Collection Instructions

A printable set of hormone test kit collection instructions can be downloaded here.

This hormone test kit Collection Instruction booklet is for all testing methods (saliva, dried blood spot, dried urine) offered by ZRT Laboratory. Please follow the section of instructions for the specific tests you’ve selected.

Review hormone testing Collection Guidelines below for collection timing. We strongly recommend you view our quick videos on how to best collect a sample at , or at .

Collection Guidelines
Regular Periods Day 19, 20, or 21 of cycle (first day of bleeding = day 1)
Irregular Periods Collect when not bleeding (5 days before expected period)
No Periods and/or women testing only Cortisol or DHEA-S Any day of the month
MEN Any day of the month

Hormone Users: See the”Hormone Users Guide to Collection” on the back panel for additional instructions.

Prepare for Collection: Lay out the kit contents. IMPORTANT: Print name, date, and time on collection devices where indicated prior to collecting the sample. Wash and dry hands with clean towel.

Test Results: Completion of the hormone tests typically takes about 3-5 days from the date ZRT receives your sample. Test results are returned to the health care provider who ordered them; you may obtain a copy there.

Saliva Collection

SALIVA Collection Times (Not all tests require multiple samples):
ALL TESTERS: collect the large tube in the morning before breakfast/beverage.

If testing AM/PM Cortisol or Female/Male Saliva Profile II collect additional sample using the small tube just before bedtime.

If testing Diurnal Cortisol, Female/Male Saliva Profile III, or any Comprehensive or Fertility Profiles:

Collect a small tube at noon, before lunch. Collect a small tube just before dinner. Collect the last small tube at bedtime

Do NOT eat, drink (except water), or brush teeth at least 2 hours prior to collection. Do not use lip products day of collection.

  1. Rinse mouth with water about 5 minutes prior to collection.
  2. Begin collecting saliva by allowing it to first pool in mouth-then transfer into tube.
  3. Fill tube at least 1/2 full. Collection usually takes 5-30 minutes depending on saliva flow.
  4. When done, cap the tube and place back into the plastic baggie.
  5. Repeat steps 1-4 for additional noon, evening, night collection.

NOTE: Not all tests require the use of four tubes. You may return unused tube(s) with your sample(s). To determine which of the tubes to use please refer to chart above.

TIPS: Dry mouth? Try pressing tip of tongue against teeth. Smelling (not eating) a lemon or other food can start saliva flow. Yawning can help too.

Mistake Collecting? Just rinse out the entire tube with hot water, no soap, shake out remaining water, and start over.

Blood Spot Collection

BLOOD SPOT Collection Times: Collect your sample in the morning within 30 minutes of waking, and before eating or drinking anything (except water).

If you are testing blood lipids or other CardioMetabolic Profile tests (e.g. insulin, HbA1c, hsCRP) you will need to fast (no food or drink other than water) 10-12 hours overnight before collecting in the morning.

If you are testing FSH for fertility reasons, collect on day three of menstrual cycle.

  1. Tape the filter card flat as shown (below waist level) with flap hanging down and away from the collection filter strip (note: back of flap should not be touching blood filter collection strip).
  2. Open the alcohol prep pad and sterile gauze and place them next to the taped filter card.
  3. Select finger to draw blood from (middle or ring finger of non dominant hand is best).
  4. Wipe finger with alcohol prep pad & allow drying for 15-30 seconds.
  5. Pick up lancet, twist off cap, and press small white section firmly against the side of finger tip until lancet clicks.
  6. Quickly wipe away the first blood drop with the sterile gauze pad.
  7. Position nicked finger over circle of blood spot card and gently (don’t squeeze) milk blood from the finger.
  8. As blood drop forms and is ready to fall, touch it to the center of the circle (one drop per circle); continue collection until all circles have been filled.
  9. When finished, blot with gauze then apply bandage to finger.
  10. Leave blood spot card open to dry – minimum 30 minutes.
  11. Once blood sample is dry, close flap and place in the plastic box

TIPS: Collect so that your hand is below your waist, allowing gravity to assist with blood flow. To encourage blood flow before nicking finger, rub hands together/swing arm and/or run hand under warm water.


DRIED URINE Collection Times: Collect your first-morning sample immediately upon waking. Collect your second sample just before bed.

  1. Open the cover and fold back and away from the filter paper, holding it between your thumb and index finger. Do NOT touch the filter paper.
  2. Saturate the filter strip either by urinating directly on it OR by first collecting urine in a clean cup and dipping the filter paper up to the black dash-line.
  3. With the cover slip folded back and away from the urine-saturated filter, either hang on a towel rack at the crease, or insert the cover slip between a surface (e.g. table) and an object (e.g. book, glass) with the filter sticking out.
  4. Allow to dry at least 4 hours (optimal overnight).
  5. Repeat for night collection.
  6. Next morning close flaps of both samples (without touching filter paper) and place in the plastic baggie.

TIPS: Collect so that your hand is below your waist, allowing gravity to assist with blood flow. To encourage blood flow before nicking finger, rub hands together/swing arm and/or run hand under warm water.

Diet & Supplement Considerations When Testing Iodine

We will be testing your iodine levels in the morning and at night. For baseline iodine testing it is recommended that you avoid high-iodine containing foods, herbs, and supplements the day before and the day of testing. Foods that contain higher levels of iodine include seafood and fish (e.g. shellfish, kelp), dairy products (e.g. milk, cream, cheese, ice cream), eggs and iodized salt.

Complete Paperwork & Send Sample(s) to Lab

  1. Complete all relevant sections on the Test Requisition.
    • Collection date & time(s)
    • Hormone & supplement usage
    • Symptoms
    • Tests requested (unless premarked on paperwork)
    • Payment information
    • Signature
  2. Place all samples, test requisition and any other paperwork INSIDE the plastic test kit box; snap test kit lid shut.
  3. Place entire test kit box inside the return UPS packaging.
  4. Affix the prepaid label or postage if required.
  5. Return using the appropriate carrier.

NOTE: SALIVA SAMPLES should be sent as soon as possible after collection and will remain stable under average shipping conditions. If sample(s) will not be sent the day of collection, please store in the freezer and note dates in Section 5 of the Test Requisition. DRIED BLOOD SPOT or DRIED URINE samples should be kept at room temperature.

Hormone Users Guide to Collection

You do NOT need to stop current hormone therapy prior to collection. Continue to use hormones as usual and follow chart below for optimal timing of collection.

Pills, Gels, Creams, Sprays (oral, topical*, vaginal) 12-24 hours AFTER last dose
Sublinguals and Troches (dissolve under tongue) When testing in saliva only: 36 hours AFTER last dose
Patches 1-2 days after applying patch
Injections/Pellets Midpoint between injection/pellet inserts
THE FOLLOWING ALSO QUALIFY AS HORMONES (not limited to): Birth control, melatonin, hydrocortisone, creams containing pregnenolone and/or placental derivatives. Collect as above.

If you collect outside the recommended time frame above, this may result in hormone levels lower or higher than ZRT reference ranges for hormone users.

*Topical Hormone Users should follow the instructions below to avoid direct contamination of sample during collection.

  • Do NOT use bare hands for topical hormone application for at least two days prior to collection (apply hormones using latex gloves or preferably hormone-loaded syringe or applicator).
  • Do NOT apply hormones to face or neck – apply to areas of the body that can be covered by clothing to avoid transfer of hormones from fingers to face, lips, or mouth.
  • Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after each application of hormones and dry with clean towel.
  • False-high results can result when hormones from contaminated surfaces (faucets, counters, door knobs) or towels are transferred inadvertently from fingers/hands and then to face, lips, or mouth.