At some point in our lives, and potentially several times, we have to go to the doctor’s office for a test of some kind. This can be a basic allergy test or an often more embarrassing STD check.
Many of us dislike visiting the doctor’s office and have often wondered why there isn’t a way these tests could be done at home – at least to start with.
That’s exactly the thought process behind Everlywell’s at-home test collection. They use scientifically backed testing that meets exceptionally high standards for reliability, stability, and validity to produce their testing kits.
The best part is that it is the same labs that physicians use, but you have the comfort and discreteness of being able to complete the test in your own home.
The results are produced by CLIA-certified labs and then reviewed by independent physicians within days of the lab receiving your sample. Due to this, you know the testing is done quickly and your samples are not sitting around for weeks on end in a lab fridge somewhere.
To start this Everlywell review, let’s look at the pros and cons of using these tests.
- It is a simple way of finding out about your health
- It is discrete, at-home method
- Pre-paid return shipping
- Everything you need is included
- It offers wide range of tests
- Does not sell your information so your privacy will be maintained.
- Bank-level encryption technology ensures privacy.
- It is not cheap, and you may need more than one test
- Not for the faint of the stomach (finger pricks)
- Food sensitivity accuracy has been questioned
- Not all states allow in-home tests in place of in-clinic tests so check your state’s laws before purchasing this.
Who Is Everlywell?
Founded by CEO Julia Cheek in 2015, Everlywell operates from Austin, Texas. The premise behind the company was to enable people to discreetly access straightforward testing, with accurate science-backed results that are independently reviewed and meet the highest testing standards.
Everlywell connects the laboratories directly to the consumer, eliminating the hassle and anxiety of waiting in the doctor’s office just to get a test. It does not eliminate the need to go to the doctor but gives you more information when you attend.
The company has been featured in many well-respected and high-profile forms of media over the years as it has grown. Some of these include Bloomberg, The New York Times, Forbes Magazine, Tech Crunch, TIME, CBS, and Shark Tank.
How Does Everlywell Work?
Everlywell uses only CLIA-certified laboratories to process your samples. CLIA stands for Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments and is used to regulate laboratory testing. CLIA-certified labs are certified by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) before accepting human samples for testing.
Three federal agencies are involved in the CLIA certifications – the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Center for Medicaid Services (CMS), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Some of the labs Everlywell are also CAP-accredited (College of American Pathologists). The labs all comply with federal and state testing requirements and perform frequent internal checks and testing for quality, routine inspections, and accuracy validation. CLIA-accredited labs are used by physicians in their clinical practices as well, so you know that the testing from Everlywell is of the highest possible quality testing there is.
Kits usually arrive within 3-5 days after initial shipping, depending on location and the postal service. Results arrive within 5 business days from the day your sample arrives at the laboratory.
They are provided to you on your own results webpage after being vetted by a third-party physician. From there, for any diagnostic testing that returns an indicative marker or positive result, the company will provide you with a phone or video consultation with a physician in your state.
Everlywell has received praise for the fact that some of their testings can be provided for less than average pricing and that they can accept both HAS and FSA payments. They are also lauded for the fact that their kits arrive in discreet, unmarked packaging, and they have a range of about 30 tests.
What Tests Does Everlywell Provide?
Everywell provides more than 30 different tests in a variety of categories. These are general wellness, weight, energy, sexual function, and male and female health. You can also search for symptoms and see which tests a doctor may recommend based on those symptoms.
They provide the following tests, which we have separated into diagnostic and non-diagnostic:
- Chlamydia and Gonorrhea Test
- COVID-19 test
- Hepatitis C Test
- HIV Test
- HPV Test – Female
- Lyme Disease Test
- STD Test – Female
- STD Test – Male
- Syphilis Test
- Trichomoniasis Test
- Cholesterol and Lipids Tests
- FIT Colon Cancer Screening Test
- Food Sensitivity Test
- HbA1c Test
- Heart Health Test
- Heavy Metals Test
- Indoor and Outdoor Allergy Test
- Men’s Health Test
- Metabolism Test
- Ovarian Reserve Test
- Perimenopause Test
- Postmenopause Test
- Sexual Health Tests
- Sleep and Stress Test
- Testosterone Test
- Thyroid Test
- Vitamin Tests
- Vitamin D & Inflammation Test
- Women’s Fertility Test
- Women’s Health Test
A Review of Everlywell’s Tests and Testing Process
The Everlywell test for food sensitivities shows your body’s reaction to 96 different kinds of foods, showing how your immune system responds to these foods. If you want to try an elimination diet, this test may help you work out which foods to cut out of your diet first.
The foods this test checks for sensitivities against include the most common dairy, legumes, grains, fruits, seeds and nuts, meat, seafood, vegetables, and eggs.
Some reviews explain that this test checks for your IgG (immunoglobin G) response and won’t show things like lactose or gluten intolerances. However, many people are pleased with the accuracy of the results, although some are concerned with the accuracy since you are only checking for the immune response. It is important to remember that this test does NOT check for food allergies.
Another IgG response test can help you determine if you have allergies to any of the 40 common allergens that are checked against with this test. It may be useful in helping you solve what is causing you to sneeze, have watery eyes, etc. The results will indicate where on the scale your immune reaction sits for the various allergens.
This test can’t help you predict how you will react to an allergen, but it will help you figure out which allergens might be causing your body to react in the first place. The biggest issue raised by users is that clients may be inadvertently contaminating their blood tests because doctors are not administering them.
The heavy metals test allows you to discover if your health might have been impacted by toxic elements found when you have high occurrences of heavy metals such as mercury, arsenic, as well as minerals. Everlywell’s test does not include lead, as lead testing requires a blood test, and the lab they use for heavy metal testing does not provide this.
This test is mainly of interest to people who have been continually exposed to heavy metals – people who work in construction, battery manufacture, mining, firing ranges, and radiator repair shops, as well as those who may have been exposed due to the consumption of contaminated food and
A discreet at-home STD test; you can get tested for the 6 most common STDs – HIV, Syphilis, Herpes Type 2, Gonorrhea, Hep-C, Chlamydia, and Trichomoniasis. Everlywell goes one step further and provides clients with a referral to a physician in their state by either telephone, or video call should a test come back positive.
These tests (and the HPV tests) have had mixed reviews. Some users reported that their results were inaccurate, which led to added anxiety and frustration, especially when a doctor’s consultation gave them conflicting information.
Regular STD testing doesn’t include screening for the high-risk HPV virus. This test checks for 4 different HPV genotypes. These genotypes can lead to cervical cancer. While it isn’t foolproof, it can be a first step to checking whether further screening is required.
As with the STD testing, there have been some mixed reviews, especially regarding the accuracy of the results. Some users get different information from the doctor when having a consultation.
If you suspect you might have COVID-19 and don’t want to risk an in-person doctor’s visit, you can use this FDA-authorized test and have results within 72 hours. If your test comes back positive, you will receive a consultation with a physician who will help you with your next steps for no charge.
It is an easy way of checking your COVID-19 status without risking a visit to a noisy, crowded doctor’s office.
Additional Everlywell Tests
This food sensitivity test checks your body’s immune response against 204 different foods, including spices.
Checking your cholesterol, lipid, and triglyceride levels can be helpful if you suspect you have heart problems. The test gives you results for three measures of these levels – Total, HDL, and Calculated.
Everlywell’s Heart Health test can help you look at your risk for heart disease by taking a detailed look at various levels in the blood and looking at hs-CRP and HbA1c is a test of your 90-day blood glucose levels.
Lyme disease is one thing everybody forgets about, but it can cause many common symptoms like fatigue, headaches, and joint pain. If you live in an area where there are a lot of ticks, or you’re just worried about having been bitten by one, a test for Lyme disease could help alleviate some of that worry.
A deficiency in folic acid or B9 can also cause fatigue and is also a symptom of some blood disorders. You should check your folic acid levels before making changes to your diet.
A vitamin B deficiency, especially B6, B9, and B12, can lead to many health issues, including fatigue. This test will help you determine if you are getting enough B vitamins in your diet.
The FIT Colon Cancer Screening test can screen your stool for hidden blood, which is often a precursor to colon cancer, along with other gastrointestinal conditions. FIT stands for Fecal Immunochemical Tests. FIT tests check for human blood in the lower intestines and are therefore considered to be more accurate than other tests. Everlywell only offers this test to those aged 50 years and older.
Tests for hormonal fluctuations such as cortisol, melatonin, creatinine, and cortisone that can affect your sleep quality.
Tests for four significant hormones that affect men’s energy, mood, sex drive, and health.
Males who are experiencing mood, sex drive, or energy problems can check for problems with their testosterone. It is independent of the general male health test Everlywell also provides.
Women who are interested in their fertility can test for fluctuations in the hormones that control ovarian function. This is specifically related to fertility in women.
If you are experiencing the symptoms of menopause and are worried about it or just want to know where you sit on the menopausal scale, this test will help you understand that.
After menopause occurs, hormone levels tend to change, and so does your body. This test checks for changes in Progesterone and Estradiol hormones.
Everlywell’s Ovarian Reserve test can help determine the number of eggs a woman has and if it matches the amount she should have for her age.
Women can test their general health by testing the levels of 10 hormones that affect your body and its functions no matter your age. If your hormones are imbalanced, it could explain why you are experiencing certain symptoms.
It is a helpful test for people who have been struggling with weight issues – gain or loss (or the inability to do) for a while. It checks for fluctuations in hormones that directly affect weight and energy.
Tests three different thyroid hormones – TSH, T3, and T4. It gives results that indicate your levels of those hormones. Thyroid testing can help identify whether symptoms of constipation, weight gain/loss, fatigue, and others might be being caused by high or low thyroid hormone levels.
Vitamin D is good for your bones and the overall health of your cells. It can also help with inflammation. A lack of vitamin D can cause bones to be weaker and could explain recurrent inflammation.
Everlywell’s Testing Process
Everlywell only uses CLIA-certified (and in many cases, CAP-accredited) labs for their testing. All testing must stick to their ‘rigorous’ standards for both stability and reliability. They admit that their sample-taking process may differ slightly from an in-clinic situation, especially because they can take a much smaller sample size for the same test instead of the size of an in-clinic sample.
These tests are not an alternative option rather the same tests a physician might order in the clinic, the main difference being that Everlywell takes the actual testing off-site. The Everlywell staff includes a full medical team who ‘curate biomarkers’ to find the answers to medical questions.
Ultimately, physicians and independently peer-reviewed science are what drive Everlywell’s testing processes, ensuring the tests they provide are safe, accurate, and valid.
Not all staff at Everlywell are doctors, but those who are, take the lead when it comes to curating tests, testing, and reviewing tests. This is all documented on the credibility section of the FAQ page and the science page on their website as well.
An Overview of the Process and Self-Testing
Everlywell has a relatively new reputation in comparison to the regular kind of in-clinic testing people are used to. That said, they go out of their way to explain why their testing methods are reliable, and with everything mentioned so far, it is clear to see why their testing requirements are very stringent.
The kits are shipped in a discrete package without any logos on it and include everything you need to do your test. You are not required to sign for it. You just have to register it via their website using a unique ID code, then just add the sample/s required for your specific test.
The kits also come with a return shipping package that you can use to send your sample; then, you will get an email notification when the results are ready. You view your results via a special page on their website that is yours and yours alone.
If you are feeling a bit awkward or you have any questions about how to produce the sample required, the Everlywell website has more detailed instructions, including videos.
Suppose your results come back positive or have an indicative marker. In this case, Everlywell will set you up with an appointment with a physician in your state for a telephone or video call (some states require video calls in order to prescribe medications). This board-certified physician will help you arrange what your next steps should be.
If you think you will be using tests on a regular basis, you may find Everlywell’s subscription service helpful. It’s meant for things like STD tests, diet-related tests such as food sensitivities, and heart health tests. You can save up to 25%, depending on how often you plan to retest.
In Summary: Are Everlywell Tests Worth it & Legit?
Everlywell tests allow patients to gather a bit more information before they go to their doctor, and for those who are anxious about testing, it is an excellent way to ease into the process.
It certainly will not and should not replace a visit to your doctor if you are unwell or having unexplained symptoms. Your physician can help you understand these tests’ results and determine if more stringent testing is required.
They can help alleviate some anxiety for people if the waiting time to see their doctor is lengthy. But in terms of tests for everyday health, it is a discrete service to get some of those tests done and give yourself a little more information about your own body.
For certain tests, such as COVID-19 and STDs, the service could be invaluable, especially since in the case of the COvID-9 test, it is FDA approved, and results are ready within 72 hours, which may prove to be a lifesaver for those with other conditions that can mimic the symptoms of COVID-19. However, you should not expect these tests to replace going to the doctor, nor should you use them if you are trying to avoid going to the doctor entirely, as doctors will still need to speak with you to get more information as it correlates to your results.