A common question both practitioners and patients have is, when should I test my hormones? This depends, of course, on whether someone is having regular cycles, how long their cycles are, and if they are near menopause.
Testing sex hormones in a woman with regular monthly cycles is best done during the mid-luteal peak. This is about 1 week (5-7days) after ovulation occurs. In a 28-day cycle, this would-be days 19, 20, 21 or 22.
This is the time in the menstrual cycle when progesterone should be at its peak for the month and when estrogen should be at the height of its luteal plateau. The image below, of the menstrual cycle, describes this beautifully.
On day one of the cycle (which is also the first day of the period), both estrogen and progesterone are very low. Estrogen then starts to rise until its ovulatory peak. The corpus luteum, which develops from the ovarian follicle (egg) that is released, produces progesterone. Progesterone, then starts to rise as that follicle gets ready for fertilization. If fertilization occurs, then it continues to produce progesterone which helps to maintain pregnancy (the name PRO – gesterone says it all: PRO- GEST(ation). If fertilization does not occur then the corpus luteum degenerates, progesterone and estrogen levels decline, and the cycle starts again.
If we test mid-luteal phase, when progesterone is at its peak, and estrogen is higher as well, we can glean a lot of information about that cycle. For instance:
Testing on day 19-22 is the best choice to make if you want to get the most information from the DUTCH profile. This is the lab test we recommend at BUMP and you can purchase this from us directly.
However, if the individual testing has a shorter or longer cycle than 28 days, then adjust the timing of the test to their individual luteal peak. For example, if someone is having 25 day cycles, she will likely collect on days 14, 15 or 16. If someone is having 35 day cycles, she will likely collect on days 26, 27, or 28.
For women who are peri-menopausal or women who are prone to skipping cycles, the best option is to consider using an ovulation predictor kit (OPK) bought at your local pharmacy or grocery store. Urinate on one device every morning until it is positive. This indicates ovulation is about to begin. Then count forward 5-7 days and collect the DUTCH test. Another option is to consider the DUTCH Cycle Mapping Test where the patient collects a hormone test strip almost every morning of her cycle, and the lab graphs out the rise and fall of her estrogen and progesterone throughout the month.
If you are still not certain or would like to purchase a DUTCH hormone test kit, contact us directly.
BUMP® is a proven system that works particularly well for those when IVF has failed.
This 10 minute initial conversation is free of charge and enables us to gain an understanding of where you are up to in your fertility journey. It provides an opportunity for you to ask questions and find out which BUMPFertility service is best for you.