If you want to feel your best, it’s important that you pay close attention to all areas of your health, and that includes testing your hormones for any imbalances. Whether it’s low testosterone that is resulting in increased fatigue and a lower sex drive or your thyroid gland that could be overactive or underactive, testing your hormones at home sounds like an easy thing to do. However, are these tests reliable? Let’s take a closer look.
Human Error is a Factor
As the at-home hormone test has been perfected over the years, their accuracy rates have greatly increased. However, you should keep in mind that human error is a factor that can play a large role in making sure your test results are accurate. For example, if you fail to follow the test’s instructions exactly as they are explained in the test’s literature, your results could be inaccurate. Of course, although it is rare, there is always the chance the lab analyzing your test sample could make a mistake. Should you get results that seem to be too unusual for comfort, get tested by your doctor so you can compare the results of both tests.
Type of Test You Select
The type of home test you use can also play a role in the accuracy of your test results. Once you start examining various types of tests, you will notice that some use a blood sample, while others will require a sample of your saliva. Depending on how extensively you want to test your hormones, you may want to choose a blood sample test due to it being recognized for increased accuracy.
If you are testing your testosterone, a blood sample test may allow you to test for both total and free testosterone. Testing for free testosterone may help reveal other health issues or underlying medical conditions that could be causing your fatigue, weight gain, or sex problems.
Each Sample May Produce a Different Result
One of the most frustrating aspects of an at-home test for men is that research has demonstrated that each sample you submit may produce a different result each time you take the test. This can be especially true if you use a saliva test since saliva samples are well-known for giving results that can greatly vary from one test to another.
Results can also vary greatly if you fail to do certain things prior to providing your sample, such as:
- Not fasting 12 hours prior to the test
- Waiting too long to submit your sample
- Not using a physician-supervised lab
To get the most accurate results, pay attention to these points and be willing to spend a few more dollars for a higher-quality test.
Reputable Labs Make a Big Difference
Before you purchase any at-home men’s hormone test, always do your homework beforehand to make sure the manufacturer of the test works closely with a laboratory that is reputable and has proper certification. Although the majority of at-home tests are not FDA-approved, the best tests work with labs that have CLIA certification. CLIA stands for Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments, which regulates lab testing throughout the United States for all labs that test human specimens.
Though your test may not be FDA-approved, being affiliated with a CLIA lab means the lab where your sample is analyzed is required to give you results that are accurate, timely, and as reliable as possible based on current testing standards. You should also be aware that the federal government’s Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services also plays a role in the accuracy of your tests since all U.S clinical laboratories must be CMS-certified prior to performing diagnostic testing on human samples.
Using an at-home men’s hormone test can give you answers to perplexing health questions. If you find yourself dealing with a sex drive that is much lower than usual, fatigue that just won’t go away, or a weight gain that seemed to come from out of nowhere, an at-home test can begin to give you clues as to what may be wrong. By comparing the results of your at-home test with ones from your doctor, you can make lifestyle changes to get back on track.