In recent years, at-home health screening services have taken on a whole new significance. These services broaden access to clinical-grade testing — the same type and quality of diagnostic tests that a doctor or nurse would order — while allowing you to avoid office visits and maintain your privacy.
Test kits are simple to use, so collecting samples is straightforward and mailing them is easy. Some companies also offer a telemedicine consultation with a doctor if your results warrant it, so you can go from diagnosis to treatment without leaving home.
We’ve taken a close look at the at-home test offerings from a company called myLAB Box. They provide a wide array of tests, some available individually and others grouped together to form targeted packages that address specific health and wellness issues. We break down the company’s performance and accuracy and lay out everything you need to know to use their services to the fullest.
myLAB Box offers comprehensive at-home STD testing and a wide range of health screening options. They utilize CLIA-certified labs and offer patient consultations if any test results require medications or therapies. They’re a bit slow addressing customer questions and concerns, but their responses are friendly and informed.
- Smartly designed multi-test kits
- Rapid turn-around on lab results
- Compliant with FDA regulations and CDC guidelines
- Highly accurate STD testing methods
- Treatment available for some infections without a clinic visit
- myLAB Box gives our readers a 20% discount with promo code INNERBODY20
- No HSV1 test offered
- Only available for shipping to U.S. addresses
- Some tests not currently available in states including NY, MT, ND, and VT
- Not all tests are equally justifiable from a medical or logistical standpoint or without a recommendation from your healthcare provider
myLAB Box makes screening for STDs and other health concerns easier, less expensive, and more private.
The at-home testing methods of myLAB Box are not only fast and painless, but most importantly, they're reliable, with CLIA-certified lab partners.
- How we evaluated myLAB Box
- Why you can trust us
- What services does myLAB Box provide, and are they right for you?
- Sexual health testing
- Multi-test kits for STDs
- Single or dual test kits for STDs
- Fertility and family planning
- Wellness and nutrition testing
- What is the testing process like?
- Insurance, HSAs, and FSAs
- How myLAB Box compares to the competition
We evaluate testing services based upon the quality of the experience, the cost of products, information privacy, speed, and customer care.
Quality encompasses the reliability of lab facilities, standards and accuracy of testing, the logic behind the multi-test kits, and the level of customer care.
- The labs that partner with myLAB Box are CLIA-certified and CAP-accredited. They meet standards defined by the Clinical Laboratories Improvement Act and adhere to guidelines determined by the College of American Pathologists.
- Antigen tests and blood or urine chemistry follow the same protocols that would apply in a clinic.
- The inclusion of a telemedicine consultation in the event of a positive STI test result means that you can acquire prescription treatment for certain common STIs and have medication sent to your local pharmacy.
- The test kits are easy to use, and the way that tests come in different packages should appeal to many patients.
The myLAB Box kits themselves are well-assembled, and they come with large bandages and swatches of gauze for finger-prick tests. Strangely, not all of the blood tests our testers took came with the same kind of lancets. One type (blue and white) was markedly easier to use than the other, but the other type (yellow and white) induced far less pain.
Much to the dismay of some of our testers, urine collection for various myLAB Box tests isn’t as tidy as it could be. We’ve seen other companies include pipettes to draw urine out of a collection cup and put it into the specimen tube, but there was no such implement among the tests we ordered. Instead, our testers had to carefully pour their urine from the box-shaped cup into the tube. As you can imagine, there was some spilling.
Some of these kits can be expensive, but most land in a rough middle-ground for similar offerings from competitive services. myLAB Box also includes two-way expedited shipping in the up-front price of all kits, so there isn’t any surprise fee at checkout.
- If you plan to screen a few times per year, kit subscriptions provide additional savings, and free two-way shipping becomes an increasingly important feature.
- You can pay for kits using your FSA or HSA, if applicable.
- For some people, the physical privacy of collecting your own specimens is worth the cost by itself — which brings us to our third concern.
The level of privacy surrounding your test results is similar to the level of privacy a healthcare system would offer. Privacy breaches are possible no matter where your data is stored, but the company takes privacy very seriously.
Let’s consider confidentiality first. The law may require a lab that processes your sample to report certain positive STI tests to their state’s Department of Health. This information would include your:
- Date of birth
- Collection date
- Collection location (e.g., oral, anal)
- Test date
Bear in mind that if a doctor had ordered the test, they would have to report the same information to your home state’s Department of Health, along with information about any treatment prescribed. They can’t disclose this information to any third party (e.g., insurance providers).
Your lab results will be available online for you to download; this information accessibility is also what most large healthcare organizations would offer.
myLAB Box asserts that they never sell, rent, or share any personally identifiable customer data. If another entity ever acquired myLAB Box, your data (name and contact information) would also change hands, and these privacy policies could change as well.
While you may get your results pretty quickly, certain aspects of the myLAB Box experience could happen faster. We reached out to the company with a few basic questions about their tests, mostly regarding STD screening. It took nearly five days to get an answer, and that’s only after we persisted through a bit of a runaround.
Fortunately, myLAB Box delivers on the speedy availability of results, usually within 2-5 days after returning your kit to the lab. This depends on where you reside and which tests you purchased. Every box includes free shipping in both directions, with two-day shipping to you. Our testers’ kits took a little longer to arrive — five days instead of two via FedEx — but this was at the height of late 2021 Covid complications, so we’re willing to cut them some slack.
Our testers dropped their samples off at the post office on a Tuesday afternoon, and most of those tests made it to the labs by that Sunday with results in their inboxes by Tuesday. All told, it took an average of 15 days from ordering to results. One tester never received a confirmation that the lab had received their test, but results came back nevertheless.
myLAB Box offers two ways to get in touch with them: email and phone. In our experience, the customer representatives were fine to deal with, but they were short on answers to a number of our questions. They asked that we email those questions in instead. So we did, but we never got a response.
Instead, we called again a few days later and were mystified to hear the outgoing message recommend a live chat option on the website. We returned to the website and could not find a live chat option. Perhaps there was once such an option, and they hadn’t updated their phone message since they did away with it. Whatever the cause, we listened on, and no one was there to answer our call. There was no option to hold, but we could leave a message.
A few hours later, one of our testers got a call back from an unfamiliar Canadian number, but he screened it. Moments after that, a text came through from myLAB Box apologizing for having missed us.
Missing that call turned out to be something of a blessing, though, as the follow-up text opened a kind of live chat option through which we were able to have most of our questions answered. The answers came back slowly, but they came.
All of this is to say that the company has mechanisms to provide excellent customer care, but they’re too disjointed to be as effective as we would like.
At Innerbody Research, we extensively test each health service we review, including myLAB Box. All told, our team has spent over 168 hours testing and researching the products and services of myLAB Box and their chief competitors in order to provide an accurate, unbiased analysis of how the products and services compare, free of marketing jargon and gimmicks.
Over the past two decades, Innerbody Research has helped tens of millions of readers make more informed decisions to live healthier lifestyles. We evaluate the service based on adherence to quality, the latest medical evidence and health standards, and a simple question: would we buy the product or service ourselves if it weren’t part of our job, and would we recommend it to family and friends?
Additionally, like all health-related content on this website, this review was thoroughly vetted by one or more members of our Medical Review Board for accuracy.
When selecting a testing service and a specific kit from among a company’s offerings, you first need to decide which kits screen for the conditions that concern you. You should look at the quality and cost of lab tests, turn-around time for results, and data privacy.
myLAB Box’s specialty is providing discreet at-home health screenings that yield nothing in quality to the testing a physician would order from an in-house lab. This system caters to people who prefer to maintain a higher degree of privacy around sexual health in particular.
The company offers an ever-growing range of health screening options in various categories, including Sexual Health, Fertility and Family Planning, Wellness and Nutrition, Drug and Toxicology, and COVID-19/Flu. Because there is some overlap in these categories, certain kits will appear in more than one category on the company site.
There are limits, however. Insurance companies typically don’t cover tests from myLAB Box or their competitors, so if you need coverage to make a test affordable, you might want to go through your doctor. Also, if you have any issues with blood or are concerned that you’ll run into problems collecting your own sample, you may prefer to test in a lab.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) that are left untreated can lead to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). These infections result from different classes of pathogens — viruses, bacteria, or protozoa — and result in health problems ranging from chronic discomfort to permanent sterility and acute, life-threatening illness. Sexual activity is not the only transmission route for many of these organisms; unprotected sex may account for most new infections, but some STIs can also be transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy or delivery or through needle-sharing among drug users.
One of the things that make STIs especially dangerous is that a large majority of infected people show mild symptoms or none at all — putting them at risk of disease complications down the road and increasing the chances they will infect someone else.
If you’re sexually active — regardless of age, gender, or absence of symptoms — you should be tested regularly, at least every year. Being responsible about regular testing is a life-saving habit because effective treatment for you and your partner(s) or your unborn child can depend on early detection.
For more information about different STIs and their diagnosis and treatment, please consult the CDC.
Here are some factors that increase your risk of contracting an STI:
- You have unprotected sex
- You are not using a male condom correctly
- You change partners and do not test before becoming intimate
- You have a monogamous partner whose STI status is not known to you
- You have sex with multiple or anonymous partners
- You are in an open relationship
- You practice safe sex, but your partner has an STI
STD testing with myLAB Box
The bottom line for all of myLAB Box’s Sexual Health kits is that you are entitled to a telemedicine consultation with a doctor in your state if you test positive for one or more infection(s). In some cases, that doctor will be able to write you a prescription. If you test positive for syphilis, the doctor may advise you to confirm the diagnosis with a second type of blood test (a non-treponemal test). Positive tests for other STIs will also require follow-up consultation and care from your provider.
Insider Tip: While myLAB Box has their headquarters in California, you may receive a phone call from them with a Canadian caller ID. Be sure to answer it, especially if you asked the company a time-sensitive question.
myLAB Box labs stick to STD methods that provide exceptional accuracy, especially when compared to traditional cultures. For example, they test for herpes with an ELISA test that looks for immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies instead of IgM antibodies. IgM tests are generally cheaper, and they can theoretically detect the virus a bit earlier than IgG testing, but their results are nowhere near as accurate. Across the board, myLAB Box uses methods like these that exalt accuracy over other considerations.
Let’s take a look at the kits that myLAB Box offers.
myLAB Box offers plenty of options for sexual health testing, including both individual tests and more comprehensive panels that can screen for multiple infections. Check out some of the panels available in this handy chart.
|Total Box||Uber Box||Safe Box||V-Box||Boomer|
|with Promo Code||$295||$215||$151||$151||$151|
It’s a good thing that four of these kits include screening for HIV. Most STIs — including chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, genital herpes, and trichomoniasis — can increase your likelihood of HIV transmission because of the genital inflammation or sores that they cause. It makes excellent sense to test for HIV if you’re going to test for the other infections.
If you fall into a high-risk category for infection or if you frequently engage in oral or anal sex, myLAB Box’s Total Box is one of your best options. It’s also a good choice for anyone who hasn’t tested in a long time. You get testing for:
- Three-site chlamydia and gonorrhea
- HIV I & II
- HSV2 (herpes type 2)
- Hepatitis C
- Trichomoniasis (trich)
- Mycoplasma genitalium
- HPV variants linked to cervical cancer (optional for women over 30)
The PrEP box is ideal for anyone beginning or continuing a course of pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV, a once-daily prescription pill. myLAB Box includes in the primary kit all tests that are required to start a course of PrEP. Because you have to re-test every three months while on PrEP, a “recheck” version of this kit is also available.
These boxes offer considerable convenience — you don’t have to worry about remembering to schedule your recheck lab work. We suggest that you reach out to your doctor before ordering to confirm that it’s fine for you to provide them with lab results this way. We also think there should be a subscription option (with some serious savings attached) since re-testing is required so frequently for anyone using PrEP.
Uber Box / Lover’s Box
The Uber Box is designed for people who need a comprehensive test kit but do not frequently engage in oral or anal sex. It includes all the tests that the Total Box does, except for mycoplasma and optional HPV screening. The chlamydia and gonorrhea tests are single-site only (vaginal swab for women, urine sample for men). The Lover’s Box is two Uber Boxes in a bundle.
myLAB Box’s Safe Box is a great option if you don’t fall into a high-risk category for STI transmission. It covers three of the most common STIs in the U.S. (trich, gonorrhea and chlamydia) as well as HIV I & II. It’s a smart choice for people under 30 because the other most common STI (human papillomavirus, or HPV) is mostly considered a serious risk for women over 30. If you test positive for trich, gonorrhea, or chlamydia, the doctor you talk with in your consultation will be able to prescribe medication for you, too.
In the Boomer Box kit, myLAB Box has tests for infections that are statistically more likely to occur in Americans over 60 years of age. Instead of a test for trich (more common in younger people), you get a test for hepatitis C — which makes sense in older age groups because of the risk of severe liver complications caused by this virus.
This kit is designed to test for the most common causes of vaginal itching, burning, or unusual discharge. These include yeast infection and STIs like gonorrhea, trich, and bacterial vaginosis (BV). BV can change the pH inside the vagina to the point where the bacteria that are normally present cannot survive; this leads to chronic discharge and serious discomfort.
The V-Box kit is surprisingly comprehensive and represents a great value. However, please remember that you should seek a physical exam if you have painful or concerning symptoms. If you have any vaginal burning or pain during urination or bleeding between periods, you should not wait more than a week to talk with a doctor or nurse.
You should be fine if you’re using this kit to screen for asymptomatic infections or microbiome changes that could affect your fertility. Just consider adding on an HIV test while you’re at it to be extra safe.
With a few exceptions, we think these tests make the most sense if you’ve had sex, protected or otherwise, with a partner who has had a broad screening for STIs and tested positive for one of the below infections. Otherwise, please consider investing in a comprehensive screening yourself because it’s safer for you and quite often more cost-effective.
The exceptions would be the tests for cancer-causing HPV variants, which are of special concern for women over 30; the test for hepatitis B, which is not included in any multi-test kit except for the PrEP Box; and the at-home UTI test kit, which is useful for any adult to have on hand.
Chlamydia and gonorrhea
myLAB Box offers a Chlamydia and Gonorrhea test kit to test for genital infections only. Chlamydia and gonorrhea are two of the most common bacterial STIs. They are frequently “silent” infections, producing no symptoms, but they can lead to mild to severe genital or pelvic complications, infertility, and eye infections in infants exposed to chlamydia during childbirth. Infections increase the risk of transmitting or contracting HIV. Most infections are readily treatable with antibiotics. Reinfection is common, so all partners should test if one partner is positive.
In addition, the company also provides a 3-site kit to test for oral, genital, and rectal infections.
A protozoal infection that is often asymptomatic, trich increases the risk for HIV transmission due to inflammation in the genitals. In women, this infection often causes symptoms of vaginitis (itching, discharge); in men it can cause penile itching and pain after ejaculation. While the infection can clear on its own, a persistent infection left untreated can lead to infertility in men and women. It is wise to seek antibiotic treatment to knock out a trich infection as soon as you receive a diagnosis. myLAB Box’s Trich kit tests for this common infection.
Syphilis is a bacterial infection that is less prevalent than other common STIs, but it is significantly prevalent among gay and bisexual men. Symptoms often pass unnoticed in the early stages of the disease, but this infection carries the risk of severe neurologic complications and even death in its advanced stages. Syphilis is treatable; if your Syphilis test comes back positive, you need to let your primary care provider know so that s/he can design a plan of treatment for you. This may involve repeated testing and antibiotic injections.
Genital herpes (HSV2)
Herpes is a viral infection that can be mostly silent, but symptoms include blister-like sores around the mouth, genitals, or anus. You can contract herpes (and transmit it) even when sores are not present. HSV+ individuals are at higher risk of HIV transmission. Herpes can cause very serious illness in infants exposed during childbirth, which is why it’s important for women to be tested and re-tested for HSV during pregnancy and to begin antiviral therapy if necessary.
Approximately one in 100 people is infected with Mycoplasma genitalium (MG). It’s a very common STI that can remain asymptomatic or produce mild enough symptoms that many people don’t think about getting tested. However, an MG infection can cause urethritis in men and seems to dramatically increase the risk of women developing pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and possibly infertility.
It’s a slow-moving bacteria that can take up to several months to become detectable in lab cultures, further emphasizing the importance of regular Mycoplasma Genitalium testing, even if you think you’re in the clear. Treatment involves a simple course of antibiotics.
HPV test (for women over 30)
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is by far the most common STI. There are many HPV variants. Only a couple of these variants are known to cause cervical cancer, while a dozen others may increase cancer risk. Younger adults can “clear” HPV infections quickly, so the CDC does not consider it helpful for women under 30 to test. Women over 30 should routinely screen for cervical cancer risk with HPV or Pap tests.
The CDC doesn’t recommend rectal swabs to test for HPV since that test has lower accuracy than a vaginal Pap smear. Even so, some clinics will perform rectal Pap smears. The CDC recommends that you schedule a doctor’s exam right away if you experience pain or bleeding and suspect an STI.
If you’re female and over 30 years, and you test positive for one or more of the cancer-linked HPV variants, you should contact your gynecologist to schedule an exam, especially if you haven’t had one in the last year. Your doctor will probably want to order a Pap test to check for abnormal cervical cells and may also want to increase your exam frequency.
Curiously, myLAB Box also offers HPV testing under the name Cervical Cancer Screening using HPV test.
HIV I & II
HIV is the virus that causes AIDS, a disease that cripples the immune system’s ability to combat even minor infections. HIV and other STIs often co-occur, which is one reason why broad-spectrum HIV testing for STIs is so important. Early detection is key to effective treatment, and modern medications have come a long way toward reducing the impact an HIV diagnosis has on a person’s life. Prophylaxis is also available for those at high risk of exposure.
Hepatitis B (HBV)
Hepatitis B is a viral infection that can become chronic if your immune system cannot clear it, potentially leading to liver disease and cancer. If you’re a man who engages in sex with other men, or if you have a history of unprotected intercourse, you should consider a test for hepatitis B.
Hepatitis C (HCV)
Like hepatitis B, this viral infection can lead to liver disease and cancer. Both types of hepatitis may be “silent” for years, with symptoms presenting decades after infection. The risk of infection is greater among those who engage in unprotected sex, and HIV+ status also increases the risk of transmitting HCV. myLAB Box offers a Hepatitis C test for this infection.
Rapid UTI home test
If you have UTI symptoms (increased urgency and frequency of urination) or if you frequently get UTIs, myLAB Box’s UTI kit is very useful. It includes a telemedicine consultation to discuss your results and get a prescription for antibiotics if you need them. Most adults should have one of these tests on hand in case of emergency.
Just bear in mind that this is a simple urine dipstick test, not a urine culture. If you have frequent UTIs, your doctor might prefer to order a urine culture and susceptibility test, which means that a lab determines which strains of bacteria are causing the infection and reports on the antibiotics that will be most effective against them. Without a urine culture, a prescriber is taking an educated guess about which medication will be effective. Most of the time, the guess is good because some antibiotics are broadly effective against common UTIs (like E. coli infections).
The test kits in this category assess fertility directly (sperm counts, confirmation of ovulation) and indirectly (hormone test kits).
The first two kits below are useful for couples trying to conceive and don’t require any special medical guidance. Honestly, you might find them fascinating even if you’re not trying to get pregnant. You can buy them, download the dedicated app for each test, and easily interpret the results yourself.
However, the kits that provide a “snapshot” view of human hormone levels will provide results that your doctor or nurse will have to help you interpret. Human endocrinology is an area of medical specialty all to itself.
At-home ovulation confirmation test
Highly accurate, simple, and easy-to-use, the Ovulation Confirmation test uses five urine strips that enable you to track changes in a progesterone metabolite through a monthly cycle. A free app directs you when to begin testing to confirm successful ovulation. If you and your partner are struggling to conceive, this test system is useful on a stand-alone basis to rule out any problem with ovulation. When used in conjunction with an ovulation predictor (not offered by myLAB Box), you’ll also be able to identify your monthly window of fertility.
Male fertility test
This groundbreaking at-home test lets a man visualize his sperm count and motility for the best fertility assessment. You collect your semen sample at home, and using the testing device provided, you get your results at home, too. The fact that you can re-test means that you can monitor changes in your fertility over time. The downloadable app included in this Male Fertility kit guides lifestyle changes that can (usually for weeks to months) improve active sperm count.
Female fertility test, ovarian reserve, women’s health, perimenopause, and postmenopause kits
These five kits include tests for levels of the hormones follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), progesterone, and estradiol. Each kit is a bit different, focusing on the most predictive hormones of health and fertility at different stages of a woman’s life. These four hormones interact to govern the rhythms of the female menstrual cycle.
Fully understanding your results will require guidance from your doctor. There are many health conditions and outside factors that affect levels of these hormones, and women also vary greatly in what is normal for them as a baseline. Results at the limits of the published normal range for women of reproductive age don’t necessarily mean that you are infertile. It would make sense to consult your doctor or nurse for their help interpreting your kit results.
Men’s health and testosterone
The Men’s Health kit tests for levels of cortisol, DHEA, estradiol, and testosterone. Like the kits that provide a snapshot of hormone levels important to female fertility, these kits zoom in on the hormones governing male stamina, libido, and exercise drive. Each kit guides you to help you interpret your results, but the same caveat applied to the female hormone kits also applies here: many factors can affect levels of these hormones. Your doctor is your best guide when it comes to understanding the relationship between hormones and male health, so please consult a professional if you’re concerned about your results.
myLAB Box offers a wide array of at-home wellness screening options. We’ll highlight a few that we consider being especially important.
Cholesterol and heart health
myLAB Box has a few kits available for cardiovascular health. These include a Cholesterol and Lipids test that measures triglyceride, good and bad cholesterol, and HbA1c, among other biomarkers. The company also offers a heart health test that measures similar parameters, but no one could seem to tell us why it was more expensive than the Cholesterol and Lipids test.
Heavy metals screening
Suppose you’ve lived or worked in an area where you believe you were exposed to significant levels of arsenic, bromine, lithium, cadmium, iodine, magnesium, selenium, mercury, or zinc. In that case, the Heavy Metals Screening test is the one to order. Maybe you live in an area with a history of heavy industry, or you have concerns about contaminated groundwater. Doctors can treat you for exposure to heavy metals, so take your results to your primary care provider if you see something concerning. (Note that if you are currently experiencing symptoms of poisoning, or if you know for a fact that you have had significant exposure, you should call your doctor immediately.) To learn more about heavy metals testing, you can also visit our full guide.
Thyroid health screening lit
This finger prick Thyroid test measures free thyroxine (T4) and free T3, TSH, and the presence of antibodies against thyroid peroxidase (which can signal an autoimmune problem compromising thyroid function). We consider this a valuable kit to pick up since a majority of thyroid problems go undiagnosed.
Thyroid function governs metabolism, and thyroid impairment can cause weight gain, loss of energy, and brain fog. Hyperthyroidism is associated with sudden weight loss and elevated or irregular heart rate, among other symptoms. If your results indicate a possible problem, you should take them to your doctor for further discussion and diagnosis.
Innerbody Research has put together a thorough guide to at-home thyroid testing as well, if you’re interested in learning more about your options.
Food sensitivity testing kit
Do you have immune hyperreactivity to some elements of your diet? If you suspect that certain categories of food (or even very specific items, like tomatoes or bell peppers) trigger bloating, headaches, GI upset, or fatigue, you might want to take this Food Sensitivity test. It screens for antibodies to 96 specific foodstuffs to help you determine what items you need to eliminate from your diet — at least temporarily — until the inflammation subsides.
Unlike nearly all other tests in myLAB Box’s catalog, however, the scientific merits of this type of test are unsettled. Specifically, the problem is that these tests search for IgG, IgA, and IgG4 antibodies, which relate to sensitivity but not to allergies. Food allergy tests look for IgE antibodies, and this test is not designed for that purpose.
Still, many people claim that the testing has helped them identify and eliminate foods that caused them discomfort; in other words, it helped them achieve a noticeable reduction in the frustrating or painful symptoms. Meanwhile, health experts caution that this testing lacks evidence, likely convincing people to avoid healthy foods that weren’t hurting them at all.
Nonetheless, the sophistication of food sensitivity testing has improved over time, and at this point, these tests likely provide more value to you than they would have several years ago. If you decide to purchase the food sensitivity test, note that this is not a test for true food allergies, mediated by a separate class of antibodies. Also keep in mind that the test will only provide potentially valuable information about foods currently in your diet. For example, if you’ve been gluten-free for two years, you likely won’t have any identifiable antibodies in your system.
To learn more about the options for food sensitivity tests, check out our full guide to this type of testing.
Colorectal cancer screening kit
This fecal immunochemical test (FIT) is designed to determine if you have occult (hidden) blood present in your stool. A positive Colorectal Cancer Screening test for occult blood is not a positive test for cancer. It just means that you should let your doctor know to make recommendations for further diagnostics.
Colon cancer almost always starts with a benign polyp or soft tumor. Over time, some polyps can develop into malignancies. Surgeons can remove pre-cancerous polyps if they detect them in time, but therein lies the problem: because most people are reluctant to schedule a colonoscopy, a majority of people discover their diagnosis only after they have cancer.
Fecal tests like this are helpful screens because they’re inexpensive and easy to use. They indicate to your doctor that you need a visual check for polyps (via colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy). The American Cancer Society recommends that people between 45-75 have a FIT or other stool-based test every year. If you have a family history of colorectal cancer or a personal history of inflammatory bowel disease, you should start testing sooner.
Targeted hormonal testing
myLAB Box has a set of tests that measure specific combinations of hormones associated with things like stress, sleep, and metabolism. The Skin Vitality test, for example, looks at estradiol, testosterone, progesterone, DHEA, cortisol, TSH, and vitamin D levels. Each of these plays a role in skin health, but as with other hormonal tests, understanding your normal baseline levels and speaking with your doctor is vital to understanding your results.
Drug and toxicology tests
Toxicology is an important category for at-home screening. You can test yourself (or your kids) for detectable levels of up to 12 different drugs — including several opiates, buprenorphine, THC, cocaine, methadone, oxycodone, amphetamines, PCP, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, ecstasy, and Ultram.
myLAB Box offers three different drug screening kits. You may need to test before beginning employment, for instance, or sports, and you need to know if a medication you’re currently taking will cause a positive test. You can dial the bandwidth up or down; just screen for the substances that concern you. You may also need to order one of these boxes to complete a drug screening for a court case. All tests require one urine sample.
COVID-19 & flu tests
If you have mild respiratory symptoms and COVID-19 testing is not readily available in your area, buying a mail-in Covid test kit makes a lot of sense: this lets you stay home and protect others while waiting for results.
However, if you have easy access to local testing, the chances are that you can get safely tested in person, and your insurance will cover the entire cost of the test. The value of these tests depends upon your location (how far you have to travel to get tested) and your need to maintain discretion.
When you place your online order, you may need to select kit options specific to your biological sex. This is mostly true for the Sexual Health offerings. The ordering process is straightforward.
Your kit should arrive in two days in discreet packaging (because the neighbors don’t really need to know you’re testing for an STI or trying to get pregnant). In our testing, we ordered kits early enough on a Wednesday to reasonably expect the 2-day delivery to arrive Friday, but our packages came the following Monday instead. That’s five days instead of two.
myLAB Box makes specimen collection simple and mostly painless. Some kits will require a urine sample, an oral swab, or a rectal swab. Others require a small blood sample that most people can accomplish without having to prick more than one finger. Be sure to read all instructions carefully before beginning to collect your specimens. Though each procedure is simple, you don’t want to use the wrong swab in the wrong place or collect a sample too late in the week to ship it safely and quickly. You don’t get any do-overs.
Some tests (for instance, in the Fertility category) do not require that you mail your specimens anywhere but instead give your results right there at home. In most cases, however, you’ll ship your specimens pre-paid to the lab and once they arrive, wait 2-5 days for a notification that your results are available to view or download.
If you should test positive for an STI or a UTI, you’ll receive instructions to request your telemedicine appointment. The doctor you talk with will sometimes be able to enter a prescription for you at the pharmacy of your choice; it depends on the specific positive test result. Regardless, the doctor who talks to you will offer guidance on the next steps for seeking treatment.
myLAB Box accepts all major credit cards, but they don’t have insurance or HSA/FSA coverage options. That’s primarily because insurers rarely cover this kind of test. If you have insurance and want it to cover a specific test, you may need to speak with your doctor and have a non-myLAB Box test performed in an office setting. Remarkably, these tests are often the same quality and accuracy as those that myLAB Box offers, but the insurance system doesn’t currently support them in most cases.
The home testing space has a handful of high-quality, reliable companies that compare favorably to myLAB Box, and there are advantages and disadvantages with all of them. Choosing the company that’s right for you will have a lot to do with exactly what you need to test and other personal preferences.
The most important thing to note about myLAB Box is that they offer some of the best test bundles on the market. They build them around certain ideas like sleep health or aging so that you can address specific concerns without having to put tests together a la carte, which can become exceedingly expensive.
Everlywell has a more limited number of tests than myLAB Box, but they offer a pair of subscription services that can significantly reduce the cost of many tests. For $25/month, they offer you the option to purchase any test from a select menu for another $25. That translates to $50 for some tests that would typically cost up to $100. It’s an excellent option for anyone who needs regular testing for things like cholesterol, blood sugar, and STIs.
They also offer a $15/month membership for anyone seeking to test regularly but exclusively for STIs. Test costs come down to $25, for an effective price of $40 per monthly test. However, one downside here is that the company only offers a single STD testing bundle compared to the various bundles you can find from myLAB Box and other competitors.
With either membership, after you purchase a test for $25, additional tests purchased before the following month will be eligible for a 20% discount. Everlywell’s results are user-friendly and easy to understand, though initial shipping times can be a little slow.
Learn more about Everlywell by visiting our full review.
LetsGetChecked delivers a similar number of STD testing bundles as myLAB Box, but their bundling essentially stops there, with individual tests occupying the rest of their catalog. They offer some of the fastest shipping and lab processing times in the business. Our testers regularly received their kits within 48 hours of ordering and had results back within 72 hours of return shipping.
LetsGetChecked doesn’t offer a membership service as Everlywell does, and their tests are somewhat more expensive, but their testing methods are faster without sacrificing quality or accuracy. LetsGetChecked also provides free medication for specific positive tests, often those related to sexual health.
For more about LetsGetChecked, check out our full review of the company.
Owned and operated by the same company, HealthLabs and STDcheck offer a hybrid at-home testing model that allows you to purchase your test and review your results online but requires you to submit a blood or urine sample in person. They partner with thousands of lab facilities across the country, so the odds are high that there’s a center near you.
HealthLabs is the side that offers non-sexual health testing for things like heavy metal exposure or thyroid hormone levels, while STDcheck focuses on sexual health. They have an effective customer service system, but that breaks down when you need information that only your local lab centers could provide. With so many labs in their network, quality can be a matter of chance.
It’s also important to note that HealthLabs and STDcheck charge $95 for a post-test doctor’s consultation, even if you test positive for a disease or test outside the normal range for certain hormones or toxins. Their competitors often offer this service for free.