Stress Test FAQ's
What we test (only what you actually need!)
Your natural cortisol levels throughout the day.
The 4-point cortisol test is the gold standard in medicine for measuring the adrenal response to chronic stress. The hormone, when tracked throughout the day, indicates how your body is uniquely responding to the chronic stress in your life.
We combine your unique hormone test results with a personal Lifestyle Assessment to get the most accurate indicators of your stress health.
What will this test tell me?
This test is specific to measuring stress stages. Our bodies can give us signals for when the foundation is starting to crack, even if we are still doing all the things. The signals can let us know whether we need a little or a lot of nutritive support - and when.
Why saliva vs. blood or urine?
Hormones are everywhere, including your blood, urine, and saliva. In each body fluid the measurement gives us different information. The beauty of using saliva for measuring cortisol is three-fold.
- One: It’s reliably and accurately measurable through saliva (not all biomarkers are - don’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise).
- Two: Measuring cortisol in the morning in the privacy and routine of your day is the most accurate representation of what your body’s natural production is, compared to after you haul yourself to a lab visit full of bright lights and needle pricks.
- Three: Saliva measures the unbound hormone, meaning it’s the amount of cortisol that is actively available for doing its job.
Note: Blood measures both bound and unbound forms of cortisol, which means you can’t tell how much is active and how many are floating around twiddling their thumbs.
Blood cortisol can only highlight when there is an extreme excess or deficiency.
Urine is more accurate at telling us what happened to the cortisol after it did its job, like a detective taking fingerprints for evidence. Each of these test fluids has value, but for assessing your stress response, saliva is hands down the best.
Does it matter what day of my cycle I’m on?
No! Any day is a good day!
Our Lifestyle assessment does ask which day of your cycle you took the test. This helps us assess certain factors that could affect your overall assessment - hello personalized care! If you don’t have an ovulatory cycle, or you are using hormones, no problem! Just let us know during your Lifestyle Assessment. Context is everything.
Does it matter if I’m on birth control?
Yes, but we can still analyze your stress levels. As with all medications, it is important to let us know what you are taking. Generally birth control pills will affect your hormones (that’s what they are supposed to do!), but since that is your everyday state, it is also valuable to find out how your stress hormones are doing in response to birth control pills.
Does it matter if I’m doing IVF?
Well, for many people IVF can feel stressful. If taking a stress test during IVF would add to your load, we vote on not taking the test. Does IVF (the act of taking the hormones, fertilization and transfer) make the test not valid - no. It will measure the state of your stress response, if you want to know. It will not measure your hormones related to fertility.
Can I take this test if I’m on HRT?
Depending on which HRT you are taking, it could influence your results. If you are taking bio-identical progesterone or estradiol**, these will influence your results. But if it is a regular medication, it is also your baseline, so it will give you a sense of how your cortisol reserve is doing.
**different from the estrogen and progestins in birth control, or many HRT.
Short answer, yes you can, but please let us know what medications you are taking.
Can I take this test if I’m AMAB?
YES. Stress affects us all. Reference ranges will differ based on AMAB or AFAB, but that’s all we need to know.
Can I take this test if I’m intersex?
YES. Stress affects us all. The outcomes of stress are sex differentiated (meaning there are differences in how we experience stress), but the physiology of the tests is similar in all human bodies.
What if I’ve had a hysterectomy?
Yes. Hysterectomies come in many forms. Bottom line, our hey freya Stress Test uses specific biomarkers to help you understand your adrenals and stress response, with or without the uterus or ovaries.
How often should I take this test?
You could take it monthly, but we’d call that a little too enthusiastic. Generally physiological responses to chronic stress take time to shift. We suggest every 3 months.
I missed taking my test in a specific time window - what should I do?
You have 4 time points to gather the samples and each test kit comes with step-by-step guideline to help you remember.
If you miss one by an hour, no big deal - just note it on your kit form.
If you’ve missed an entire window and are now at the next time point, just continue on with the new time point. If your day looks exactly the same the next day, try and get it in there.
If your next day looks entirely different, we’ll ask you to simply skip that time point and we will work with 3. Life is busy, we get it. Even if it’s not exact, we can still assess a lot with 3 time points!