Test Detail
Interpreting Results

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Written by
Dr. Betina Chandolia
BDS, MDS - Oral Pathology and Microbiology
Reviewed by
Dr. Ashish Ranjan
MBBS, MD (Pharmacology)
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Testosterone Free

You need to provide
This test is for
Male, Female
Test Preparation
  1. No special preparation required


What is Testosterone Free?

This test measures the amount of free testosterone in your blood. Testosterone is the main sex hormone in males. It controls sex drive, maintains muscle mass, and helps in the production of sperm. Women also have testosterone in their bodies, but in much smaller amounts.
A testosterone test may be used to diagnose conditions such as decreased sex drive, infertility, erectile dysfunction in men, and irregular menstrual periods in women.
The levels are highest during early morning and lowest in the evening. Low testosterone levels can also lead to low sperm count, low sex drive, and hair loss. Men who are diagnosed with low testosterone levels may benefit from testosterone supplements.

Why is Testosterone Free done?

  • To detect an abnormal testosterone level in males and females

  • To diagnose the cause of infertility in males and females

  • To diagnose the cause of erectile dysfunction in males

  • To detect the cause of virilization (masculine physical features) in females

  • To find out the cause for PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome)

  • To determine the cause of ambiguous genitalia (genitals that are not clearly male or female) in children

  • To diagnose the cause of delayed or early puberty

What does Testosterone Free Measure?

Testosterone free measures the levels of free testosterone present in the blood. 

Testosterone is a sex hormone which is mainly found in men. It can also be found in women but in small amounts. Testosterone helps in the development of male physical characteristics. 

In men, testosterone is produced by the Leydig cells present in the testicles. It is also produced by the adrenal glands present in both males and females. In females, small amounts of testosterone are produced by the ovaries. 

The function of testosterone is to develop secondary sex characteristics which include enlargement of the penis, body hair growth, development of muscle, and deepening of the voice. During puberty, it is produced in large amounts in males. In adult males, its function is to regulate the sex drive and to maintain muscle mass. In adult females, the testosterone gets converted to estradiol, which is the main sex hormone in females.

The testosterone hormone production is regulated by luteinizing hormone (LH), which is produced by the pituitary gland. As the levels of testosterone rise, the production of LH decreases which in turn slows down the production of testosterone. This is due to the negative feedback system, in which one entity controls the production of others. Similarly, when the levels of testosterone fall, it leads to an increase in production of LH which stimulates testosterone production.

The levels of testosterone are highest in the early morning and lowest in the evening. With exercise, the levels of testosterone increase and with age the levels decrease. 

In the blood, about two-thirds of testosterone hormone is bound to sex-hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) and about one-third is bound to albumin. A small amount is present as free testosterone. 

Interpreting Testosterone Free results


In males: 8.69 - 54.69 pg/mL

In females ( > 12 years)

Follicular phase: 0.45 - 3.17 pg/mL

Luteal phase: 0.46 - 2.48 pg/mL

Oral contraceptive: 0.55 - 2.01 pg/mL

Post menopausal: 0.29 - 1.73 pg/mL

Reference range may vary from lab to lab*

Answers to Patient Concerns & Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Testosterone Free

Frequently Asked Questions about Testosterone Free

Q. Is there any preparation required before the test?
Inform the doctor about the medications you may be taking. No other specific preparations are usually required before this test.
Q. How is the blood sample taken?
The healthcare provider takes a blood sample from the arm. The site from where the blood is to be withdrawn is cleaned with a swab of rubbing alcohol. This is then followed by inserting a small needle which has a tube attached to it for collecting blood. Once the sufficient blood for analysis is withdrawn, the needle is removed. The site is then covered with a gauze pad.
Q. In what conditions can the testosterone levels decrease?
Low levels of testosterone can be seen in: (a) Pituitary or hypothalamic disease (b) Genetic diseases such as Klinefelter, Kallman syndrome, and Prader-Willi syndrome (c) Testicular dystrophy (d) Damage to testes due to heavy intake of alcohol, physical injury, or viral diseases like mumps (e) Chronic diseases like Diabetes
Q. Is there any risk associated with the withdrawal of blood sample procedure?
As such there is no risk but in few cases, bruising, bleeding, and infection at the puncture site can be seen. In very few cases, there can be swelling of the vein after the blood is withdrawn.
Q. In what conditions can the testosterone levels increase?
In males, very high levels of testosterone can be seen in the following conditions: (a) Tumors of testicles (b) Tumors of the adrenal glands (c) Use of anabolic steroids (d) Early puberty (e) Congenital adrenal hyperplasia (deficiency of one of the enzymes to make hormones) in small babies and children. In females, high levels of testosterone can be seen in the following conditons: (a) Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) (b) Ovarian tumor (c) Adrenal gland tumor (d) Congenital adrenal hyperplasia
Q. What are the symptoms of low testosterone levels?
The symptoms of low testosterone levels in males may include: (a) Exhaustion (fatigue) (b) Depression (c) Impaired concentration (d) Loss of hair (e) Loss of muscle mass (f) Low sex drive (g) Low sperm count (h) Swelling in breasts (i) Impaired erection (j) Weak bones In females: (a) Fertility problems (b) Low sex drive (c) Absence of or irregular menstruation (d) Vaginal dryness (e) Weak bones
Q. What are the signs of high testosterone levels?
In females, the following can be signs of high testosterone levels: (a) Acne (b) Oily skin (c) Dark areas of skin (d) Deep voice (e) Enlargement of clitoris (f) Excessive hair on the face or body (g) Loss of hair (h) Absence of or irregular periods *As compared to females, males have high testosterone levels.
Q. What other tests are required along with Testosterone Free Test?
Depending upon the results of the tests, the doctor may advise 17-hydroxyprogesterone, Androstenedione, Biopsy, DHEA, Estrogen, FSH or LH, and Prolactin test.
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