Testing Cortisol At Home. As Easy As 1, 2, 3

Testing cortisol to better understand your overall health doesn't have to be a pain. With Vessel Health’s Wellness Card, stay updated on your cortisol levels. Sinead Adedipe

Your cortisol hormone levels rise when you’re under stress. Too much cortisol can cause different disorders like anxiety and depression, but too little cortisol can result in muscle weakness and fatigue, so it’s important to understand how much cortisol is in your body to make the proper decisions to help keep you healthy.

You might need to take extra precautions to help manage your blood cortisol levels, and Vessel Health has just the thing to help. With Vessel Health’s Wellness Test Cards, you can test at-home urine samples for different nutrients and hormones.  

Sometimes, getting information from your doctor can feel intimidating. They might use medical terminology and overwhelming amounts of numbers that just don’t speak to you.

Enter our at-home testing kit — there’s no need for the doctor's office, and you get the information from the comfort of your home. We’re products of the 21st century, aren’t we?

Here’s what you need to know about testing cortisol at home, and if you still have questions at the end, we’re always here to help.

What Is Cortisol?

Cortisol, most commonly known as the stress hormone, is a steroid hormone. It’s made in the adrenal glands, which sit on top of your kidneys.

Most cells within the body have cortisol receptors that are constantly at work. Cortisol levels are usually highest in the early morning hours and decrease during the day, but when those levels stay high even as your day goes on, it can wreak havoc on your overall health.

What Does Cortisol Do?

Cortisol has many different functions in the body. Cortisol helps in a few ways:

  • Helps control blood sugar levels: Cortisol counterbalances the action of insulin, which regulates your blood sugar. Cortisol levels become elevated under stress, and this can make you insulin resistant.
  • Regulates metabolism: Cortisol moves sugar (AKA glucose) around your body to be used as fuel. An increase in cortisol levels might increase your appetite and tell your body to store more fat.
  • Helps reduce inflammation: Cortisol is also a potent anti-inflammatory hormone. It helps to prevent tissue and nerve damage associated with inflammation, especially inflammation caused by stress.
  • Assists with memory formulation: It’s been proven that increases in cortisol help your memory function and helps you retain your memories.
  • Fetal development: In women, cortisol helps to support developing fetuses while pregnant.

All of these different functions make cortisol a crucial hormone in protecting overall health and well-being, so it’s no wonder we’ve included it in our at-home wellness test.

What Is An At-Home Cortisol Test, Anyway?

An at-home cortisol test is precisely what it sounds like. It’s a urine test that you take at home to test cortisol.

Urine tests can divulge quite a bit about your health because it carries many different nutrients and minerals vital for various bodily processes.

Using a Vessel Health Wellness Card, all you have to do is pee on the stick, and you’ll have all the data you need right in the palm of your hand — literally, in the Vessel app.

Your wellness card gives you information about your cortisol levels, among other important metrics like pH, ketones, and vitamin levels.

Do You Have To Test Your Cortisol?

You don’t have to do anything, but testing your cortisol just by peeing on a stick is a really, really easy way to be proactive about your health.

On a more technical level, cortisol testing can be used to help diagnose diseases involving the adrenal gland, such as adrenal insufficiency, hyperthyroidism, or obesity. Your adrenal glands are little organs on top of your kidneys that produce hormones like cortisol, sex hormones, immune system regulators.  

Adrenal gland diseases, like Cushing’s syndrome (producing too much cortisol) and Addison’s disease (not making enough cortisol), can be tested with a cortisol test.

Of course, it should go without saying that while our test can give you some insight into potential problems, you might want to call a healthcare provider if you think there’s something bigger at play than a little stress or a poor sleep schedule.

Your healthcare provider can test cortisol through:

  • Urinary cortisol, urine tests
  • Saliva cortisol test or salivary cortisol test
  • Dexamethasone suppression test (DST)
  • Plasma cortisol (blood cortisol)
  • ACTH stimulation

Symptoms to watch for that might indicate cortisol testing include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Low blood pressure
  • High blood sugar
  • Skin that bruises easily
  • Weight gain, weight loss, or difficulty losing weight
  • Dark patches on the skin
  • Nausea and vomiting

These symptoms can have a direct relationship to abnormal cortisol levels.

There’s also something called an adrenal crisis, which happens when cortisol levels become dangerously low. Some symptoms of this are:

  • Severe vomiting and diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Confusion
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Sudden and severe pain in the abdomen

If you experience these symptoms, seek medical care immediately.

Several drugs can also increase cortisol levels, like oral contraceptives (i.e. birth control pills).

Vessel Health At-Home Testing

Luckily, Vessel Health has the perfect device for testing your cortisol levels in the comfort of your home. A cortisol imbalance can lead to changes in energy, weight, and other symptoms. If you notice you’re not feeling like yourself, Vessel card can give you the information you need to get back to feeling your best.

Vessel Wellness Card

The Vessel Health Wellness Card helps you track what’s going on in your body so you can gain better insight into your health. When you sign up for the Vessel membership, you gain access to our online database, wellness coaching, and more — really everything you need to give yourself a cortisol checkup.

How It Works

Using Vessel’s Wellness Card is easy. We send you our test strip, and all you have to do is use it! With easy-to-read instructions included, here are the three steps involved in using the Wellness Card:

  1. Pee on the test strip, wait three minutes, then scan it using the Vessel app.
  2. Receive instant results that give you suggestions on what food, supplement, and lifestyle changes will be the most impactful.
  3. Watch as your levels improve over time with the changes made in your life.

It doesn’t get much easier than that!

Using Our App

The app gives you plenty of information about your nutrients, stress levels, and helpful supplements. We provide test results instantly about your real-time levels of cortisol and other important measurements like pH and hydration so you get the insights you need to take control over your own health.

We use your results to build meal plans that can help you get your health back on track (including helping you get it ordered and delivered to your door), and we also use your results to figure out what supplements you should consider in your daily health stack. We also let you know what kind of lifestyle changes you might want to make to better your overall health.

Lastly, our app helps you build a plan that you can follow daily to give your body what you need.

Who knew a little bathroom break could be so good for you? (Well, we did).

Vessel Health’s Mission

We believe that information is everything. We also believe we can close the gap in a person’s understanding of their health.

Medical information is not always the easiest to understand, yet it’s essential that we know how our bodies are holding up after a day of iced coffees, short deadlines, and late-night TV binging.

Our approach is to help people understand their health better. When people understand what’s going on inside, they can function more confidently knowing they’re taking care of themselves.

Get started with Vessel today by clicking here — your health will thank you.



Blood Sugar & Other Hormones | University of California, San Francisco

Effects of Cortisol on Carbohydrate, Lipid, and Protein Metabolism: Studies of Acute Cortisol Withdrawal in Adrenocortical Failure | JCEM

  1. Chronic Stress, Cortisol Dysfunction, and Pain: A Psychoneuroendocrine Rationale for Stress Management in Pain Rehabilitation | NCBI