UK home health analysis kit startup Thriva is adding three more products to its range later this month: A saliva-based cortisol stress test and two female hormone kits.
The Seedcamp-backed UK startup has been offering blood-prick-based health monitoring kits since 2016, and says it’s had more than 50,000 customers sign up to stab their own finger with its spring-loaded plastic lancet and massage a drop of blood into a tube to post away for lab-based analysis.
The new saliva kit lowers the barrier to entry for DIY ‘quantified selfers’ by only requiring the recipient chew on a piece of material, and remember to do so four times the same day, before sending it away for analysis of their cortisol levels — with a result promised within 48 hours.
Thriva says the idea is to offer a snapshot of a person’s stress levels across the day to “help users to understand if their cortisol level is outside the normal range, and at what points of the day this is occurring”.
Though clearly the test isn’t going to offer a comprehensive monitoring of cortisol levels, and Thriva only suggests the test “could help” identify parts of the day which are “causing a lot of stress, or explain why someone is finding it hard to get up in the morning or get to sleep at night”.
The price for its Stress Test — £79 — does therefore seem steep. Though users get four pieces of fabric so they can perform the ‘snapshot of a day’ stress test a full four times (at ~£20 a pop).
Thriva confirmed to us that subscription pricing is not being offered for this kit.
The Stress Test kit will be available on February 18.
Female hormone testing kits
Thriva also has two female hormone tests in the pipe (also available from February 18).
One is targeted at women of child-bearing age who want to monitor their fertility levels; and another for women approaching the menopause who wish to check whether their hormones are within the menopausal range.
Both are blood-prick based tests. Each test also requires the user to answer seven questions — on topics such as fertility, physical symptoms and type of contraception used — to provide additional context for the lab that analyzes their blood.
“The questionnaire allows the doctors to tailor the interpretation of your blood results (hormone levels) to your particular symptoms/needs. It also ensures that any other relevant symptoms (e.g. irregular periods) are considered in line with the results so that recommendations of when to seek further treatment from a health professional are correct (e.g. for PCOS),” a Thriva spokeswoman told us.
The Female Hormones baseline kit tests a range of female hormones to see if levels are “in normal range”.
Tracked hormones include:
FSH and Luteinising hormone, which it says are essential to ovulation;
Oestradiol, the primary female sex hormone;
Testosterone, the primary male sex hormone;
SHBG, which affects the availability of other hormones;
plus hormones produced by the thyroid, which controls the body’s growth and metabolism;
Similarly, the menopause kit tests hormones including FSH and Luteinising hormone (high levels of which can be menopausal symptoms) and Oestradiol (which it says is indicative at low levels).
It also checks for thyroid problems, with Thriva saying symptoms can mimic those of menopause. And testers’ Vitamin D levels are also checked — with the company saying deficiency is common among women of this age.
As with all the kits Thriva offers, results are reviewed by “a UK-qualified GP” within 48 hours, and users are given recommendations for additional care to seek, where necessary.
Thriva suggests the home testing kits offer women a way to learn more about their bodies. Though the same hormone tests could always be requested via a GP — and would be free, under the UK’s National Health Service.
Whereas these kits are (also) priced at £79 apiece, with no subscription offers for the female hormone tests either.
The startup suggests women can benefit from obtaining hormone test results beforehand in order to have “informed discussions with healthcare professionals to improve their health and and quality of life”.
But as with many such products that pledge personal physical insight via lab-based analysis, core to the proposition is to sell the notion that the buyer gets to choose — and therefore control — the process of testing themselves. Though that ‘choice’ clearly comes with a price attached.