How to Check Testosterone Levels

How to Check Testosterone Levels

In this day and age, there’s no disputing that testosterone is an important component of human anatomy. However, although both males and females carry testosterone, the sex hormone has proven to be much more essential to men’s physical functions and overall sense of wellness. During puberty, testosterone is vital to the development of many physical characteristics, such as muscle growth and facial hair, in adolescent males as they transition into adulthood. Even after men reach their 20s, testosterone continues to help maintain a man’s muscle mass, hair growth, sexual desire, and metabolism, allowing them to stay reasonably fit and physically active.

But that all changes once men start to reach middle age. As men enter their 30s, their testosterone will start to naturally decline and gradually decrease by 1% every year for the remainder of their lives. In some cases, men’s testosterone levels may drop below the normal parameters for their age and lead to a hormone imbalance that can negatively affect their defining male characteristics. In other rare instances, men can also develop high testosterone levels due to various other factors–such as certain tumors, chemotherapy, and surgeries –that can also lead to various symptoms and medical conditions. Unfortunately, most men are usually unaware that their testosterone has been compromised and will chalk up their sudden physical changes to age, allowing the issues to persist until their health starts to worsen.

That’s why as men get older, checking their testosterone levels should become just as important as a colonoscopy or prostate exam. Taking a testosterone test can help men get a picture of how the hormone is affecting their bodies and even provide a window into other serious medical conditions that may be causing a testosterone imbalance. The test results can also help a physician determine a game plan for treatment that can help manage or resolve issues caused by abnormal testosterone levels.

But before you go and get tested, it is good to have a clear understanding of how a testosterone test works, what it measures, and what the test results may mean for you. In this article, we’ll discuss the various types of testosterone tests designed to assess your testosterone and provide some insight into how to understand your test results so you can make more informed decisions when discussing your testosterone levels with the physician.

Types of Testosterone Tests

There are two ways to have your testosterone levels checked. You can either use a testosterone test kit or have your physician request a lab testosterone test; either one should be able to provide accurate results.

Testosterone Test Kit

A testosterone test kit is an at-home test that you can purchase online or at participating retail stores. Just like a regular lab test, a testosterone test kit will require that you use a pre-packaged needle to draw blood and collect a few drops onto a small piece of testing paper. Once you’re finished, all that’s left is to mail the kit to a lab for testing and receive your results.

Lab Testosterone Test

With a lab testosterone test, physicians will typically schedule patients for an appointment to have their blood drawn and sent off to a lab. Since your testosterone levels are typically the highest in the morning, these tests are usually administered between the hours of 7-10 am. Once you get to your physician’s office or assigned lab for testing, a healthcare professional will then use a small needle to draw a blood sample from your arm. After the sample is collected into a test tube, it is then sent off to the lab technicians for testing.

test tubes for laboratory tests

What Are Testosterone Tests Used For?

Testosterone tests are typically used in conjunction with other types of diagnostic testing to help your physician determine if your testosterone levels have exceeded or declined past the normal parameters for your age and pinpoint the cause of the abnormality. Testing is also typically used to help monitor a patient’s testosterone levels when they are undergoing treatment that may affect their testosterone, such as testosterone therapy.

Indications for Checking Testosterone Levels

There are several reasons why you may need to check your testosterone levels. However, in most cases, testosterone tests are used for aging men who suffer from low testosterone due to thyroid issues, chronic illnesses, or testicular complications. Your physician will typically request a testosterone test when you’re exhibiting low testosterone symptoms such as:

What Does a Testosterone Test Show?

When testosterone is released into the body, it is typically synthesized and separated into several different forms. About 98% of your testosterone will bind itself to specific proteins (SHBG and albumin) and become bound testosterone that can no longer interact with other cells in the body. The remaining 2% of the testosterone that is unattached to any proteins and available for the body to use is then referred to as free testosterone.

For physicians to get a complete picture of your testosterone levels, they will use a blood test to measure your testosterone.Typically, your doctor will measure your total and free testosterone in separate testosterone tests. A free testosterone test will only measure the “free” or available testosterone in the bloodstream, whereas a total testosterone test will measure both your free and bound testosterone to get the total amount of your testosterone. Physicians will usually use a total testosterone test to measure your testosterone levels and determine if they are too high or too low. Once they’ve assessed the state of your testosterone levels, they will then refer to the free testosterone test to determine the cause of your testosterone imbalance.

Rules for Patient Preparation

Ultimately, your physician will be the one to determine how you should prepare for your testosterone test. In some cases, your physician may suggest that you avoid eating and drinking on the morning of your testosterone test. Your physician may also advise that you briefly refrain from taking any prescription medications, as certain medicines may affect the results of the test.

What Do the Results Mean?

Testosterone tests usually measure the amount of testosterone in the bloodstream by the number of nanograms per deciliter (ng/dl) of blood. The results of these measurements will vary depending on your gender, age, and medical history. Based on these factors, a physician or healthcare provider will explain what the test results mean in regard to your particular case.

Normal Results

Normal test results are usually determined by your age and gender. In a testosterone test for males, a normal testosterone level should range between 300 and 1000 ng/dl, whereas for females, the range is considerably lower–between 15 and 70 ng/dl. However, if your testosterone levels are higher or lower than the normal parameters for your case, your results will be considered abnormal and may warrant further investigation. When testosterone levels are abnormally high or low, physicians find that it’s usually caused by a certain health condition that’s affecting your testosterone production.

What Abnormal Results Mean

In many cases, abnormal results such as low testosterone can indicate issues with the pituitary gland that are caused by a pituitary tumor or declining pituitary function. If you have high testosterone, it could mean that you have a tumor on your adrenal glands or testicles. In these instances, medical treatment is usually the best option to help resolve these complications.

How Can I Treat My Abnormal Testosterone Levels?

If your testosterone levels indicate that your body may be suffering from low testosterone, your physician will likely recommend elevating your testosterone to help your T levels return to their normal parameters. In some cases, men may try using online or over-the-counter testosterone supplements to help boost their testosterone levels. However, orally taking testosterone is rarely effective since the digestive system quickly breaks down testosterone in tablet form before the hormone can even make it to the bloodstream.

For that reason, your physician may suggest that you undergo testosterone replacement therapy to help you effectively boost your testosterone. With testosterone replacement therapy, a hormone specialist can provide you with effective hormone medications to insert additional testosterone hormone into the bloodstream and replenish your diminished testosterone levels.

Although testosterone replacement therapy can be administered in the form of pills, patches, gel, and implants, physicians typically find that testosterone injections (such as testosterone cypionate) are usually the most effective in administering testosterone replacement therapy.

If you suffer from high testosterone levels, your physician will typically check for tumors or other health complications that may be causing the abnormal increase. If a tumor is found, your physician will then refer you to a specialist that can remove the growth before monitoring your testosterone levels afterward to see if there’s any change. Your doctor may also create a dietary plan to help you avoid foods that may increase your testosterone so you can gradually lower your testosterone levels until they’ve returned to normal parameters.

Whether you’re suffering from high or low testosterone, it is important that you seek medical attention from your doctor or a hormone specialist. Their knowledge and expertise can help guide you in the right direction to treat and resolve your issues with testosterone imbalance.

At the Renew Vitality Testosterone Clinic, we specialize in administering hormone treatments to men struggling with testosterone imbalance. Our experienced medical staff can check your testosterone levels and provide knowledgeable recommendations and treatment to help balance and maintain your testosterone. Contact us at 1-800-385-7845 and schedule an appointment with one of our physicians to discuss possible treatment options at any of our hormone replacement clinics in the United States.

Frequently Asked Questions

That would depend on your doctor’s instructions. However, in many cases, most people are advised to avoid eating, drinking, and using any prescribed medications before the test.

Anyone exhibiting symptoms of testosterone imbalance, such as low sex drive or enlarged breast tissue, should request a testosterone test to check their testosterone levels.

Yes, you can. Patients can pick up at-home testosterone tests at certain drugstores or order them online from a reputable company.

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