If balancing hormones naturally sounds like something you’re interested in, this post is for YOU!

Now, you can’t just pick any random day and time to test your hormones…

Why? Because hormones are complex and are constantly changing throughout the day and especially for females, throughout the month. When you understand how the menstrual cycle works, you can better answer the question, when is the best time to test for hormone imbalance?

Hormonal imbalance is a loaded topic and can look differently for women depending on genetic factors, dietary intake, stress levels, environmental exposures, and more.

Some natural “treatments” used to address one type of hormone imbalance may make matters worse for another, which is why testing hormones appropriately is crucial! If you’re unsure what type of hormonal imbalance treatment you may benefit from, check out our article on Female Hormonal Imbalance Symptoms to learn what kind of imbalance you’re potentially presenting with. 

Today we will be answering the question, of when is the best time to test for hormonal imbalance, but first, we will discuss an overview of the menstrual cycle to give you the fundamental knowledge needed to know when is the best time to do hormone profile test.

Overview of the Menstrual Cycle

Before knowing the best time to do hormonal profile, it is critical to understand how the menstrual cycle works. 

If you don’t understand the menstrual cycle… it’s okay… it’s not your fault. Unfortunately, we didn’t learn much about how the menstrual cycle works in grade school health class. 

We are here to help bridge that knowledge gap! 

Here is an overview of how the menstrual cycle works, which is a MUST before you can ask the question of when is the best time to test for hormone imbalance.

Follicular Phase

The first half (typically days 1-14) of the cycle is considered the follicular phase, which includes the 5-7 days that you are bleeding during your “period.” The follicular phase is characterized by generally lower hormone levels. The hormone progesterone is especially low at this time because ovulation has not occurred yet.

Below we will reiterate this timeline for the first half of the menstrual cycle.

Day 1: This is the first day of bleeding. Keep in mind, this doesn’t include light spotting, but rather the first day of full flow

Day 13-18: typically the range when a woman can ovulate. The average day is day 14, but this is not true for the majority of women. Tracking your own symptoms, such as cervical mucus, or tracking basal body temperature with a Tempdrop, can help you determine the exact day you personally ovulate.

Luteal Phase

When is the best time to test for hormone imbalance? In many cases, it is the mid-luteal phase. 

Let’s dive into this a bit more! 

The second half (typically days 14-28) of the cycle is considered the luteal phase, which begins as soon as ovulation happens. Ovulation is when the egg is released from the ovaries and is considered the fertile time of the month for a woman. 

Day 13-18 thru 25-28: these 2 weeks are the days following ovulation where one of two possibilities occur. Either the egg is fertilized by sperm and a woman falls pregnant, OR the egg is not fertilized, and this egg bursts into a corpus luteum. The corpus luteum supports the robust production of the hormone progesterone.

Day 25-28: any day in this typical range day will be the last day before you start bleeding again. It is the last day before hormones significantly drop if you don’t get pregnant and marks the last of the menstrual cycle. The next day would mark day one or the first day of bleeding.

***Of note: if you are on birth control or use a hormone-based IUD, your hormone fluctuations do not follow these timelines, because hormones essentially stay the same all month long. 

When you take a placebo pill and get a “bleed,” this is not actually a period, but rather a withdrawal bleed.

Now that we have a better understanding of how the menstrual cycle works, let’s discuss when is the best time to test for hormone imbalance.

When is the best time in the day to test for hormone imbalance?

Some hormones can be tested at any time of the day, but when you’re considering the best time of day for hormone blood test, it’s important to consider the hormones that should be tested at specific times.

Here is a breakdown of the specifics for each hormone and when they should be tested:

DHEA and Testosterone

DHEA can be tested any day and time of the month.

Testosterone can be taken on any day of the month, but the time of day is important. The best time to test testosterone levels is typically in the morning, preferably between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m., as levels naturally tend to be highest during this time of the day. Testing in the morning helps makes for the most accurate assessment of the body’s testosterone production.

Of course, it’s worth mentioning that if you are undergoing testosterone replacement therapy or any other form of testosterone supplementation, your healthcare provider may recommend testing at a specific time relative to your last dose to evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment.

***It’s important to note that testosterone levels can fluctuate throughout the day and can also be influenced by: 

  • stress 
  • illness
  • exercise
  • supplements/medications

When asking the question of when is the best time to test for hormone imbalance, here’s where it really depends on the specific hormones are play… 

Insulin and morning cortisol are two examples of hormones that should be tested at a specific time. 


Insulin is typically tested as a fasting insulin to be assessed alongside fasting blood glucose for measuring diabetes risk. It is typically performed in the early morning after an overnight fast of 8 to 12 hours, and it can be tested at any time of the menstrual cycle for women.

Morning Cortisol

Cortisol, aka our body’s main “stress hormone,” operates in a diurnal pattern and can be tested at any time of the month. This diurnal pattern means it rises upon waking, peaking within an hour or so after waking and gradually falls to its lowest level before bed.  

Morning cortisol tests are performed by conventional doctors when there is a concern of adrenal insufficiency or Cushing’s syndrome and would need to be tested within the first few hours after waking up between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. to capture the peak level.

However, cortisol levels change throughout the day, and a single snapshot in time done through serum is not comprehensive. A four-point salivary or urinary cortisol, such as the Dried Urine Testing for Comprehensive Hormones (DUTCH) from Precision Analytical, is best for getting a comprehensive measure of adrenal function. 

Identifying imbalances with the pattern can help in knowing how to improve adrenal function, which is critical for addressing various other hormone imbalances.

Thyroid Hormone Testing

Thyroid hormone testing, which is best assessed through a blood test, should include TSH, free T4, free T3, reverse T3, TPO, and TgAB antibodies. 

There is no best time in the cycle to test thyroid, as they tend to remain relatively stable throughout the day. However, thyroid hormone testing is best performed in the morning.

What Time of Cycle is Best for Hormone Testing?

Now that we have answered the question of when is the best time in the day to test for hormone imbalance, let’s elaborate on the best time to have blood test for hormones.

When is the Best Time to Test for Hormone Imbalance in Females?

For females, testing at the right time of your menstrual cycle matters, because, unlike men, hormones fluctuate day to day and week to week! So if our hormones are changing all the time, what is the best time to test female hormones?

The following hormones can be tested on day 3 or 4 of the cycle to identify how the brain and ovaries are communicating.

  1. Estradiol (estrogen) – the best time to take estradiol test is on day 3, which is the predominant form of estrogen during the fertile years
  1. Luteinizing hormone (LH) – gives insight into PCOS or in situations of underfueling and undereating, LH levels may indicate hypothalamic amenorrhea (a loss of the menstrual cycle)
  1. Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) – gives insight into PCOS possibility 
  1. Prolactin – can help explain amenorrhea, aka lack of menstruation 
  1. Sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG)

While the above hormones can be assessed early in the cycle, some hormones, in particular the sex hormones, should be tested later on in the cycle. 

For example, the best time to test estrogen levels and progesterone levels together is done in the mid-luteal phase or about 5-7 days POST OVULATION. 

In a 28-day cycle, this would meaning testing on days 19, 20, 21, or 22. If you have a longer cycle, such as a 35-day cycle, you will likely test on days 26, 27, or 28 to capture later ovulation. 

Testing in the range is appropriate because progesterone levels are negligible at the beginning of the menstrual cycle. 

As mentioned, progesterone is only produced in high amounts following ovulation and should be assessed alongside estrogen in this window to see how these two hormone levels are balancing each other out. 

By assessing them together, we can identify causes for potential problems such as:

  • PMS symptoms (migraines, pain, breast tenderness, and heavy bleeding),
  • Infertility 
  • Depression/anxiety, especially in the week leading up to the period 
  • Anovulatory cycles (getting a “bleed” but not actually ovulating) 

What is the best way to test hormone imbalance?

Not only is it important to consider when is the best time to test for hormone imbalance, but knowing the BEST way to test hormone imbalance is crucial for getting on the right track to treating the imbalances naturally

Hormones are complex, and there are varying opinions out there on how and what hormones are tested. As mentioned several times above, hormones can be tested in several ways, and there are pros and cons to these different types of tests. 

Some hormones are best tested through blood testing, including:

  • Full thyroid panel
    • Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH)
    • Free T4
    • Free T3
    • Reverse T3
    • TPO and Tg antibodies
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH)
  • Luteinizing Hormone (LH)
  • Fasting insulin 
  • Prolactin
  • Cortisol binding globulin (CBG)
  • Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG)

Urine testing is the OG hormone imbalance test!

However, some hormone imbalances, such as dysregulated cortisol patterns may not be fully explained through blood testing, which is where saliva and urine testing can be valuable for identifying and addressing ways to lower cortisol naturally

We believe that the DUTCH Test® (Dried Urine Test for Comprehensive Hormones) from Precision Analytical Inc. is the most innovative and comprehensive assessment of sex and adrenal hormones. As licensed healthcare professionals that understand how to interpret the results, which can’t be overlooked. 

We help men and women successfully transform their health by improving symptoms of hormone imbalance through DUTCH hormone testing in our one-on-one nutrition coaching programs

Now if you’re looking for more details on types of hormone testing (i.e serum, saliva, urine, etc.), we’ve gone into deep detail on the best way to test hormone imbalance in our post the best hormone imbalance tests & how to test for hormone imbalance. Be sure to read up on this!

Hopefully, after today, you no longer run the risk of testing your hormones at the wrong time! Knowing when is the best time to test for hormone imbalance is a crucial step to investigating your unfavorable symptoms and creating a plan to address them.

Knowing about your hormonal imbalances is step 1, but it can feel overwhelming with all the information now available regarding female hormone imbalance. Having the proper interpretation of the results and learning about the potential causes of hormonal imbalance makes all the difference in finding success in balancing hormones. 

This task should not be taken lightly, but rather put into the hands of an expert who is trained in helping individuals balance hormones! Thankfully, we have a hormone expert on our team that can help you bridge the gap between complex numbers on a lab report and creating a healthy, sustainable, and effective plan to restore hormone balance using the power of food as medicine! 

You can work one-on-one with Abby, our female hormone expert 💪 and registered dietitian, to get the personalized attention you need and work to get to the root of your health issues! 👉Schedule your FREE 15-minute strategy call today👈  to create a plan for testing your hormones and finding a personalized approach to your nutrition!