Testosterone is one of the most vital hormones in the male body. The hormone is responsible for sex drive in a male.
It helps in the development of male characteristics and gives them that deep voice. Additionally, secondary sexual characteristics in the male body come from testosterone.
Besides, this hormone is also responsible for body mass maintenance in males. That is why bodybuilders take anabolic steroids to increase their testosterone levels to gain more mass.
It is equally vital for females since it is important for their sexual health and estrogen production. Testosterone, being an anabolic hormone too, can have side effects.
Thus, keeping a close check over it could be a wise decision. Other than that, the procedure is crucial for people who tend to consume supplements rich in testosterone.
So, to keep your testosterone levels in check, it is essential to get your hormonal levels tested sometimes.
In this article, we will discuss all the testosterone tests that you need to know about before starting to take testosterone supplements.
What Is A Testosterone Level Test?
The testosterone levels test, as the name suggests, is the test taken to determine and measure the levels of testosterone in your blood.
Usually, the hormone present in the blood is mostly bound with a protein dissolved in the blood.
Thus we can say there are two types of testosterone in the body. One testosterone is attached to the protein and the other is not attached to the protein.
The first type of testosterone present in the body is protein-bound testosterone. The second type of hormone mentioned is called free testosterone.
Accordingly, there are two types of testosterone tests for people. Together with bound testosterone, this makes total testosterone – the most commonly measured indicator.
Total Testosterone is the type of test that measures all the testosterone in the blood that is attached and free from protein.
It is also known as serum testosterone. This test determines the level of hormones present in the blood which could also give an idea of the total testosterone present in the blood.
Free Testosterone is another testosterone test that measures only the free testosterones in human blood.
Free testosterone is the one that does not attach to proteins like SHBG or albumin. This test could also help in determining other underlying medical conditions.
This hormone should be in the right amount in your body. Too low or too high levels of testosterone can cause several medical problems in men as well as in women.
Use Of Testosterone Level Tests
The testosterone levels test is a very substantial test for human medical conditions. This test tends to determine a lot about certain ailments and disorders.
Medical disorders include diminished sex drive in both the male and female bodies and infertility in either sex is frequently diagnosed by these tests if T is too high or low.
Erectile dysfunction, tumors in testicles, and early or delayed puberty are observed in men.
In females, excess hair growth in the body, masculine features, and irregular menstrual cycles can occur due to high testosterone.
All of the mentioned problems can be determined by a testosterone levels test. Some of these can be due to the problematic behavior of hormones.
On the other hand, some medical conditions like the development of masculine features in women might be caused due to unnecessary or excessive intake of testosterone-based supplements.
Testosterone level tests can be the best diagnosis method to examine these medical conditions.
Need For Testosterone Levels Test
A testosterone levels test is needed for people who have been showing symptoms of abnormal testosterone levels.
These testosterone levels in human blood should be well maintained at optimum levels and are responsible for a variety of functions in the body.
An increased level of the hormone over a certain level can cause many health problems. Moreover, lower levels of testosterone under a certain level can cause medical problems too.
Symptoms of low and high testosterone levels are different from each other.
Usually, men can suffer from low testosterone levels whereas women may suffer from high testosterone levels.
Low testosterone levels in men show the following problems:
- Low Sex Drive
- Difficulty In Erection
- Development Of Breast Tissue
- Problems With Fertility
- Hair Loss
- Weak Bones
- Loss of Muscle Mass
On the contrary hand, high testosterone levels in women may show the following problems:
- Excess Body And Facial Hair Growth
- Deepening Of Voice
- Irregularities In Menstrual Cycle
Testosterone Levels Test Procedure
If you have any symptoms mentioned above, there could be chances that you may have low testosterone levels.
Thus, you are likely to take up a testosterone levels test. Luckily, the testosterone levels test is not as complicated as it sounds.
In a testosterone levels test, a healthcare professional takes a blood sample from the vein of your body.
The following procedure is generally followed for a testosterone test-
- It could be taken from the vein in the arm using a needle or a syringe.
- The needle of the syringe is inserted inside the vein. After that, the healthcare professional pulls blood out of the vein for a sample.
- This blood is reserved in either a test tube or a vial.
- The process is quite simple and similar to a regular blood test.
- The blood stored in the vial is run through several required tests to determine the testosterone levels and then diagnose the problem caused.
The whole procedure of testosterone levels test takes not more than just five minutes approximately.
You might get results later in the day or as told by the professional. There aren’t any such risks of blood tests when they are undertaken by a medical professional.
The medical professional must be certified and experienced. Always ask the professional to use a freshly packed syringe.
A used needle can transfer diseases of other patients to you while also increasing the risk of HIV AIDS.
Besides this, there isn’t any severe side effect besides a tiny bruise that goes away in minutes, as long as you are healthy.
Results Of Testosterone Tests
All the results from testosterone tests might differ depending on different situations.
Results may also vary depending on the sex of the person.
Three categories i.e. men, women, and boys have shown different results for the tests as well. All of the possible outcomes have been discussed below.
High testosterone levels in men may depict a tumor in the testicles or adrenal glands.
Adrenal glands are the glands that are located below the kidneys.
These glands are responsible for controlling heart rate, blood pressure, and other such medical problems.
Low testosterone levels in men may depict generic or chronic medical diseases. Low levels might also result due to problems with the pituitary gland.
This gland is essential because it works as the master controller of the endocrine system. This gland is responsible for the growth and functions of other glands in the body.
High Testosterone levels in women might cause a condition called polycystic ovary syndrome.
PCOS is a hormone disorder common in women of childbearing age. This syndrome can cause infertility in females. Low levels of testosterone in female bodies can be very normal.
But an extremely low amount of the hormone in females can indicate Addison disease which is when your pituitary glands do not work properly.
High levels of testosterone in the blood of boys can indicate testicular cancer or cancer in the adrenal glands.
Lower levels of testosterone in boys can indicate some problem or injury to testicles in boys. Do note that abnormal results do not necessarily mean such problems as discussed in the article above.
Usually, the abnormal results can be treated with medicines and prevent you from major problems that might occur in the future. Another thing to consider is that alcoholism can also affect your results.
Men who are diagnosed with lower levels of testosterone in their bodies often consider improving their conditions by increasing the intake of testosterone-based supplements.
Always remember that these supplements must be consumed as per the doctor’s prescription.
The takeaway from the article is that you should leave your testosterone levels as it is if no medical concern prevails.
Never try to artificially increase or decrease the levels of testosterone in your body. Artificial regulation of this hormone can cause serious health problems in your body.
On a general note, the consumption of these supplements for a healthy body is very harmful. Thus, it is not advisable to consume such products if you do not have a low T.
You should seek medical assistance in case of the above-mentioned symptoms. Do not panic with the results before the complete diagnosis by a specialized doctor.
Working4Health prefers using primary and verified references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and our primary references include peer-reviewed research, academic, and medical institution studies.
- Anna L Goldman, Shalender Bhasin, Frederick C W Wu, et al. A Reappraisal of Testosterone’s Binding in Circulation: Physiological and Clinical Implications. Endocr Rev. 2017 Aug 1; 38(4): 302–324. Published online 2017 Jun 29. doi: 10.1210/er.2017-00025
- Total Testosterone. Available from https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=167&contentid=testosterone_total
- Testosterone Levels Test. Available from https://medlineplus.gov/lab-tests/testosterone-levels-test/
- Testosterone. Available from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003707.htm
- Could you have low testosterone? Available from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000722.htm
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Michael has been in the male wellness industry for 25+ years. Before joining Working For Health as a full-time male wellness journalist, he contributed to multiple online portals in the male wellness field. Before that, he has been an assistant to several sexologists.