Test Detail
Interpreting Results

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Written by
Dr. Shreya Gupta
BDS, MDS - Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology
Reviewed by
Dr. Ashish Ranjan
MBBS, MD (Pharmacology)
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Testosterone Total

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


What is Testosterone Total?

The testosterone Total test measures the testosterone levels (both free and bound) in blood. Testosterone is a sex hormone mainly found in men but can also be found in women (in small amounts). Testosterone aids in the development of secondary sexual characteristics like enlargement of the genitals, body hair growth, development of muscle, and deepening of the voice.
High testosterone levels can be indicative of tumors in the testicles or ovaries, and the low levels in boys can be due to some testicles injury. This test can be useful in diagnosing decreased sex drive, infertility, excessive hair growth, and irregular menstrual periods.

Why is Testosterone Total done?

In males:

  • Infertility

  • Erectile Dysfunction

  • Delayed puberty

  • Early puberty

In females:

  • Masculine physical features

  • Excessive body hair

  • Abnormal uterine bleeding

  • No menstruation

  • Infertility

What does Testosterone Total Measure?

Testosterone is a sex hormone which is mainly found in men. It can also be found in women but in small amounts. The appearance of male physical characteristics is due to testosterone hormone. Testosterone Total measures the levels of testosterone in the blood. 

In men, testosterone is produced by the Leydig cells present in the testicles. It is also produced by the adrenal glands 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. 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 Total results


In adult men:

  • 19 - 49 years: 249-836 ng/dL

  • 50 years and older: 193-740 ng/dL

In adult women:

  • 19 - 49 years: 8-48 ng/dL

  • 50 years and older: 2-41 ng/dL

Reference range may vary from lab to lab

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

Frequently Asked Questions about Testosterone Total

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 Total?
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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