The DUTCH test, created by Precision Analytical, is a simple yet highly sophisticated test that looks not just at your hormone levels, but also how your body processes and metabolizes them. The results provide an in-depth look at reproductive hormones, stress hormones, androgens (male pattern hormones), melatonin and organic acids — which are markers for mood and nutritional balance in the body. DUTCH stands for Dried Urine Test for Comprehensive Hormones, and comprehensive it is; in taking the DUTCH test, you will have a very detailed picture of exactly what is — or isn’t — happening in your body in terms of hormone production and metabolization.
In traditional hormone testing, practitioners can see where hormone levels are, but that is about it. And when it comes to hormone imbalance, it's helpful to know exactly where in the body there is insufficiency, imbalance, depletion or malfunction.
During an extended period of experiencing low energy, I began to suspect that I might have a hormonal imbalance. As time wore on, additional symptoms presented that included trouble sleeping, digestive distress, an inconsistent monthly cycle and unexplained skin issues. At a visit to my acupuncturist, she suggested I speak with Michelle Hirsch, LAc., of Beyond the Mountain Wellness. I booked a 15-minute discovery call with Dr. Hirsch, who assured me that the DUTCH test was an ideal first step towards a solution for my health issues, given my symptoms and history. We then set up a full-length appointment — on Zoom — before which I filled out a very detailed intake form. I hung up feeling confident that Dr. Hirsch could help me feel better. The DUTCH test was delivered to my home a few days later, which I completed and shipped back to the lab.
The test itself is very easy to take. It comes with clear instructions, along with everything you need to take the test at home and ship it to Precision Analytical for processing. The kit contains five small paper strips you use to collect urine samples over the course of a 24-hour period. For menstruating women, there is an ideal window during which to capture the samples, which is clearly explained within the included instructions. (The test is appropriate for patients of all genders.) Once the samples are completely dry, you package them in the included envelope, and drop it off at a UPS Store.
About three weeks later, once my results were processed, Dr. Hirsch helped me interpret my report, while explaining in detail her recommendations for how to address what was revealed by the test. My DUTCH test results not only indicated adrenal fatigue, cortisol depletion, low dopamine and low melatonin, they also showed us exactly where things were not firing properly in my body. The information that I was given would not have been detectable via a blood or saliva test. Because Dr. Hirsch was able to pinpoint exactly the chain of events in my body leading to each of my symptoms, she was also able to make detailed recommendations for how to address each imbalance.
The DUTCH test is appropriate for a wide array of symptoms, as its results can help identify precisely the cause(s) of a range of hormonal-related disorders such as estrogen overproduction, anxiety and depression, adrenal depletion and insomnia. With the addition of organic acids analysis, the test reveals invaluable information on important neurochemicals such as dopamine, melatonin and epinephrine. Assessing nutritional markers such as B6 and B12 as well as glutathione levels can be helpful for those struggling with inflammation or unexplained weight gain.
But the hands-down reason the DUTCH test is the gold standard for hormonal testing is that it measures metabolites. While it is very helpful to know the absolute levels of your hormones, what often matters more is what your body does with those hormones. This information is invaluable, for example, with cases of testosterone-related acne, and in determining how our body copes with detoxing excess estrogen. Additionally, getting a snapshot of your hormone levels during the course of a day — which is exactly what the DUTCH test provides — is valuable information for people struggling with stress, fatigue, anxiety, decreased libido, insomnia and depression.
If this seems like a lot of detailed information, that is because it is. So while it is possible to order the test and process it on your own, it is advisable to work with a practitioner who knows how to properly interpret the results so that a treatment plan can be determined, and you can feel better. If you suspect that the root cause of your symptoms may be hormonal, there is no better way to get clear and accurate answers than the DUTCH test.
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