Laura’s Pen takes a look at the Medichecks at-home finger-prick blood test kit…
In the last few years you will know I’ve had a lot of new diagnoses and, with it, I’ve had a lot of blood tests. When my Lyme clinic requested I get a long list of tests done – primarily vitamin tests but also things like thyroid function, I quickly found a site online that seemed to provide the best price for most of these tests: Medichecks.
Now I’m on a new mission, which requires a new round of tests. Checking my fertility. So I was very pleased when Medichecks offered to send me a test to review on my blog.
I have been given this product as part of a product review. Although the product was a gift, all opinions in this review remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company. This post also contains affiliate links, which means if you click one of the product links I will get a small referral fee from any purchase. View my full Disclosure Policy.
I opted for the Anti-Mullerian Hormone test. We’ll be starting to try for kids after we get married in a few months and until then I’m staying on my progesterone only pill, which stops my periods and means I can’t have some of the other fertility tests yet.
They have a huge range of tests on Medichecks. I’ve used them for thyroid testing, vitamin checks, liver and blood screens and now fertility screens.
Why am I testing myself?
Me and my partner both decided to get a fertility MOT as my Adenomyosis and Endometriosis could well reduce my fertility anyway. We want to know if there are any additional problems we need to know about. Especially as coming off the birth control and starting periods again is going to be a bit of a rollercoaster for me.
I’m at the point with my Adenomyosis where I need a hysterectomy if I want relief but we’re delaying that as long as possible so we can try for kids first. That’s why figuring out our fertility first is so important.
If we’re completely infertile (it’s unlikely to be that cut and dry) then we won’t go through all that for no reason, if it’s reduced then we know where we stand and can take action on things that we can treat.
Now I can’t do most of the tests yet as I’ll need to be having periods again, but the Anti Mullerian hormone is one you can do at any point in your cycle so my Gynaecologist suggested it as a test I could get done straight away.
But enough about me, let’s get back to the at-home Medichecks test.
What is Medichecks?
Medichecks is a private blood and health check website with a huge range of tests. They primarily send these out to you with a finger-prick test to do at home, then post back to them.
However you can arrange for your local phlebotomist (The NHS will often do this if you ask) to draw blood or you can go to one of their clinics, or get Medichecks to send someone to you for an additional fee.
How does it work?
Just order your test(s) online and select your collection method. They will tell you if you have too many tests to do via a finger prick test or if it’s a specialist test that needs to be done in a clinic.
They’ll post your test out to you if it’s a finger prick test, or your blood drawing kit if you’ve arrange for a trained professional to draw your blood yourself. Or if you’re getting the bloods taken in a clinic, they’ll provide you with your form you need to take to the clinic.
For the at home test, which is what I used for the review, just follow the following steps:
- Check the time: Make sure you start the process in the morning between Monday and Friday
- Get your blood flowing: make sure your hydrated, have a hot shower before starting and do a bit of gentle exercise if able
- Prepare: lay out everything you’re going to need. Make sure you have some clean tissue on stand by and I recommend taking the plaster out of its packaging first
- Place your sample tubes in one of the holding slots: These are built into the box your test came in. Then remove the lid. If you have more than one vial check the order the instructions say to do them in.
- Wash your hands with warm water and then clean your selected finger with the alcohol wipe (using your less dominant hand will make it less sore afterwards as you’ll be aggravating it less)
- Prick your finger with the provided lancet, wipe the first drip away (there are four lancets provided in case your blood stops flowing)
- Let the drops fall into the vial and massage your finger gently with the other hand to keep it flowing
- Clean up: When its full to the specified line, wipe away any excess blood and apply the plaster (otherwise you’ll make a mess!)
- Replace the cap on the tube and invert 10 times
- Fill in your labels: Complete the time and date on your named labels and stick to the vial.
- Post: pop into the protective packaging, then into the provided envelope with your lab request form. And post!
- Await results
The page for your test on the Medichecks website will give you an estimated turnaround time from when they receive the test. If you’ve opted not to have doctors comments it will be quicker than if you have. This is handy if you’re having them done for a specialist you already see and so don’t need the interpretation.
The mymedichecks part of the site is where you view your results and they’ve built the system so you can view all your past and present results in one place and, if you repeat the same test, track your results over time.
Those with a needle phobia. I don’t have this so I can’t claim to understand, but the lancets are designed so that you never see the needle. Perhaps someone with a phobia can tell me if this helps or not! If you have a problem with seeing blood, that will definitely be an issue.
What if I’m not a good bleeder?
If you have too many tests/vials (they’ll tell you this when you’re ordering) then they will not send out a finger-prick test as you’ll struggle to fill them regardless of blood flow, but there are other options.
But if you just don’t bleed very much, so if you struggle even when a phlebotomist takes your blood, then the finger prick test might not be ideal.
This is normally me. I’ve been unable to fill one vial despite using multiple lancets in the past. But if this happens, you can ring them up to arrange a different collection method.
I’m currently on Anti-inflammatories and I’m bleeding more easily because of this, which made filling the vial a piece of cake this time.
Your other options are:
- Ask your local phlebotomist if they will draw the blood for you. The NHS will sometimes do this if you ask nicely. Medichecks will send you out the right kit for this for free if you select this option at checkout
- Go into one of the clinics Medichecks work with to have your blood taken for an additional fee of £25. Most clinics require an appointment.
- Ask Medichecks to arrange a nurse to come to you for £39 (not available to the Scottish Islands)
Medichecks give you some tips to help you bleed:
- Have a warm shower before the test (Potsies, don’t do this if it will make you unwell)
- Do a quick bit of exercise before the test (Again, don’t do this if it’s going to make you ill)
- Run your hands under warm water before starting
My additional tips – drink plenty of water for 24 hours before the test. I’ve also heard from others that cuddling a hot water bottle for a little bit before a blood test helps the blood to flow better.
How much does it cost?
This depends on your test and on the collection method, but in my experience Medichecks are usually the cheapest (although I’m not going to discourage shopping around!)
If you are thyroid testing, then wait for a Thursday because Medichecks run Thyroid Thursday deals, which means you’ll get a better price. You don’t have to take the test immediately if it comes on an inopportune day.
And for December 2018 I can offer you a discount of 20% if you use my Medichecks link and use the code LAURAPEN10.
So how did it go?
The test was super easy to take. And when you’re chronically ill it’s a huge relief to be able to do it at home. I had it done and back in the post the same day it arrived.
I sent my bloods on Wednesday, so they would have received them at some point on Thursday, and had the results Monday morning with comments and suggestions from a doctor.
Ah well, as is often the case with me, this isn’t a simple one. If you were approaching menopause the Anti-Mullerian Hormone would be low. However, mine are high, which could indicate Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.
The doctor suggested a follow-up test if I haven’t already had this ruled out. In actual fact I’ve had some scans over the years that I think should have picked it up if I do have it, but regardless, I’m going to take these results to my GP and have a thorough conversation about it. I will welcome any information any of you guys wish to impart on me on this!
I’ll keep you up-to-date on what happens!
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