Testosterone is the main sex hormone in males and is responsible for several male physical characteristics. Testosterone is also present in females and is converted to estradiol, the main sex hormone in females. The hormone plays a vital role in sexual characteristics of both males and females. This test measures the level of testosterone in the blood.
There are two main types of testosterone tests:
Factors involved to understand the normal range of testosterone levels:
Normal range of testosterone in men is between 270-1070 ng/dL with an average result of 300 ng/dL. The normal range of testosterone levels in men vary according to the stage of maturity and age.
In women, it is in the range of 15-70 ng/dL.
Increased levels of testosterone in men are an indication of several conditions. These conditions may include:
In females, high levels of testosterone may indicate:
Common signs and symptoms of high testosterone in men include:
Other additional signs and symptoms may include:
Signs and symptoms of high levels of testosterone in women may include:
In severe cases, higher testosterone levels can cause obesity and infertility. Having balanced levels of testosterone is necessary for optimal health and growth for both the sexes.
Testosterone levels in men generally increase due to underlying conditions and other factors. These conditions include:
Drugs such as anticonvulsants, barbiturates, and clomiphene can also cause a rise in the testosterone levels.
Increased levels of testosterone in women may be due to:
Lower than normal levels of testosterone can indicate a testosterone deficiency syndrome. This indicates that the body does not have enough testosterone for normal functioning. Low testosterone can result in low production of semen and may increase the risk of infertility.
The most common symptoms of low levels of testosterone in men are erectile dysfunction and reduced sex drive. Other signs and symptoms of low testosterone may include:
Symptoms of low testosterone in women may include:
Most commonly, hot flashes are associated with changes in estrogen levels. However, deficiency of testosterone can also cause hot flashes in men.
Low levels of testosterone in men is caused by a variety of factors. These include:
Health conditions that can lead to decrease in testosterone levels include:
Testosterone levels also decline with age.
Causes of low testosterone in women mainly include:
Dietary and lifestyle changes can help boost testosterone levels or maintain normal levels. Some foods such as salmon, olive oil, oysters, egg yolks, beans, asparagus, pomegranate juice, etc. can boost testosterone levels. This is because they are high in vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin D and zinc which increase testosterone levels.
Elevated testosterone levels can be decreased by foods such as spearmint tea, green tea, mint, nuts, soy, vegetable oil, omega 3 fatty acid fish oil, and flax seeds. Lifestyle changes such as increasing activity levels and consuming healthy diets to reduce body fat can help maintain the normal levels of testosterone.
Certain medications such as opiates, glucocortoid medications such as prednisone, etc. should be avoided as they can decrease the testosterone levels. If these changes are not efficient, testosterone replacement therapy is often suggested to boost testosterone levels.
Maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, sleeping for 7-8 hours a night, coffee, vitamin D supplements, and eating nuts and beans, are the most effective ways to maintain testosterone levels. Talk to your healthcare provider about the best treatment for you.
Low levels of testosterone in women are best treated by addressing any underlying medical or mental health issues, not by taking testosterone supplements made for men.
There are no major risks associated with this blood test. Minor side effects may include bruising or bleeding at the site of puncture, fainting, pain and soreness at the site of puncture, etc. These side effects are harmless and do not require any treatments.
This test is usually done in the morning. This is because testosterone levels tend to be highest at that time. But you may need to have this test done more than once, and at different times of the day, to confirm low testosterone levels.
Along with testosterone test, a number of diagnostic tests are ordered to determine the exact cause of low or high levels of testosterone. Hormone tests such as total testosterone test, Luteinizing hormone (LH) test, Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) test, are ordered to help find the cause of abnormal testosterone levels.
Blood prolactin test and hemoglobin (Hb) estimation test are also suggested along with testosterone test. Other tests ordered to help with further diagnosis include Estradiol hormone test, HbA1C test for diabetes, Vitamin D estimation, and chromosome tests. Imaging tests such as MRI and bone density tests are also ordered.
Most causes of testosterone imbalance are treatable and early diagnosis and treatment can be helpful in maintaining normal levels of testosterone. Deficiency of testosterone may prompt the doctor to order additional tests to investigate the causes. Treatment depends on the diagnosis and medical history of the patient. It is very important to consult a doctor before starting testosterone replacement therapy or supplements as they may cause certain side effects.
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