When you hear the word testosterone, does it invoke images of muscular men? Aggression? Arnold Schwarzenegger? Fast cars and Alpha-type behavior?
There are plenty of myths and misconceptions regarding testosterone, most of which are untrue. However, testosterone does play an important role in your body, and monitoring your levels of testosterone is an important part of monitoring your overall health and well-being.
Taking an at-home total testosterone test is a good way to check your level of this hormone. In this article, we will review when you may need a testosterone test, how to take one, and how to understand the results.
Testosterone is well known as the male sex hormone. In men, it has many actions, including regulating the sex drive, bone and muscle growth, deepening the voice, producing pubic hair during adolescence, and sperm production. Low testosterone affects around 40% of men over the age of 45. It can cause low fertility, low sex drive, irritability, and fatigue.
What you may not know is that women produce testosterone too. In combination with estrogen, testosterone is responsible for the growth and maintenance of the reproductive tissues, development of bone mass, and maintaining the sex drive.
High testosterone levels in women can result in irregular menstruation, mood swings, and changes in libido. It can also cause polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Testosterone is produced in the adrenal gland in men and the ovaries in women.
If you want to check your testosterone levels, one of the most popular ways to do so is with a home test. Screening for low testosterone can be done at home in two ways:
As men age, the amount of testosterone in their bodies gradually depletes. The decline typically starts after the age of 30 and continues throughout their lives. There are also other causes of low levels of testosterone including:
Either you or your healthcare professional may recognize symptoms of low testosterone and want a test. Symptoms include:
There are several home testosterone test kits on the market. Many require you to take a saliva sample and mail it to a lab for analysis. Others require the use of the supplied tool to make a small finger prick and apply blood to a testing paper or small tube.
Alternatively, you can get a home blood test with Getlabs. If you choose this option, you can book an appointment online by visiting Getlab's scheduling portal. On the day of your appointment, a Getlabs phlebotomist will come to your home and draw a blood sample. They will take the sample to a local Labcorp or Quest laboratory where it will be analyzed. When your results are ready you will receive a call.
Normally, you do not need to take any special precautions before a testosterone blood test. However, if you are having blood drawn for other lab tests at the same time, for example, sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), you may be required to fast for 12 hours prior to the test.
Ask your doctor about fasting if you are not certain. You may also need to stop taking medications or supplements before your test, particularly if they affect your hormone levels.
Before your testosterone test, your Getlabs specialist will confirm your identification and ask you a few questions about your medical history, your current health, and your past experiences with blood draws. Once you are sitting or lying comfortably, they will wipe your chosen arm with an antibacterial swab before taking your blood sample.
Usually, your phlebotomist will tie a tourniquet around your upper arm to make it easier for them to find a vein. After inserting a very fine needle into your vein, they will attach a test tube to collect the sample. Once the blood has been collected, your phlebotomist will apply slight pressure to the needle site and then apply a small dressing. The test takes less than five minutes.
If you have any of the following symptoms after your blood test, you should contact your doctor as soon as possible:
Typically, you can expect your results to arrive within two to three business days after your test. You may get a call or the results may be posted on your laboratory's patient portal. You may need to make a follow-up appointment with your healthcare provider.
Testosterone test results may vary depending on a number of factors, such as your age, medical history, and your gender. You can discuss your results with a medical professional to see what they mean for you. Normal test results are:
If your testosterone level is below the normal range for your age, this means that you have a testosterone deficiency. This is also known as hypogonadism. Your doctor will explain the next steps and can provide you with testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). There are several treatment options. These include:
Typically, people notice relief from symptoms within 4-6 weeks of treatment.
If your testosterone levels are normal for your age, then you will not require any treatment. Your doctor may recommend further tests to find the underlying medical condition that is the cause of your symptoms.
High testosterone in women can cause irregular periods, balding, weight gain, mood swings, acne, increased body hair, deepening of the voice, and low fertility. In severe cases, high testosterone can cause infertility and obesity. Treatment will vary depending on the cause of elevated testosterone. Medications used to treat this condition in women include:
Having your blood test taken by a Getlabs specialist means that you can relax in the comfort of your home. As well as testosterone tests, we offer more than 5,000 different health tests.
You can book a nearby phlebotomist to draw your blood samples at home. Book an appointment with Getlabs today and let us deliver healthcare to you.
Getlabs delivers healthcare to you. Our specialists come to you to collect your labs and deliver them to Labcorp and Quest for testing. We’re available same-day, nationwide.