Testosterone is a male sex hormone, but women also produce it in smaller amounts compared to men. Having too much or too little testosterone can cause serious health problems in both men and women.
In men, it is responsible for developing secondary sex characteristics such as facial hair appearance, deep voice tone, increase in muscle mass, etc. Men with low testosterone may have trouble developing these characteristics, while women with high testosterone may notice an increase in these characteristics.
People take testosterone tests when they experience low/high testosterone symptoms and think their hormone levels may not be normal. This article explains everything you need to know about testosterone blood tests, so you won’t have any confusion should you decide to test your levels.
What is a testosterone blood test?
A testosterone blood test, also called the testosterone levels test, is used to measure the concentration of testosterone in your bloodstream.
Testosterone is produced by testes in men and ovaries in women when the brain sends them a signal to form it. It is then released in the bloodstream, from where it travels to different body parts where it is needed.
Testosterone exists in two forms in the blood:
- Bound testosterone: It is attached to sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) and albumin.
- Free testosterone: It is not attached to any serum protein.
Both total free and albumin-bound testosterone are collectively called bioavailable testosterone. SHBG-bound testosterone is inactive. In contrast, bioavailable testosterone is considered active as it is what your tissues use when the need arises.
The total testosterone test measures the amount of free testosterone, bound testosterone, and bioavailable testosterone. It is free testosterone that doctors check mostly. It helps them find the cause of erectile dysfunction, low sex drive, and other sexual problems.
A doctor can use a testosterone levels test to diagnose the following issues in both men and women.
- Abnormal growth of body hair
- Early or delayed puberty
When should you consider a testosterone test?
In men, the normal testosterone level ranges from 300 to 1,000 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL), while in females, the healthy testosterone levels range from 15 and 70 ng/dL.
It’s known that testosterone levels decrease throughout a person’s life, but they can also fluctuate due to underlying health issues. If you experience symptoms related to low or high testosterone, you should get in contact with us today and get your testosterone levels checked.
Low testosterone is the most common testosterone-related issue men experience. Symptoms men with low T experience are:
- Low sex drive
- Erectile dysfunction
- Low sperm count
- Inability to get their partner pregnant
- Anxiety and depression
- Increase in body fat
- Loss of bone density
- Decrease in muscle mass
- Hair loss
- Large breasts (gynecomastia)
- Trouble concentrating
- Irregular menstrual periods
- Trouble in getting pregnant
- Excessive facial hair growth
- Deepening of voice
- Reduction in breast size
If you have these symptoms, you should contact a healthcare professional and discuss the problem to find its cause and the ideal solution.
Low T may indicate some serious health issues. Therefore, your doctor may ask you to have the following tests as well to diagnose the actual cause.
- Thyroid-stimulating hormone test
- Luteinizing hormone test
- Follicle-stimulating hormone test
- MRI or CT scan
- Pituitary gland tests
- Semen analysis
How to prepare for this test?
Free testosterone levels are checked via a blood test.
Generally, there are no special guidelines people are asked to follow before a testosterone test. Your doctor may want to get your blood sample in the morning when the level of testosterone is high.
If you’re having your practitioner perform the test, we’d recommend you should wear a t-shirt with short sleeves as It will help the technician withdraw blood from your arm.
If you take certain medications that could affect your testosterone levels, you may have to stop taking them before the test to ensure you get accurate results. Examples of medications that can influence your testosterone levels are:
How is a testosterone levels test performed?
The testosterone levels test is performed like a normal blood test. The technician will clean your skin with the help of an antiseptic. They will tie an elastic band around your upper arm which makes your blood vessels swell, making blood withdrawal easier. They will then insert a needle into your vein and collect blood in a test tube or syringe.
Now, they will remove the elastic band and needle and place a cotton swab or bandage on the skin surface to stop the blood flow. The whole procedure will take only a few minutes.
Most practitioners use a device to process blood samples so you may get your results within 24hrs.
Testosterone blood test results explained
Results of testosterone blood tests depend on different elements, including age and gender. Mostly, low and high testosterone levels in results indicate the following issues.
- Low testosterone may mean; you have a genetic illness; your testes are not working normally; your pituitary gland (that signals testes to form testosterone) is not operating well.
- High testosterone levels may indicate tumour growth near your testes and adrenal gland (which is located above each kidney and regulates blood pressure, immune system, and many other essential tasks).
- Low testosterone is normal in women and does not cause serious consequences. Too low testosterone may indicate you have a pituitary gland disorder.
- High testosterone levels may mean you have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). It is a common hormonal disorder in which ovaries secrete testosterone in an abnormally high amount.
Having high or low testosterone does not always mean you have a disease. It could be due to poor lifestyle choices, bad eating habits, and stress, as well. You should speak with your doctor to better understand your test results and find a suitable solution if needed.
Testosterone blood test cost in the UK
The cost of a testosterone blood test depends on different elements such as your location, chosen lab, and test type. The estimated cost of the test can vary from £120 to £170. You can contact the nearest lab in your area to get a better idea about test costs. Equally, you can order one of our discrete blood tests that you can take in the comfort of your own home!
How to treat low testosterone levels?
Low testosterone is a common problem among men. It is more common in older men, but younger men can also experience it due to different health issues. It negatively influences the quality of your life and disturbs your physical, mental, and psychological health.
Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is a popular treatment used to restore testosterone levels in men with low T. It is available in different forms, such as injections, gels, patches, and pellets. Each form has its advantages and disadvantages. You can select any of them based on what you find more convenient.
Men with low T often report the following benefits after starting TRT.
- Improvement in sexual performance
- Increase in bone strength
- Increase in muscle mass
- Improvement in energy levels and mood
Note: TRT does come with some side effects. Some men on TRT report an increase in breast size, acne, higher prostate cancer risk, and higher cardiovascular disease risk. You should carefully analyse the pros and cons of the treatment before choosing it.
Can I take a testosterone test at home?
Yes, you can. Many TRT clinics offer at-home testosterone level kits, including us! If you don’t have time to get an appointment for a test or go to a lab, you can purchase our at-home testosterone blood test kit online within a few minutes here. Generally speaking, self-administered blood tests may take your saliva, blood, or urine. You collect the sample in the provided bottle and send back it to the testing company. They will send you online results in 2 to 5 days.
Are testosterone test results accurate?
Free testosterone test results are often accurate. However, the accuracy of the testing machine and the intake of certain medications may change the test result.
Will I have follow-up tests?
If your first testosterone blood test shows an abnormality in your testosterone levels, your doctor may ask you to take another test to confirm the results of the first test. If you choose a reputable TRT clinic like Balance My Hormones, you will have regular blood tests throughout your TRT journey to ensure consistent testosterone levels.
Testosterone levels fluctuate throughout the lives of both men and women. But, when levels exceed their maximum or minimum limits, your mental and physical health can deteriorate.
Low T affects millions of men every year. Some experience it due to their old age, while others may have it due to an illness. No matter the reason, always get in contact with a specialised doctor who can help diagnose and treat your symptoms effectively.
TRT benefits millions of men by helping them get rid of low T symptoms and improving their quality of life. If you also have low T, reach out to a qualified physician today to learn how TRT can make your life better, healthier, and happier.
Ferrucci, L., Maggio, M., Bandinelli, S., Basaria, S., Lauretani, F., Ble, A., Valenti, G., Ershler, W.B., Guralnik, J.M. and Longo, D.L., 2006. Low testosterone levels and the risk of anemia in older men and women. Archives of internal medicine, 166(13), pp.1380-1388.
Erenpreiss, J., Fodina, V., Pozarska, R., Zubkova, K., Dudorova, A. and Pozarskis, A., 2019. Prevalence of testosterone deficiency among aging men with and without morbidities. The Aging Male.