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How to take action on your lab results: A Q&A with Shelley Gautam, RN, BSN

Updated on December 8, 2023

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When it comes to lab testing, everyone’s experience is different. Some veteran test-takers know the ins and outs of their results and what comes next, while others may have no idea where to even begin to take action. Your health journey may start with a lab test, but it shouldn’t end there. Your results could help you embark on an exciting and potentially life-changing new path to wellness, and that’s why it’s so important to think about next steps.

We know that’s easier said than done. That’s why we asked our in-house nurse, Shelley Gautam, to help answer questions about how to take the next step in your health journey after you’ve received your lab results.

Shelley Gautam is a Registered Nurse at Everlywell with more than 10 years of experience ranging from fertility and women’s health to chronic and preventive care. Shelley uses her expertise to help educate people during our weekly informational webinar sessions and empowers them to make informed healthcare decisions.

Ready to learn more? Let’s jump right into the Q&A with Shelley!

What are lab tests used for and why are they so important?

Lab tests are used in 70% of medical diagnoses, making them important for many different reasons. Maybe you’re experiencing symptoms and wondering if they might be food related, or maybe you haven’t been sleeping well and want to know how your body might be responding. Lab tests can help you take control of your health and well-being—plus, they can be done at home!

Getting your test results is a great first step on your wellness journey, but without appropriate follow-up, they’re just that: test results. And that’s why it’s so important to think about next steps.

Now let’s talk about what happens after you receive your results.

Shop any of our 30+ at-home lab tests and get results your body can count on for your happiest, healthiest year yet. We offer a simple, at-home sample collection process, free shipping to our CLIA-certified lab partners, and easy-to-understand digital results. No waiting rooms, no surprise lab bills, and no guesswork.

FS results

How can I take action on my lab results?

After your sample is processed at one of our CLIA-certified labs and reviewed by a physician, we share your results with you digitally in a few days. Your personalized results dashboard will not only provide important context about your lab test and results, it also includes actionable next steps so you aren’t left wondering how to interpret your results.

Here are a few ways you can take action after receiving your Everlywell lab results:

  1. Take time to thoroughly review your results dashboard. Every Everlywell test you take will include a detailed and easy-to-read results report, important context or information about the biomarker(s) the test measured, and potential next steps.
  2. Sign up to attend one of our live webinars. During our live informational sessions, learn more about how to interpret your results, get your questions answered, and plan your next steps. I personally lead several of these.
  3. Be sure to schedule a follow-up appointment with your healthcare provider. Remember that your lab test is just one important step in reaching your health goals. Consider scheduling a discreet virtual care visit or sharing your Everlywell results with your healthcare provider to discuss your overall health.
  4. Make a plan to re-test. In many cases, re-testing in a month, three months, six months, or up to a year later can be helpful. Not only does re-testing allow you to track your progress over time, but it can give you clarity and peace of mind as you continue along your wellness journey. Everlywell's monthly lab testing membership allows members to order new Everlywell tests as often as once a month! This can help you keep up with your sexual health, monitor progress toward goals, or allow you to gain insight into new areas of your health.

Learn more about the Everlywell+ lab-testing membership.

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Additionally, think about how your lab results could inform your health and wellness habits. Diet, exercise, sleep, and stress are all things we know are so important, but we’re not always managing or implementing them in the right ways. So this is where it becomes important to be really honest with yourself. Let’s break these down.

Check in on your exercise

Thinking about exercise and actually exercising are two very different things. If this is you, take a look at your daily routine and see where you might be able to incorporate small amounts of physical activity. Even if it means you’re just stepping away from your desk to go for a short 15-minute walk.

Check in on your diet

When it comes to your diet, there are so many additional ways to follow-up on your test results and take further ownership of your well-being. For example, if you’ve taken our Food Sensitivity Test, take time to plan your 30-day temporary elimination diet and add-back challenge. That’s how you’re really going to learn which foods might be the culprits of any symptoms you may be experiencing.

Also, consider keeping a food journal and writing down everything you eat over the course of a week. Remember that generally speaking, it’s best to avoid any extreme diets that cut out major food groups or severely restrict calories.

Check in on your sleep

When you think about your health and well-being, how much are you prioritizing your sleep? Ask yourself a variety of questions that could help you better understand and improve your sleep habits:

  • Do you have a sleep hygiene routine?
  • Are you waking up and going to bed consistently the same time every day?
  • Are you putting screens away 1-2 hours prior to bedtime?
  • Are you reducing caffeinated beverages 4-6 hours prior to bedtime?

Check in on your stress

Having a stress management routine can also help you balance the stress in your life. It’s so important to find something you enjoy that helps you to relax every day. Whether that’s yoga, meditation, walking the dog, calling a friend, volunteering. Find something you enjoy that helps you reduce your stress. As always, be sure to check with your healthcare provider before making any changes to your diet or exercise routine, or before starting any new supplements.

What information should I share with my healthcare provider?

Your Everlywell results dashboard makes sharing your lab results with your healthcare provider easy—you can print them out and bring them to your next health appointment or share them directly through our portal. For every Everlywell test you take, we create a tailored PDF outlining your results specifically with your doctor in mind.

If you choose to share your Everlywell lab results with your healthcare provider, you want to be prepared with three lists:

  • A list of any medications or supplements you’re currently taking
  • A list of any questions you might have about your results
  • A list of any symptoms you may be experiencing

Your health journey is not something you have to embark on alone. Collaborate with your physician to discuss your health goals and how you can get closer to achieving the wellness you seek.

Ready to take control of your health? Check on anything from Metabolism to Heart Health and so much more with one of our at-home lab tests. In addition to our simple at-home sample collection, we always deliver easy-to-read, actionable results your body can count on, so you can take a new step in your health journey without the waiting rooms or surprise bills.

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A better way to track your health over time

Originally published January 27, 2021.

Everlywell makes lab testing easy and convenient with at-home collection and digital results in days. Learn More