Although it's most often associated with male sexual health, the hormone testosterone has many roles in the body for men and women. As with other hormones, a testosterone level outside the normal range can cause health problems. High testosterone in a child can lead to early puberty, and low testosterone in an adult male can result in infertility and related issues. In women, low testosterone can affect sex drive, and high testosterone can lead to excessive hair growth, vocal changes, and menstrual dysfunction.
- Skill level:
Schedule an appointment with a doctor if you are concerned that your testosterone level is either too low or too high.
Explain to your doctor the reasons why you are concerned about your testosterone level. If your doctor agrees that there might be a problem, you will most likely receive a lab form for a blood test.
Visit the lab and present the form you received from your doctor. Expect to have blood drawn, most likely from the inside of your arm. You may need to go to the lab first thing in the morning, as testosterone levels are highest at that time of day. Check with your doctor if you're not certain about when you should take the test.
Attend a follow-up appointment with your doctor, if one was requested, or wait for your doctor to call you with the results of the testosterone test. For total testosterone, normal levels for men are 300 to 1200 nanograms per decilitre (ng/dl), and for women, 30 to 95 ng/dl. Free testosterone levels are lower, with normal levels for a man being 50 to 210 picograms per millilitre (pg/ml) and for a woman 1.0 to 8.5 pg/ml. If your level was outside this range, your doctor will make recommendations for treatment.
Tips and warnings
- Chronic alcohol use can lead to low testosterone levels. If you are concerned about low levels, consider cutting back on alcohol . But always develop a plan together with your doctor to address your concerns, as there can be other reasons for a low testosterone level that require medical attention.
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