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A testosterone test measures the amount of testosterone in the blood. It is also called a serum testosterone test.
Testosterone (sometimes referred to simply as “T”) is a hormone produced by both males and females. It plays a role in puberty and fertility. It also affects sexual desire.
In males, most T is produced in the testes. In females, most is produced in the ovaries. Males have higher levels than females, and it is thought to have a significant influence in the development of many particular “male” traits: increased muscle bulk, higher bone mass, physical strength, and body hair, amongst others. However, the hormone plays an important role in women as well.
This test is ordered for different reasons in males and females.
One common reason to order this test is either early or delayed puberty. The test may also be ordered if low hormone levels are suspected. Low levels are also known as hypogonadism.
Symptoms of hypogonadism include:
Causes of low T include:
A number of genetic diseases can also affect T levels, including:
High T levels may also be problematic. They may be caused by:
In females, testing is usually for high T levels. This may cause:
High T may be caused by:
Certain drugs can affect your testosterone levels. These could change the results of this test. Therefore, it is important to tell your doctor about all medications you are taking. Include both over-the-counter and prescription drugs. Your doctor may ask you to stop certain drugs before your test.
Medications that may affect this test include:
Your doctor may specify a time of day for your test. Hormone levels are highest in the morning. Therefore, this test is often performed between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m.
You may be also sent for repeat testing. This can track hormone changes throughout the day.
A testosterone test requires a blood sample.
The technician will clean the area where the blood will be drawn. Blood is usually taken from a vein on the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand.
An elastic band will be tied around your upper arm. This makes blood pool in the vein. A sterile needle will be inserted into your vein. Blood will be drawn into a tube. The elastic band will be removed from your arm. Then the needle will be removed. Pressure will be applied to stop bleeding and prevent bruising. A bandage may be applied as well.
Having your blood taken may cause some pain or discomfort. It may feel like a pricking or burning sensation. Relaxing your arm can help ease the pain. You may continue to feel some throbbing after the needle is removed. This should quickly go away.
A blood test has few risks. Rare complications include:
Written by: Janelle Martel
Published on: Jul 10, 2012on: Mar 16, 2016
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