Testosterone is the main men’s sex hormone. It plays a great role in the state of health and performs a number of important functions. The symptoms of low testosterone, among others, include erectile dysfunction, no sex drive, infertility and other sexual disorders both in men and women. To diagnose these conditions, testosterone testing can be used. Usually, total testosterone test and free testosterone test are distinguished. What does it mean?
All testosterone circulating in the blood falls into two groups: the so-called bond testosterone (it is bound to albumin and SHBG or sex hormone binding globulin) and free testosterone. A total testosterone test measures the total level of this hormone in the blood. Free testosterone test measures free testosterone level only. The latter usually provides more accurate information regarding the presence or absence of a disease or disorder.
In adult men, this test is commonly ordered when hypogonadism is suspected. Hypogonadism is a state including a range of inner changes. Its most common symptoms are ED, infertility, low libido.
The Procedure of Testosterone Testing
Testosterone test procedure includes venipuncture. The blood analyses are conducted in a specially equipped lab. The main biological material for this analyses is blood serum. It is taken to a special test class and sent to a lab. The results are usually available in 12-24 hours. For the most accurate results, a man undergoing the test should adhere to several rules.
First, before the test it is not recommended to do sports or perform any physical activity. A patient should be absolutely relaxed. Also, it is important to take into account the time of year and time of a day. For example, in the morning and in autumn the level of testosterone is usually higher. A patient should not smoke at least 2-3 hours before the testing. Finally, the samples are taken on an empty stomach. Taking some medicines, especially hormones, can influence the results much, that’s why to say about all the drugs taken before the procedure.
Results – Evaluation and Prescriptions
The normal level of testosterone in healthy adult men can range from 2.5 to 10-11 ng/dL (nanograms per deciliter). Significant abnormalities can be the evidence of a disorder. Low testosterone can be a sign of many disorders. For example, it is always caused by acute kidney failure, chronic prostatitis, and obesity. Often the cause of low testosterone is vegetarianism or abstinence from meat. And sometimes the decrease of testosterone level can be caused by a natural process of aging.
If the level of testosterone is too low, a doctor can prescribe testosterone replacement therapy. This therapy has certain benefits in the form of an increased sex drive, improved erection and sexual life in general, boosting energy level. At the same time TRT has a lot of adverse effects, so, it should be used very carefully, after a thorough evaluation of the overall state of the patient.