What is Testosterone?
Testosterone is a hormone produced in man’s testes.
Testosterone help to build a man’s muscles, deepen their voice, grow body hair and makes their penis grow during puberty. Testosterone also helps to produce sperm and keep up male sex drive.
Women will have testosterone too but in smaller amounts. It produces from their ovaries. In female, testosterone helps to maintain hormone balance and regulates body functions.
What is Testosterone Levels Test?
This test measures the level of testosterone in blood. Most of the testosterone in the blood is attached to protein albumin and sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). Those that are not attached are called free testosterone. Usually need total testosterone test as a screening test. Free testosterone level needed to diagnose certain condition/disease.
When someone need a Testosterone Level test?
You may need this test if you experience the symptoms of abnormal testosterone level. For adult men, mostly need the test when they experienced symptoms of low testosterone level. However, for adult women, they need the test when they experienced symptoms of high testosterone level.
Symptoms of low testosterone level in male:
1) Low sex drive
2) Difficulty getting an erection/erectile dysfunction
3) Hair loss
4) Fatigue, depression, difficulty concentrating
5) Difficulty to get partner pregnant
6) Developed breast tissue/swelling
Symptoms of high testosterone in female:
1) Excessive growth of body and facial hair
2) Deepening of voice
3) Irregular menstrual
4) Acne/oily skin
5) Enlarged clitoris
How does Testosterone Level Test Carry out?
It’s a simple blood test that usually done early in the morning when the testosterone levels are highest. Doctor will take some blood from a vein in your arm and blood will then collected in a tube.
What is the normal result for Testosterone Level Test?
Normal total testosterone results in adult men:
- For age 19 to 49: 249-836 ng/dL
- For age 50 and older: 193-740ng/dL
Normal total testosterone results in adult female:
- For age 19-49: 8-48ng/dL
- For age 50 and older: 2-41ng/dL
Depending on the result, different test may be needed after review testosterone level result.
What do the result means?
Testosterone Level result means different things depend on your age and gender.
- High testosterone level may mean cancer in the testicle or adrenal glands.
- Low testosterone level may mean there is some other problem with the testicles such as injury to testicles before this.
For adult men:
- High testosterone levels may mean tumor in testicles or adrenal glands. Adrenal glands are gland that located above kidneys.
- Low testosterone levels may mean genetic or chronic disease, or a problem with the pituitary gland. Pituitary glans is an organ that controls many functions such as fertility.
For adult women:
- High testosterone level may mean patient have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). This condition is a leading causes of female infertility. Beside this, high testosterone level also may indicate ovary cancer.
- Low testosterone level are normal for women, but extremely low level may mean patient might have Addison disease.
Treatment for low testosterone for adult male
Low testosterone hormone is treated with testosterone replacement therapy which can be given in different ways:
- Testosterone pills which are the simplest treatment. The pills need to be taken regularly. It should be taken along with meal for better absorption.
- Testosterone gels/patch. These should be applied daily at different part of body such as arms, back and abdomen. The only downside of this method of treatment is need to be handle it carefully to prevent the hormone accidentally transferred to another person/partner.
- Intramuscular injection. This injection needs to be given by medical professional. Depending on the type of injection given, some need to be given every two to four weeks and some need to be given every three months.
Side effect of Testosterone Replacement Treatment
Testosterone replacement therapy is safe if consumed under guidance of medical professional. Most people do not experience any side effect but if they do, they will experience those common side effect as below:
- Acne or oily skin
- Skin irritation for those using topical testosterone
- Difficulty sleeping
- Hair loss
- Abnormalities in laboratory result such as increase in prostate specific antigen (PSA), increase in red blood cell count and decrease in sperm count causing infertility (for those who get testosterone injection therapy)
Who should not take testosterone hormone replacement therapy?
- Those with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) OR prostate cancer
- Severe congestive heart failure
- Obstructive sleep apnea that not been treated