A testosterone test is used to check the level of this hormone in your body. It is important for both men and women to have normal testosterone levels. Testosterone affects your overall health, impacting your muscles and bones, brain, vascular system, genitals, sexual function, distribution of fat and energy level. Testosterone levels are done to test impotence and infertility in men; early or late puberty in boys; or when women have excess hair, body characteristics of a male, or irregular menstrual cycles.
There are two types of testosterone tests: a blood test and a saliva test. If your doctor suspects you have low testosterone, he may advise that you have your testosterone level checked. The most common way to check testosterone levels is a simple blood test. This checks your body’s total testosterone. If after have your blood test your doctor needs more information, he may want to do a second test. The testosterone blood test can be done in conjunction with your other blood work each year. The saliva test is also a quick, easy, and accurate way to test testosterone levels in your home or in your doctor’s office. The National Institutes of Health has been relying on saliva tests to measure hormone levels for more than 30 years.
Ask your doctor for a reputable source online or in a medical supply store near you where you can buy a home saliva test kit. Kits range from $40 to $125.
Collect your saliva in the tubes provided at intervals throughout the day. Fill out the included form and mail the kit back according to the directions in the kit.
Wait for your results to come back. You should receive the results in about two weeks.
You can also get a blood test from your doctor to check your testosterone levels. There are two types of testosterone; the most commonly used test measures the "total" testosterone in your body. Another test measures the "free" testosterone; the testosterone that flows your blood. Your doctor may do both tests.
You do not need to do anything special before you have this test. Blood is drawn—usually in the morning when your testosterone levels are the highest—and is sent to a laboratory.
Go over your results with your doctor; the results should be back from the lab in about a week.
When getting the blood test, ask if you can have your testosterone level checked at the same time as any other blood work that may be necessary. Also ask your doctor or if you need to stop taking any medications beforehand that might affect the test.
A normal testosterone level for a man is 300 to 1,000 nanograms per deciliter. A normal level for women is 20 to 80 nanograms per deciliter. These ranges can vary a bit per person, but your doctor will decide if your testosterone level is adequate. If not, he can suggest treatment.