The sex hormone testosterone plays a critical role in a variety of male health functions. When men reach an older age, the natural production of this hormone in the body gradually decreases. Only in isolated cases does the testosterone level drop to such an extent that complaints and a pathological deficiency (hypogonadism) occur.
Therefore, it is crucial for those who want to maintain healthy hormone levels to have their testosterone measured.
What is testosterone?
When it comes to male health, testosterone is one of the most important factors – its powers extend far beyond determining sexual characteristics, as it affects virtually every aspect of life.
- Stimulates muscle growth,
- Provides body hair and beard growth,
- Supports bone metabolism,
- Promotes bone growth,
- Provides for the development and maintenance of bone density,
- Promotes dominant and aggressive behaviors,
- Promotes sperm production,
- Increases sexual desire, drive, and lust for life.
Why measure testosterone?
From the age of about 40 years, the testosterone level of men continuously decreases by about 1-2%. This is a slow ongoing process that some men don’t even notice. This process is called the andropause or, in some cases, the “male menopause”, although this cannot, of course, be compared with the menopause in women.
Accurate testosterone measurement is required to accurately determine low testosterone levels in men and to detect hypogonadism. Only then can the diagnosis be made and a treatment plan developed to restore the subject’s quality of life. Testosterone deficiency can have a negative impact on numerous organ functions and can promote blood pressure and diabetes.
What symptoms should you measure testosterone for?
- Sexual unwillingness and erectile dysfunction,
- Fatigue, lack of strength,
- Regression of the musculature,
- Increased abdominal fat,
- Reduced body & pubic hair,
- Reduced sperm production,
- Hot flashes,
- Decreased bone strength up to osteoporosis,
- Depressive moods.
BUT: It should be noted that many of the symptoms that occur above may also be normal signs of aging. Whether it is actually low testosterone can only be determined by testing.
Causes of low testosterone
Aging is one of the most common causes of low testosterone in men. With increasing age, the body produces less and less of the hormone as part of its natural aging process.
An unhealthy lifestyle, alcohol, drug or medication abuse, psychological stress or chronic diseases can promote an early deficiency.
The origin of testosterone deficiency is divided into two categories.
95% of testosterone production in men takes place in the testicles. Primary hypogonadism is said to occur when the hormone-producing cells found there become exhausted and cannot produce enough testosterone. Possible causes may include:
- Testicular inflammation,
- Testicular lesions,
- Testicular cancer,
- or systemic diseases, such as cirrhosis of the liver.
Testosterone deficiency may be due to a malfunction of the hypothalamus or pituitary gland, which is responsible for hormone production and therefore control of testosterone production. Possible causes are
- Tumor or lack of function in the pituitary gland,
- Brain Injuries,
- or Gallmann syndrome (developmental disorder of the gonads).
The testosterone level in the blood is subject to diurnal fluctuations. In the morning, the value is higher than in the afternoon, for example. Accordingly, it is necessary that the blood draw to measure testosterone takes place in the morning.
About 97% of testosterone is bound to proteins in the bloodstream, while the remaining 3% circulates as free testosterone. In laboratory tests, luteotropic hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) are used to measure testosterone levels because they stimulate production in the testicles.
- Elevated LH and FSH levels may indicate testicular hypofunction in the presence of testosterone deficiency (primary hypogonadism).
- If both values are low, this is an indication of a functional disorder of the pituitary gland (secondary hypogonadism).
What is the standard?
- 3.5 – 11.5 ng/ml (12 – 40 nmol/l)
- > 2.5 ng/ml (8 nmol/l)
Assessment of a doctor necessary
- 2.5 – 3.8 ng/ml (8 – 12 nmol/l)
How does the testosterone measurement proceed?
For medical history, physicians usually use a well-known questionnaire, the ADAM score (Androgen Deficiency in Aging Men). This questionnaire contains 10 questions which ask you about your current state of mind.
Questionnaire ADAM score:
- Have you noticed a decrease in libido?
- Do you feel less energetic?
- Do you have lower strength or endurance?
- Are you smaller than before?
- Do you have less enthusiasm for life?
- Do you suffer from frequent mood swings?
- Do you have a weaker erection?
- Is it a challenge to play sports?
- Do you tend to fall asleep quickly after eating?
- Is it more difficult for you to work?
If you answered “yes” to more than three questions, this could indicate a testosterone deficiency.
The test method
Blood tests are the most common method of analyzing hormone levels. With the help of these measurements, it can be determined whether there is a healthy level of testosterone in a man’s body.
Based on this, doctors can assess which treatments are best suited to the needs of the individual patient.
The hormone replacement therapy
If a testosterone deficiency is detected, there are several agents that can be used to treat it. Applications include gels for use on the skin, oral medications, or injections into the muscles. The injection is most often used for long-term treatment and is also called the 3-month injection.
Hormone replacement therapy aims to bring testosterone levels back into a healthy range through testosterone replacement.
Testosterone therapy does not stop natural aging! The prescribed medications require a prescription. Too much testosterone in the body can be harmful.
Testosterone plays an important role in male health and its production decreases with age. Measuring testosterone is necessary to detect a deficiency that could negatively affect organ function and quality of life.
Low testosterone is divided into two categories: primary hypogonadism, caused by testicular inflammation or injury, and secondary hypogonadism, caused by hypothalamic or pituitary dysfunction.
With Probatix it is now very easy to have your testosterone levels checked regularly. Simply register at Probatix Health and make an appointment!
It is possible to have a blood test done at the doctor’s office or to test testosterone levels yourself at home with a suitable test kit.
The cost of having your testosterone level measured in a doctor’s office can range from €28 to €240, depending on what additional services are requested, such as a physical exam.
The cost of a self-test is between €25 and €40.
Determining testosterone levels through blood or saliva tests is reliable, although blood tests are more accurate, according to experts. A saliva test is a convenient and time-saving option for measurement and can be chosen if it is to be performed for informational purposes.
In case of acute problems, a visit to the doctor is advisable.