At-home Testosterone Test
Written by Ada’s Medical Knowledge Team
A testosterone test measures the amount of testosterone in the blood. Testosterone is a sex hormone which men and women both need. If you’re worried that you might have testosterone imbalance, you might want to think about a testosterone test. Your doctor can perform a testosterone test or you can order a quick and easy to use at-home testing kit. Our testosterone page explains the functions of testosterone in the body. In this article, we talk about how to get testosterone tested and some of the signs of testosterone imbalance in men and women.
What is a testosterone test?
A testosterone test measures the amount of testosterone in the blood. Testosterone is a sex hormone. 1 Hormones are chemical messengers which travel in the blood. Both men and women need testosterone in their bodies but women have lower levels of testosterone than men (about one-tenth). 2 3
How to test testosterone levels?
There are two ways to do a testosterone level test. Either as a blood sample from a vein in the arm or in an at-home finger prick test. You can order an online testosterone test to take at home. A laboratory processes the testosterone blood test. Testosterone levels are usually higher in the morning, so around 9am is advised as the best time to take a test. There’s no need to fast before taking this test. 3
How to test testosterone levels at home?
You can order an at-home testosterone test online. The testosterone test kit is a finger prick test and the test kit contains a finger prick device. It is best to do the finger prick test when your body is warm, for example after a warm bath or shower. This means that the blood vessels near your skin are expanded, so it will be easier to collect blood from the finger.
The test kit will tell you whether you should take the test in the morning. Testosterone test costs can vary and usually depends on the test provider, whether other tests are included, and whether a doctor checks the result. It is important to carefully read and follow the instructions in an at-home test kit. 5
What blood test checks testosterone levels?
Testosterone moves through blood either free or bound to sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). SHBG is a protein, made by the liver, which binds to sex hormones in the blood. A total testosterone blood test measures all the testosterone in the blood, both free and bound. To compare free and total testosterone, SHBG level and a free androgen index are checked. A free androgen index compares how much testosterone is free in the blood and how much of it is bound to SHBG. 6
You can check testosterone, SHBG and a free androgen index test in an at-home testosterone test.
When to have a testosterone test?
A testosterone test can be useful if you are concerned that your testosterone level is too high or too low. You should speak to your doctor if you’re worried about this.
Signs of low testosterone in men
There are some visible signs of low testosterone in men: 7
- Erectile dysfunction
- Decreased libido
- Gynecomastia (enlargement of breast tissue)
- Muscle loss (uncommon)
- Loss of body hair
There are other causes of these symptoms so it is always important to speak to a doctor to help to assess what the problem is. If you and your partner are having difficulty getting pregnant, it is important that you both see a doctor.
Conditions which cause damage to the testes can also cause low testosterone: 3
- Physical injury to the testes
- Mumps (a viral infection)
- High alcohol intake
High testosterone in men is uncommon, unless due to taking testosterone supplements. It is important to speak to your doctor before taking testosterone supplements, as these can be harmful. 3
Signs of low testosterone in boys
In boys, a sign of low testosterone is delayed puberty. A sign of high testosterone is early puberty. You should speak to a doctor if you are concerned about either of these conditions.
Signs of high testosterone in women
- Excessive growth of facial and body hair
- Difficulty in getting pregnant
- Having no periods or irregular periods
These are also symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
Testosterone levels decline with age but too low testosterone is uncommon in women. Low testosterone levels may link to reduced sex drive for some women who have gone through menopause. 8 There are many other causes of low sex drive and you should consider speaking to your doctor if you are concerned.
What does the test result mean?
It is best to speak to your doctor when interpreting the results of a testosterone lab test.
In women, testosterone is considered high if over 60 ng/dL. 10
A doctor will consider your symptoms and may perform a physical examination alongside the testosterone test results. Depending on the results, your doctor may discuss further investigations and refer you to a specialist.
Testosterone test FAQs
Q: What is a testosterone test?
A testosterone test is a blood test, which measures the level of the hormone testosterone in the blood.
Q: How can I find a testosterone test near me?
A: Your doctor or sexual health clinic can perform a testosterone test. Alternatively, you can order testosterone testing online. An at-home testosterone test is a finger prick test which you can use yourself. You post the blood test sample to a laboratory, which will analyze the blood to give a test result.
Q: When should I seek advice from a doctor?
A: You should speak to your doctor if you are concerned that you might have testosterone imbalance. You should not take testosterone supplements without medical advice.
Q: If my testosterone is low, should I take testosterone supplements?
Depending on the cause of low testosterone, testosterone supplements are sometimes used as a treatment. Not all causes of low testosterone will respond to testosterone supplements. Testosterone supplements can cause significant health problems if taken without supervision. This is why you should speak to your doctor before taking testosterone supplements.