not show.
The best doctor I found did the blood tests and she calls herself antiaging doctor specializes in bioidentical hormones. I believe you are on the right path by going to a compounding pharmacy and askiing their choice of doctors. That is exactly how I found my good dr... befriended a compound pharmacist and after getting to know him and feeling he is intelligent and reputable asked his opinions.
I am on oral progesterone. I have read cream is better... but my doctor diagrees saying dose is more controlled.
To make a long story short.. I was taken off the progesterone for a while due to some abnormal other hormone levels. I felt absolutely HORRIBLE.... terrible insomnia, anxiety, fatigue, headaches, ect. I had my levels rechecked and they were very low. I am back on..I am JUST now after a month starting to feel somewhat back in touch with life again.
I guess the moral of the story is ... you can feel so crappy with perimenopause. Find a good dr... if you try one and don't like their approach move on quickly... don't waste time or $$. I had to go thru many drs til I found one who really listens.
Good luck ... hang in there...you can make it!!

 
Old 05-31-2009, 11:09 PM   #5
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Re: Saliva tests vs. blood tests for hormone testing

Thanks for your reply and support, tired47, I appreciate it :-) . Sorry I took so long to reply back, my weekend was busy. Well, I called all those doctors I got from the compounding pharmacy. Ironically, though, out of the ten that they gave to me, only one did the saliva testing, which I thought was really odd. Anyway, the one that did the saliva testing was the expensive one that my insurance wouldn't cover (sounds like we may have the same insurance company hahaha). They will cover the saliva testing but only if I'm in menopause. I asked them what's that supposed to mean? I have to wait for my periods to stop for a year before it will be covered? They didn't have an answer for me. If that's the way it is, that's ridiculous. Anyway, I just ended up getting a referral from my primary doctor for an endocrinologist. I wanted him to submit an out-of-network referral to my insurance company for the saliva testing doctor, but he refused. He seemed insistent and hell-bent on the idea that an endocrinologist was the type of doctor I needed to see. So, I saw the endo on Friday and explained my symptoms to him. I'm getting blood work done over the next few weeks. Apparently, that last doctor (a nurse practitioner really), back in November, didn't even test my hormones right. She said I could test whenever I wanted to. So, not knowing any better at the time, I got everything tested during my period. Well, the endo and my primary doctor both said that my estrogen should be tested during the first two weeks of my cycle and the progesterone during the last two weeks. This woman was a supposed 'hormone specialist'. Yeah, right, quack. Oh, well, live and learn.

Last edited by kittywitty; 06-01-2009 at 12:20 AM.

 
Old 05-31-2009, 11:25 PM   #6
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Re: Saliva tests vs. blood tests for hormone testing

My Dr. said they did a comparision of a blood test & then did the same test on the same person & that saliva testing isn't as accurate as blood test. I am also on a forum where a Dr. gives opinion every now & then & he says the same thing.

Jill

 
Old 05-31-2009, 11:31 PM   #7
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Re: Saliva tests vs. blood tests for hormone testing

Kittywitty, when my Dr. handed me a script for prometriumn a few yrs back he said warn your husband, this is going to make you really crabby. The last word wasn't his exact word. Sure enough it did, I can't even use otc progesterone it does the same thing.
This Dr. isn't the same Dr. that gave his opinion about the saliva testing.

Jill

Last edited by jill60; 05-31-2009 at 11:34 PM.

 
Old 06-01-2009, 12:13 AM   #8
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Re: Saliva tests vs. blood tests for hormone testing

Hey, Jill, thanks for the info. At this point, I'm not that concerned with the type of test used anymore. I'm just happy to find a doctor that knows what they're doing. I still can't get over that woman.

Yeah, after reading what I read about prometrium, there was no snowball's chance in hell I was going to fill that script.

 
Old 06-01-2009, 06:16 AM   #9
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Re: Saliva tests vs. blood tests for hormone testing

Ive had both the blood and the saliva...mine came back totally opposite. I have low estrogen symptoms, but my estrogen saliva came back so high, off the charts?? I went to two different doctors with different opinions. One telling me to take less estrogen, and the other telling me to take more? my body is going nuts. Depends on your doc and how they will be treating you. Guess you have to stick with one and go from there. Good luck to you though...

Last edited by rachelle01; 06-01-2009 at 06:17 AM.

 
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