Updated: 2019, Aug 20

What is Low Testosterone Level Test? Know about its Purpose, Procedure, and Risk Associated with the Test

Low testosterone level test

Overview of low testosterone test

Testosterone is one of the major hormones found in men. This hormone is often linked with masculinity.

This hormone is mainly produced by man’s testicles. It plays a crucial role in the stimulation of sperm production, development of muscle mass and bones, maintaining the sex drive, and more.

There are many causes of low testosterone, such as infection, obesity, diabetes, hormonal disorder, and other.

According to the study, the testosterone in men declines with aging. With the loss of testosterone, men experience symptoms like erectile dysfunction, loss of sex drive, decreased cognitive ability, loss of muscle mass, osteoporosis, and more.

Many of the symptoms could be due to some other reasons as well. Now, the question is how to know if these symptoms are due to low testosterone in the body. This is where the low testosterone level test comes into the picture.

The testosterone level test is the test, which measures the level of testosterone in the blood in terms of nano-grams per deciliter.

What is the low testosterone level in a man?

There is a standard set by medical professionals on the level of testosterone. The level of testosterone needed in the body depends on the age of men. Here is the normal level of testosterone for men, depending on their age.

level of testosterone depending on age

Anything beyond the standard set can be considered as a low testosterone level. A normal level of testosterone for men is between 300-1000 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dl).

The level of testosterone is very high in adolescence period, and the level of testosterone naturally declines after the age of 40.

How do you measure testosterone levels?

measure testosterone levels

Before discussing various types of low testosterone test, it’s necessary to know about different types of testosterone in the body.

The three types of testosterone flowing in the human body are free testosterone, SHBC-bound testosterone, and albumin-bound testosterone.

There are two types of test that can be carried out, and they are total testosterone and free testosterone test.

The total testosterone test checks the total level of testosterone in the body at that is floating at that specific time, which is the combination of free, SHBC-bound, and albumin-bound testosterone.

The total testosterone is measured in terms of nanograms per deciliter.

The free testosterone test measures free testosterone that is floating in your blood at that very moment (this test will often include albumin-bound testosterone, as it can be freely transformed into free testosterone). The free testosterone is measured in terms of pictograms per milliliter.

What does free testosterone do?

The free testosterone is not attached to proteins in the body. Because this testosterone is free-floated in the blood, this testosterone can be used easily by the body to do various functions.

This testosterone is available to bind to receptors in the muscles, brain, and other organs.

Getting back to the ways to measure the level of testosterone

Testosterone level measurement

Now, let’s take a look at how testosterone is measured. It can be measured in three ways, and they are saliva, urine, and blood test.

The two tests, saliva, and urine tests are inexpensive, but they are not accurate.

On the other hand, blood tests are accurate, but they are expensive ways of measuring the level of testosterone in the body.

There are separate blood tests for measuring total and free testosterone in the body. Here are some of the methods of total testosterone test.

  • ECLIA method

The full form of ECLIA is Electrochemiluminescent Immunoassay. This test is a quicker and cheaper method of measuring the level of total testosterone. Many laboratories prefer this method because there is no need of too much work for lab technicians.

  • LC/MS method
liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry

The second method to measure the level of total testosterone in the body is an LC/MS method.

The full form of LC/MS is liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. This method is highly preferred by the researchers for measuring small molecules.

The study shows that this method is extremely accurate in measure total testosterone.

Because of its accuracy, the CDC has recommended this method to be a standard method for the measurement of total testosterone.

The doctors usually use this method with the people who have an extremely low level of testosterone in their bodies.

However, this method is expensive than ECLIA method of measuring total testosterone. And, it takes a long time as well to get results from this test.

Now, the question is what method of measurement should be preferred by you. If you are not facing the extreme symptoms of low testosterone, then the ECLIA method can be good enough for you.

Now, let’s take a look at some of the methods of measuring free testosterone in the body. Generally speaking, the low testosterone test generally means the measurement of total testosterone in the body.

But, there could be cases where one needs to measure the level of free testosterone in the body. The level of free testosterone is really low, and it’s a bit difficult to measure it. Here are some of the methods used to measure free testosterone.

  • RIA Direct

This method is cheap and fast, but inaccurate. Despite all the criticisms, there are many labs that still use this method to measure free testosterone because it’s a cost-effective method.

  • Equilibrium Ultrafiltration

Many researchers consider this method as an accurate method of measuring the level of free testosterone. This method requires plenty of experienced lab technicians to perform. Furthermore, the results of this method also take quite a lot of time.

  • Calculated free testosterone

This is not a direct method of measuring the level of free testosterone in the blood. This method tries to estimate the rough amount of free testosterone by calculating SHBC, albumin, and total testosterone.

However, this method is not very accurate, and it requires a person to pay for three different tests.

In order to check the level of testosterone in the body, you just need to consult a doctor and sign-up for the test. Note that it’s not a compulsion to take a doctor’s order to take these tests.

Read Also: What Are The Major Causes And Symptoms Of Low Testosterone Levels?

Conclusion

The problem of low testosterone can lead to many unwanted conditions, but an extremely high level of testosterone can also lead to plenty of problems.

It’s recommended to have a low testosterone level test every once on a regular basis to determine testosterone levels and to make sure your body has an optimum level of testosterone every time.

The men having a lower level of testosterone than required should seek ways to increase their level of testosterone in their body.

A low level of testosterone can lead to a lack of sexual desire, which can often lead to passive sex life. The study reveals that the lack of sexual frequency is one of the major causes of divorce.

Conduct a low testosterone test on a regular basis; keep your testosterone level at an optimum level, and have a satisfying sex life.

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