Know about Testosterone
- Published on August 24, 2022
A Brief Guide on Testosterone
A primary male sex hormone, testosterone is mainly associated with sex drive. It is an anabolic steroid from the androstane class and is essential to regulate the sperm count.
Though the main testosterone function is related to fertility, it also has other functions, such as the production of red blood cells, distribution of fat in the body, and increasing bone and muscle mass. It also affects the growth of body hair and mood.
Mainly a male hormone, testosterone is also found in women in smaller amounts (about seven to eight times lesser than men).
In men, the testicles are responsible for producing the hormone, while in women, the ovaries produce it. After the age of 30 or so, the production of the hormone begins to dip. The quantity of testosterone is significantly high during puberty.
Why is a testosterone test performed?
You might need to take a test if you show symptoms associated with abnormal testosterone (T) levels. Generally, men are tested for low levels of T, and women are tested for high T levels.
A doctor may perform a testosterone test to diagnose the following issues:
- Potential tumours in the testicles
- Congenital adrenal hyperplasia in babies and children
- Loss of libido
- Erectile dysfunction (ED)
- Genetic conditions
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
- Ovarian cancer
- Issues in the hypothalamus
- Early/ delayed puberty
- Pituitary gland issues, etc.
Following are the low testosterone symptoms in men:
- Low sex drive/loss of libido
- Decrease in muscle mass
- Weak bones
- Loss of hair
- Fertility issues
- Development of breast tissue
- Erectile dysfunction
- Loss of height
- Loss of facial hair
The symptoms of high T levels in women are as follows:
- Excess growth of hair on the face and body
- Irregularities in menstruation
- Weight gain
- Deep, low-pitched voice
It is important to note that you may not necessarily experience all the symptoms.
Why do I need a testosterone levels test?
A testosterone levels test is very important to keep a check on several conditions. Low T levels in males can not only affect their sex drive but can lead to other health conditions such as osteoporosis, affected memory, low blood count, etc.
Similarly, high T levels in females can be alarming as it may be a cause of ovarian cancer, PCOS, infertility, and so on.
As per recent guidelines, the normal T range for testosterone levels in males is 300-1,000 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL), while for women, it is 15-70 ng/dL.
Preparing for a testosterone test
A testosterone test involves measuring the hormone levels in the blood.
Most of the testosterone in the blood is attached to proteins. Parts of the hormone that are not attached to proteins are called free testosterone.
Testosterone tests are of two types:
- Total testosterone- which measures both types
- Free testosterone- which measures only the free testosterone
This blood test is performed in the morning when the testosterone levels are the highest. Before the test is undertaken, some patients must follow special guidelines as instructed by the doctor.
For example, the doctor may ask you to stop taking prescription drugs such as androgen or estrogen therapies that may lead to a fluctuation in your hormone levels.
Certain drugs and other herbs or supplements you might be taking may also affect the test results. Hence, you must inform the doctor about the medications you take.
To get a more accurate result, your doctor may prescribe taking multiple tests on different days.
Procedure for testosterone tests
After conducting a physical examination, the doctor will look for high or low testosterone symptoms. They will then ask you about your medical history and if you are taking any medication.
After this, the testosterone test is conducted at a facility, which involves taking a blood sample from the arm using a small needle. This process usually takes a few minutes.
You can also take this test at home. Many home testing kits are available in the market. A saliva swab is taken to check your hormone levels. You might then be required to send your saliva sample to the path lab, along with the home testing kit.
Though these kits check testosterone levels easily and quickly, their accuracy and reliability are debatable. This is because serum tests follow the changes in the hormone more precisely and quickly than saliva tests. Hence, a blood test remains the gold standard for getting the most accurate results.
Further, nothing can replace a doctor’s diagnosis and treatment. Besides, home testing kits do not diagnose any condition causing low T levels.
If you have any abnormal testosterone symptoms, you must visit a doctor and get it diagnosed and treated properly. Moreover, home testing kit results must be clinically correlated.
Robust testosterone function is very important for both males as well as females. It is essential that your testosterone levels are in the normal range.
Visit your nearest Birla Fertility and IVF Clinic if you are experiencing any symptoms of abnormal testosterone levels (low or high). You can also book an appointment with Dr Deepika Mishra.
Our doctors are empathetic and compassionate, and patient health is their topmost priority. Each centre is equipped with modern infrastructure, and all our medical professionals are dedicated to helping you with any fertility or reproductive health issues you might be facing.
1. What happens during a testosterone levels test?
Ans: In a testosterone test, a blood sample is taken from a vein in your arm and sent to the lab for testing. This test is usually done in the morning when T levels are the highest.
2. Are there any risks to the testosterone test?
No, the testosterone test is completely safe and risk-free. Your doctor will prescribe it if they suspect you have abnormal testosterone levels.
3. What is the normal testosterone level?
The normal testosterone level in males is 300-1,000 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL), while for women, it is 15-70 ng/dL (in the morning).
4. How to increase my testosterone level if I have low testosterone?
Your doctor might prescribe certain medications to increase your testosterone levels. They might also suggest Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) if required. Self-treatment is not recommended in this case.
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