A testosterone test kit home edition offers you a convenient way to test your levels of this essential sex hormone.
Having abnormal levels of testosterone can affect your overall health and well-being. By doing a test to check if you have low testosterone, you can take steps to increase your levels as soon as possible and thus avoid serious health issues.
What Is Testosterone and Why Is It Important?
Testosterone plays an important role in sexual desire, fertility, and even the general development of a man. Although it is traditionally labeled as a male hormone, women also produce testosterone, although at significantly lower levels than men.
Testosterone production is mostly centered in the testes and plays a significant role in the development of numerous secondary sex characteristics of men, including:
- Body Hair
- Greater Muscle Mass
- Physical Strength
- Increased Bone Mass
- Deeper Voice
Testosterone levels peak when you reach 40. After this age, your testosterone level starts to fall by at least one percent per year. This is why the symptoms of low testosterone usually appear in men older than 40. Men who suffer from obesity also have low testosterone levels, no matter their age.
The most common condition related to testosterone deficiency is hypogonadism. It is also known as andropause or “male menopause” since it usually occurs at middle age. The symptoms associated with it include:
To ensure that your testosterone levels remain in balance, the first thing you have to do is check them on a regular basis. Some experts recommend that starting at age 35, you should monitor your testosterone every five years. If your doctor finds that your testosterone levels are imbalanced, they can prescribe an appropriate treatment.
How Are Testosterone Levels Tested?
A blood test is used to check testosterone levels. A healthcare professional will take a blood sample from the back of your hand or your elbow. Although you may experience some discomfort during the process, this will soon go away. The sample will be sent to a lab for testing.
Your doctor may ask you to take the test at a certain time of the day, usually between 7 to 10 AM. This is because testosterone levels are generally highest during this period.
Your doctor may also request that you repeat the test at a different time to track how your testosterone level fluctuates throughout the day.
This test measures total testosterone in the blood, which includes “bound” and “unbound” testosterone (also known as free testosterone).
“Bound” testosterone is bonded with SHBG (sex-hormone binding globulin) and makes up about 65% of total testosterone levels. Your body cannot use this T for its needs.
Testosterone can also be bound to a protein named albumin, and this fraction potentially bioavailable. This form of testosterone makes up around 35% of total testosterone.
“Unbound” or bioavailable testosterone is available for use by the body since it is not attached to any protein. It makes up just 2% of total testosterone.
The test results will include:
- Total testosterone levels, which include both forms of testosterone. Generally, the acceptable ranges are 240 to 950 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL) for men aged 19 and up.
- Bioavailable testosterone, which includes free testosterone and the one bound with albumin. Normal ranges vary depending on age.
- Free testosterone. Normal ranges vary depending on age.
The most important number of the test is the bioavailable testosterone. Even when total testosterone is within the normal range, if bioavailable testosterone is below normal, you can still suffer from symptoms of low testosterone.
What You Need to Know Before Taking the Test
Before you take the test, you must tell your doctor about all medications you are currently taking. There are certain drugs that can affect the results and your doctor may ask you to stop taking them for a short time before the test. These may include:
- Estrogen Therapy Drugs
- Androgen Therapy Drugs
- Anticonvulsants (Anti-seizure Drugs)
Should I Take a Home Hormone Test?
If you suspect you are suffering from low testosterone, you can use a testosterone test kit to determine your hormone level. These kits require a saliva sample rather than blood. Once you have taken the sample, send it back to the lab in the provided container for testing. You will receive the results within a few days.
The results should come with an explanation of the measurements so that you’ll know if your hormone levels are normal or not. Even if the test shows that you have healthy testosterone levels, you may still choose to consult a doctor if you are suffering from symptoms that worry you. Of course, if your levels are too low or too high, you should get in touch with your physician as soon as possible. These unbalanced levels may be an indicator of a more serious underlying problem.
Saliva testing is generally considered as reliable as blood tests but cannot be used as the basis for making a diagnosis of low testosterone. Your doctor will still require you to take a blood test to confirm the results. You can buy saliva hormone testing kits from Amazon and use them in the comfort of your own home. There are also hormone test kits that can measure testosterone levels in men and women.
Besides saliva tests, there are also some home tests that use a blood spot for a sample. Although these are possibly more accurate than saliva tests, they are still not accepted for diagnostic purposes.
Treatments to Restore Testosterone Levels
If you have been diagnosed with low testosterone, your doctor may recommend testosterone replacement therapy. However, TRT can have side effects and possible long-term health risks. For instance, there is some evidence that testosterone use can increase the risk of stroke or heart attack, but this has yet to be confirmed by large-scale clinical trials. You should also undergo screening for prostate cancer because testosterone may stimulate its growth.
All in all, testosterone is available in several forms:
- Transdermal skin patch. The patch is worn on the upper body or arm and applied every 24 hours, generally in the evenings. It slowly releases small amounts of testosterone into the skin.
- Clear gel. This gel is applied to the skin once a day on the shoulders, thighs or upper arms. The testosterone is absorbed directly through the skin. After applying, make sure that you wash your hands and wear clothing that covers the areas where the gel is applied.
- Mouth tablet. The tablet is placed in the mouth, between the inner cheek and the gums. As the tablet dissolves, the testosterone is absorbed through the surface of your mouth and promptly reaches the bloodstream.
- Implants. These are placed under the skin, usually beneath the buttocks or hips, and gradually release testosterone into the body. The implants are changed every three or six months.
- Injections. A testosterone formula such as Testosterone Cypionate is injected every 1 to 4 weeks. After the testosterone injection, T levels can spike, causing mood swings and energy levels to jump up temporarily before they normalize.
Patients who undergo therapy can usually see improvements within four to six weeks. However, more fundamental improvements such as increase in muscle mass may take up to 3-6 months to appear.
The benefits of testosterone replacement therapy may vary based on the individual. About one in ten people have reported feeling ecstatic after starting therapy while an equal number of respondents reported not experiencing any significant changes. Generally, the majority of men who undergo therapy report positive results.
By the way, you can increase your testosterone using natural methods as well. For example, just increase your intake of testosterone-boosting foods such as eggs, grass-fed butter and beef, liver, coconut oil, mushrooms, olive oil, avocados, Brazil nuts, celery, turmeric, and ginger.
You can also take certain foods to increase your levels of free testosterone. The supplements that you should focus on include Vitamin D, Zinc, Magnesium, Stinging Nettle, and Boron.
You can also use these supplements to lower your SHBG levels. To recap, SHBG binds with testosterone and makes the body unable to use it. In addition, you should avoid excessive intake of alcohol, fibers and anti-androgen drugs such as NSAIDs, anti-depressants, and beta-blockers.
Maintaining a balanced level of testosterone in your body is extremely important, especially if you are a man. Having either too little or too much of this hormone can have detrimental effects on your health, mood, physical performance and fertility.
While doctors might not accept the results of a home saliva test for diagnostic purposes, they can still provide you with useful information. For instance, if the results show that your testosterone levels are low, you can set an appointment with your doctor to confirm them and discuss possible remedies. If your testosterone levels are in the normal but lower end of the range, you can use natural methods to boost them.
If you are already using natural techniques to increase your testosterone, you can use a testosterone test kit home version before you start to establish baseline levels. You can then take another test later to see how successful your efforts are.