A testosterone test measures the amount of the male hormone, testosterone, in the blood. Both men and women produce this hormone.
The test described in this article measures the total amount of testosterone in the blood. Much of the testosterone in the blood is bound to a protein called sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). Another blood test can measure the "free" testosterone.
A blood sample is taken from a vein. The best time for the blood sample to be taken is between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. A second sample is often needed to confirm a result that is lower than expected.
The health care provider may advise you to stop taking medicines that may affect the test.
You may feel a slight prick or sting when the needle is inserted. There may be some throbbing afterward.
This test may be done if you have symptoms of abnormal male hormone (androgen) production.
In males, the testicles produce most of the testosterone in the body. Levels are most often checked to evaluate signs of low testosterone such as:
In females, the ovaries produce most of the testosterone. The adrenal glands can also produce too much of other androgens that are converted to testosterone. Levels are most often checked to evaluate signs of higher testosterone levels, such as:
Note: ng/dL = nanograms per deciliter
The examples above are common measurements for results for these tests. Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Some labs use different measurements or test different specimens.Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.
Increased testosterone levels may be due to:
Decreased testosterone may be due to:
Swerdloff RS, Wang C. The testis and male sexual function. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 242.
Updated by: Brent Wisse, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology & Nutrition, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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