Specifically measures the amount of circulating testosterone in adult men.
PLEASE NOTE: ALL RESULTS AND INFORMATION PROVIDED BY HEALTH eLABS ARE INTENDED FOR GENERAL HEALTH INFORMATION PURPOSES ONLY. AS SUCH THEY ARE NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE OR A MEDICAL EXAMINATION, AND SHOULD NOT BE USED TO DIAGNOSE, TREAT, PREVENT OR CURE ANY DISEASE, SYNDROME, OR CONDITION WITHOUT THE SUPERVISION OF A LICENSED PHYSICIAN.
NOTE: This test is useful for measuring testosterone in adult males only, and may not detect the low testosterone concentrations found in women. To measure testosterone levels in women or children please see the Testosterone (Women) page. Additionally, this test has not been approved by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), and should not be used to test athletes for “doping.”
PREPARATION: No fasting or other special preparation is needed for this test.
What does this test do?
This test determines the concentration of testosterone circulating in the bloodstream of adult men.
Why is this important?
Testosterone is a steroid hormone that plays a major role in the development of the reproductive system and secondary sexual characteristics of men. It is primarily produced by the testicles, but small amounts are also secreted by the adrenal glands.
After the age of 40 testosterone levels begin to slowly decline, and continue to drop by an estimated 1% to 2% each year in most men. In approximately 30% of men over 40, however, blood testosterone concentrations drop significantly, and can even fall below what is considered the lower level of normal.
Two thirds of men with this degree of testosterone deficiency may experience a condition known as hypogonadism, in which they experience signs and symptoms of extremely low testosterone. These symptoms can include sexual dysfunction such as a reduced desire for sex, an inability to maintain an erection, difficulty achieving an orgasm, or less-intense orgasms.
Clinical hypogonadism can also cause other symptoms such as insomnia, fatigue, and depression, and can lead to physical changes to the body such as an increase in body fat, a reduction in lean muscle mass, and low bone density (osteoporosis). These may in turn increase the risk of developing obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
It is important to remember that low levels of testosterone don’t always lead to these kinds of problems, so men aren’t typically tested for low testosterone unless they are experiencing symptoms. That being said however, the more symptoms of hypogonadism a man has, the more likely he is to have low testosterone.
What do the results mean?
An abnormally high testosterone level in males may indicate a testicular or adrenal gland tumor producing excess testosterone, the use of supplemental androgens (also called anabolic steroids), or a condition called congenital adrenal hyperplasia (in babies and children).
As noted, low levels of testosterone are frequently found in men over 40. However, there are other causes not related to age including damage or injury to the testicles, a history of treatment for testicular cancer, HIV or other infection, liver or kidney disease, type 2 diabetes, and even sleep disorders such as sleep apnea.
In recent years supplementing older men with testosterone has gained popularity. However, there are risks associated with this, and the exact testosterone level below which treatment with supplemental hormone becomes helpful is unknown. For this reason it is important to understand that the safe diagnosis and treatment of hypogonadism requires a physician’s assessment and ongoing guidance, in addition to laboratory testing.