Monday, June 6, 2011

Testosterone Tests

Testosterone tests are carried out to measure the testosterone level in your body. These tests are generally of two types - blood tests and saliva tests. Testosterone tests are important to diagnose and cure certain syndromes and diseases associated with testosterone deficiency. These tests are done to evaluate ambiguous sex characteristics, precocious puberty, hirsutism and masculinization, virilizing syndromes in the female, infertility in the male, and rare tumors of the ovary and testicle.

Testosterone tests are carried out in laboratories on blood samples taken from body. These blood samples are usually collected in the morning, because testosterone levels are higher during morning hours. Most laboratory testosterone tests measure total testosterone, as the sum of both bound and free testosterone in the body. The most accurate blood test is the equilibrium dialysis, which measures free testosterones plus a portion of the albumin bound testosterones.

There are some do-it-yourself home testosterone test kits available at stores and online sites. They measure testosterone level in saliva. These tests are useful for aged persons and those who undergo testosterone replacement therapies. Apart from testosterone levels, saliva hormone tests also provide information regarding levels of other hormones such as DHEA, cortisol and progesterone.

Home testosterone tests are mostly simple - you collect your saliva in tubes provided with the kits at certain times of a day. Then you fill a simple form and mail the sample along with the form in a prepaid addressed mailer. The results are usually obtained in about 10 to 15 days. A complete home testosterone test kit is available from $55 to $80.

The major advantages of salivary hormone tests include low cost, private and convenient collection, and collection of multiple samples without spending the whole day in a laboratory. Testosterone usually follows circadian rhythms, so multiple sample collections allow more precise and accurate evaluation of the fluctuations in the rhythm.

Normal testosterone levels range from 300 to 1,200 ng/dL in men, 30 to 95 ng/dL in women, less than 100 ng/dL in pre-pubertal boys, and less than 40 ng/dL in pre-pubertal girls. Increased levels of testosterone are indicative of sexual precocity, viral infection of encephalitis, tumors involving the adrenal glands, testicular tumors, excessive thyroid production (hyperthyroidism), and testosterone resistance syndromes. Decreased levels of testosterone indicate Klinefelter syndrome, chromosomal deficiency, primary and secondary hypogonadism, and down syndrome.

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