Saliva Hormone Testing- Why it is important!

Saliva Hormone Testing- Why it is important!

Saliva hormone testing is one of the most reliable, accurate and clinical-proven methods of testing hormones. In this, the patient has to collect saliva into the plastic tube at a specific time which helps in measuring hormone levels in the body.

But why do we use a saliva test to measure hormones?

There are approximately 95-99% of steroid hormones in the bloodstream which are bound to the carrier proteins. These steroid hormones, in bounded form, are unavailable in the target tissue.

However, saliva test gauges on that; it measures the number of hormones that are available to target the tissues in the body.

Also, it aids in checking the specific symptoms of deficiency and excess number of hormones, and in monitoring the hormone therapy in the body.

Saliva testing measures hormones like DHEA, Estrogen, Progesterone, Testosterone, and Cortisol. Unlike serum or blood test, which measures the level of hormones flowing in the bloodstream, the saliva test aims at measuring cellular level in the body.

What are Hormones?

Hormone levels change at different life stages like at reproduction, puberty, menopause, pregnancy and much more.

They are primarily chemical suppliers that aid in the major changes that occur in one’s body. They play an important role in managing fertility, libido, bone health, energy level, weight, and muscle health.

While balanced hormones aid in managing body functions, imbalanced hormones can  can hamper your health. However, Saliva hormone testing helps in identifying the hormonal imbalance thereby improving the quality and vitality of life.

What is the Use of Saliva Testing?

The Saliva test is reliable, and its accuracy and reliability of saliva test are based on measuring the difference between the steroid hormone in serum and the saliva. This also depends on whether the hormones are bound to proteins or not. Hormones exist mainly in two forms-

Free hormones (5%) – These are biologically active and are always available for delivery to the receptors.

Protein-Bound (95%) – These hormones do not fit in the receptors and are considered as non-bioavailable. When blood is filtered through salivary glands, only unbounded hormones pass through the saliva as the adjacent ones are too large to pass through cell membrane.

Saliva Test Measures:

  • Unbounded biologically active or free hormones level in the body:

When blood is filtered through salivary glands, only unbounded hormones pass through the saliva, as the bounded ones are too large to pass through the cell membrane. Whatever is measured in saliva is considered as bioavailable or free hormones which are delivered to the tissues of the body.

  • It measures topically dosed hormones:

The changes in the value of free and protein-bound hormones are essential for monitoring topical as well as transdermal hormone therapy. Using this, one can measure increased tissue hormone levels and more.

  • The protein bound biologically inactive hormone level:

To detect the number of steroid hormones, the protein bound inactive hormone should be bounded.  In the bounded state, the steroid hormones don’t fit in receptors and will not deliver anything to the tissue. They are then considered as inactive and non-bioavailable.

Who Would Get Benefits from Saliva Hormone Test?


Teenagers with PMS (Premenstrual syndrome) with symptoms like bloating, fatigue and irritability would benefit from a hormone test.  PMS affects emotions, physical health and behavior of a person. Some of the most common symptoms of PMS are:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Acne
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • A headache
  • Sore breasts
  • Depression
  • Sadness
  • Food craving and much more


Men who are concerned about being at the risk of Prostate disease would benefit from Saliva hormone test. Also, it is for those who are worried about Andropause, male menopause, and declining hormone level.


  • Women who have been on ERT and HRT, and are concerned about their increased estrogen or progesterone level should take the saliva test as it may increase the risk for breast cancer.
  • Ladies having a problem getting pregnant as the test may reveal the reason of infertility and will tell the subnormal progesterone output
  • It will help women who are diagnosed with PCOS as the saliva test will assist in monitoring the hormone level while gauging the hormonal balance.
  • Ladies who are concerned about decreased hormone levels, to evaluate estrogen, testosterone and progesterone levels to prevent osteoporosis and to monitor hormone levels of those patients who have been diagnosed with osteoporosis.
  • Those who are at risk of breast cancer, as women may possess high estradiol and testosterone, and low flat cortisol and DHEA-S level.
  • It is also helpful for the women whose blood test don’t show any hormonal challenge.

Pros and Cons of Saliva Testing:


  • They are easy to collect, stress-free and don’t require any particular trained personnel.
  • It doesn’t require any needles. Thus it is a non-invasive
  • It measures free hormone level or bio-available hormone fractions of all hormones. Free hormones mean that the hormones are unbounded by binding proteins in the blood and can help in measuring the number of hormones that are available in the tissue.
  • It is more reliable than serum for measuring complete bio available steroid hormone level.
  • This test is beneficial for testing hormone estriol.
  • It is used to evaluate cortisol secretion pattern by using multiple samples at different time intervals.
  • It aids in identifying women who are at the risk of preterm labor.


  • The saliva test is usually not conducted at high standard clinical labs.
  • Hormones like follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) are not offered in the salivary test.
  • It cannot test the total level of testosterone level as well as free and active hormones.
  • For some patients, it becomes difficult to collect saliva samples
  • To collect saliva specimen, patients may get restrictions on makeup use, drinking, eating, tooth brushing and many other things.
  • This test sometimes fails in measuring the actual elevated level of estrogens and thus can impact overall health.
  • The saliva gets contaminated with topical hormones on lips or hands.
  • Topical application of hormones results in high saliva level than serum.

So, if your hormone levels are out of balance, you must go for a saliva test. It is an easy and non-invasive method for assessing hormone balance in the body. Unlike serum hormone test, it is convenient and more representative of bio-available estrogen in the blood.