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Diagnostic tests are commonly used to gain a greater understanding of your health issues. There are some tests that GPs are happy to carry out for you, and I can write to your GP to explain why these might be helpful. However, most of the tests I recommend are not offered by GPs, either on the NHS or privately.
This might be anything from female hormone, thyroid or adrenal tests, tests for candida and other gut problems, and for food allergies and intolerance – even if your liver is detoxifying chemicals effectively.
You might want to know whether you’re in the best possible condition for having a baby, or the reasons behind your fatigue, and so on.
I only use the best, professional labs in the UK, Europe and the US. Depending on the type of test ordered, you may be asked to give a hair, saliva, stool or blood sample. The results are usually back in 2 weeks (or sometimes 3 weeks for a stool test). Tests are optional and they are not included in the consultation price. I can also advise on local phlebotomy services who can draw blood for an additional cost.
The tests I most commonly use are:
Adrenal Stress Profile (saliva) can reveal imbalances in stress hormones, which can affect energy levels and mood, plus contribute to many other health conditions, including infertility and menstrual problems.
Antiphospholipid Antibodies (blood) Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome can lead to recurrent miscarriage and can even prevent implantation, making pregnancy much less likely. This test looks for the presence of these antibodies in your blood.
Comprehensive Stool Analysis (stool) identifies the composition of gut bacteria and the presence of potential pathogens, candida or parasites. The test also tells us a great deal about the absorption of nutrients, levels of inflammation and metabolic markers.
Gluten Intolerance Test (blood) A range of blood tests are available but by far the most comprehensive test is the Cyrex Array 3, which tests for antibody reactions to multiple proteins found in wheat and gluten. Current GP testing will only look for a reaction to one protein. A slightly less comprehensive saliva test is also available. Gluten intolerance/ coeliac disease has been linked to miscarriage and unexplained infertility.
Female Hormone Test (saliva and blood spot) There are a number of related tests that monitor the monthly fluctuations of oestrogen, progesterone, DHEA, Cortisol and Melatonin, which are helpful for women experiencing menstrual difficulties, or problems with ovulation or fertility.
Fertility Mineral Deficiency Test (hair) can highlight deficiencies in any minerals required for a healthy pregnancy, including calcium, magnesium, zinc, copper, selenium, manganese and chromium. Toxic metals like Mercury are also tested for.
Intestinal Permeability Test (blood or urine) intestinal permeability plays a part in many immune reactions, including asthma and eczema as well as most auto-immune diseases. It may also lead to systemic inflammation throughout the body. A simple urine test can give a good indication. The Intestinal Antigenic Permeability Screen from Cyrex may indicate damage to the intestinal mucosal microstructures as is useful for those with suspected food allergies, auto-immune diseases (or where there is a family history of auto-immune disease), neurological conditions or problems with cognitive function.
Omega 3 Deficiency Test (blood spot) Omega 3 fatty acids are enormously important for maintaining hormone balance. This fingerprick blood test you can take at home will give a good indication of whether you are lacking. Even if you’ve been taking something like evening primrose oil for hormone balance, this test is still useful. Evening primrose oil is an omega 6 oil, and might find you have too much omega 6 in relation to omega 3.
Ovarian Reserve Test (blood) This test measures your levels of Anti-Müllerian Hormone (AMH) and is a good gauge of your egg reserve. Your level is an indicator of how well your ovaries are functioning so tells you a lot about the quality of your egg store. It’s a particularly useful if you’re thinking of trying IVF, as it can suggest how well you might respond to assisted fertility treatments. It’s also worth considering for older would-be mums and anyone who has been diagnosed with (or suspects they have) polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
Total Thyroid Screen (blood) tests all the main thyroid hormones as well as thyroid antibodies that may indicate auto-immune thyroid disease.
Vitamin D test (blood spot) Many GPs will often agree to test you for this. However, if yours won't or you just want a simple finger prick test rather than a full blood draw, this test can pick up if you are low in this essential vitamin, which is vital for bone health, an effective digestive system and plays a major role in immunity.