If you’re male and have been experiencing symptoms such as low energy, poor libido, or fertility issues, it could be worth exploring whether low testosterone could be the cause.
While there could, of course, be other reasons behind those problems, ruling out any issues with your testosterone levels may be a good place to start.
What is testosterone?
Testosterone is a hormone found in humans, as well as in other animals. For men, testosterone is produced primarily in the testicles. Women also produce testosterone, in the ovaries, but in much smaller quantities.
During puberty the production of the hormone increases significantly and around the age of 30 it begins to dip.
Testosterone is most commonly associated with sex drive, and it plays a crucial part in the production of sperm. But testosterone also affects bone and muscle mass, influences how men store body fat, and the production of red blood cells.
What are the signs of low testosterone?
While testosterone levels do naturally start to decline with age, low levels could suggest a hormone disorder.
When levels of testosterone are low, there are a range of symptoms which can present themselves. These include:
- Breast growth
- Loss of body hair
- Reduced sex drive
- Reduced testicle size
- Skin changes
Can you have too much testosterone?
For men, raised levels of testosterone can be caused by the use of anabolic steroids or an endocrine disorder.
For women, increased levels of the hormone is usually associated with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). This can lead to unwanted male characteristics such as facial hair.
Are there health conditions which can affect testosterone?
For men, certain diseases, conditions, or injury can cause a drop in testosterone. These can include:
- Problems with the pituitary and hypothalamus glands such as a tumour, medications such as steroids, morphine or tranquilizers, HIV/AIDS or certain infections and autoimmune conditions.
- Problems with the testes such as a direct injury or infection, castration, radiation treatment, chemotherapy, or tumours.
- Genetic diseases such as Klinefelter syndrome or hemochromatosis can also affect testosterone levels.
For women, a deficiency of testosterone can result from a disease of the pituitary, adrenal or hypothalamus glands or the removal of the ovaries.
What else should you look out for?
If you’re thinking about your testosterone levels, it pays to look at the bigger picture. While testosterone is an important marker when it comes to your health, fitness, and fertility, it doesn’t function in isolation. When considering levels of testosterone, it’s help also to consider the impact of other hormones, including:
Follicle stimulating hormone
In men, FSH is a part of the development of the gonads as well as sperm production. The FSH test measures the level of FSH found in your blood. It is used primarily to evaluate the function of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis and aid in the diagnosis and treatment of infertility in women.
In women, LH helps control the menstrual cycle. It also triggers the release of an egg from the ovary. This is known as ovulation. LH levels quickly rise just before ovulation. In men, LH causes the testicles to make testosterone, which is important for producing sperm. Normally, LH levels in men do not change very much.
When a high blood prolactin concentration interferes with the function of the testicles, the production of testosterone and sperm production. Low testosterone causes decreased energy, sex drive, muscle mass and strength, and blood count.
Sex hormone binding globulin
Levels of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) can help evaluate men for low testosterone and women for excess testosterone production.
Getting your testosterone levels tested
If you’re concerned about your testosterone levels, you may want to consider getting tested for confirmation. Armed with this information, you can make more informed decisions in order to optimise your health and wellbeing.
Private testosterone testing with quick results
Locating a trustworthy male hormone blood analysis service in Ontario, Quebec or Manitoba can be difficult. We make this process accessible by enabling you to order the blood tests you need.
Simply order online or over the phone and then attend for your blood draw without an appointment at Dynacare. We then go the extra mile and guarantee your blood test results by email by the turnaround time promised. If you don't, you'll get your money back, as pledged by our Express Results Guarantee.
How your appointment works
We partner with Dynacare to offer a professional phlebotomy service. This guarantees that your blood samples are taken and handled correctly and that your results are processed efficiently by clinical professionals.
Unlike home testing healthcare kits, where you take the sample yourself, our trained professionals reduce the likelihood of errors such as collecting an insufficient amount of blood or accidental contamination, which could delay your test results.
At your appointment, the friendly team will talk to you about your test, collect your blood sample and send it off for testing at an accredited partner laboratory. All you need to do is arrive for your appointment. We’ll take care of the test, and the rest.
Clear, accurate results
The time it takes to receive your results will depend on the type of test you have chosen. When they are ready, your results will be sent directly to you, via email, within the time specified. If you would prefer to receive a paper copy of your results through the post, that can be arranged for you.
You can also choose the option of reported or unreported results. Reported results include information and comment from our GP which you may find helpful to discuss with your own consultant, or for your records.