Testosterone is often referred to as the male hormone.
But, it is also produced by women, in smaller amounts.
It is produced in the testes in men, ovaries in women, and adrenal glands in both females and males.
This androgen hormone is handles strength, muscle growth, energy, fat distribution, sex drive, body hair, reproductive purposes and mood.
If T-levels become imbalanced, you may suffer several side effects.
As men and women, age, the body produces less testosterone 1
and estradiol which may cause body changes such as fat gain, fatigue, loss of libido and hair loss.
However, the levels in which testosterone deficiency require medical attention involves a testosterone test.
Testosterone production varies among men; thus, it may be challenging to know when you need medical attention.
What are the normal testosterone levels?
It is normal to have changes in your T-levels throughout the body.
The normal testosterone levels in males range from 10.41 to 34.70 nanomoles per liter (nmol/L) or 300 to 1000 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL).
The normal testosterone levels in females range from 0.52 to 2.43 nmol/L or 15 to 70 ng/dL.
Testosterone levels tend to decline with increasing age.
After the age of 30, men experience a 1 percent decline every year.
Besides, some conditions, such as obesity, are associated with low testosterone levels.
Clinically, abnormally low testosterone in males is referred to as male hypogonadism 2
which is associated with the following symptoms:
- Erectile dysfunction 3.
- Gynecomastia-development of breast tissue.
- Fat gain.
- Reduced energy and stamina.
- Difficulty concentrating.
- Depressed mood.
- Reduced libido 4.
- Hot flushes increased irritability.
- Diminished penile sensation.
Women experience a decline in testosterone levels during menopause, which begins between 45 and 55 years.
Also, elevated T- levels in women may cause health issues such as reduced breast size, facial hair growth, deeper voice, infertility, and acne.
In both females and males, high and low testosterone may portray some severe health issues such as testicular cancer, ovary failure, or problems with the pituitary gland.
How doctors diagnose male hypogonadism?
Doctors may take several tests and physical exams to determine low testosterone.
The doctor will take a simple blood test to check for testosterone levels.
Testosterone levels are highest in the morning, and the blood test may be done then for an accurate diagnosis.
Additionally, the doctor may carry out a hormone test to rule out pituitary problems.
For instance, they may test androstenedione to see if your ovaries, adrenal glands, and testicles are functioning properly.
DHEAS may be checked to rule out tumors in the adrenal gland.
Luteinizing hormone may be checked to analyze fertility in women.
Also, 17-hydroxyprogesterone may be checked to examine congenital adrenal hyperplasia.
The doctor will ask about the symptoms you are experiencing, your medical history, and any genetic conditions in your family.
The doctor may look for signs of low testosterone, including the size of scrotum, breasts and penis, peripheral vision and amount of body hair.
Loss of peripheral vision is linked to a pituitary tumor, which may cause low testosterone.
How is a testosterone test done?
The doctor will take a sample of your blood from a vein in your arm to check for testosterone levels.
It is performed early in the morning between 7 am, and 11 am.
Testosterone levels are highest in the morning.
The blood test will indicate both total and free testosterone in the blood.
Prior to the test, the doctor will ask you to stop taking certain medications that may affect your testosterone levels, such as anticonvulsants, opiates, androgen therapy, steroids, estrogen therapy 5, and barbiturates.
When to get tested?
Men should consider taking a testosterone test if they have delayed sexual maturity, developed breast tissue, are infertile, experiencing muscle loss, or unable to have an erection.
Women should be tested if they have hirsutism, are infertile, have a deeper voice, developed facial hair, or do not get menstruation.
What does testosterone test result mean?
When testosterone levels fall below 300ng/dL, it is considered male hypogonadism.
It can be caused by:
- Acquired damage to the testes.
- Testicular failure.
- Pituitary disease.
- Chronic illnesses like HIV/AIDS and diabetes.
Elevated testosterone levels in males may be a sign of an adrenal tumor, testicular tumors, and steroid use.
High levels of testosterone in females may be a sign of an ovarian tumor, congenital adrenal hyperplasia and PCOS.
How to test testosterone levels at home?
Various home-test kits are used to test testosterone levels.
These kits mostly require saliva samples but are required to be sent to the lab for analysis.
What are the treatments for low testosterone levels?
If the doctor finds a deficiency, they may recommend testosterone replacement therapy.
It comes in various forms, including gels, injections, skin patches, tablets and pellets.
Testosterone levels decrease with age in males.
But, men may experience deficient testosterone levels leading to unwanted symptoms such as fat gain, fatigue, sexual dysfunction and bone loss.
To determine that low testosterone is responsible for your symptoms, you need to consider a testosterone test.
Various treatment options such as testosterone replacement therapy and natural testosterone boosters may restore normal levels.
Doctors recommend checking testosterone levels every 5 years after the age of 35.
A testosterone test may determine if low testosterone is due to increasing age, lifestyle choices, or underlying health issues.