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?
Masculine physical features
Excessive body hair
Abnormal uterine bleeding
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