Before learning how to test for low testosterone, it is important to understand what testosterone is and its function in the body. According to online-medical-dictionary.org, testosterone is the major androgenic hormone responsible for male characteristics. Testosterone levels naturally decline as men age, but levels that are too low can cause symptoms such as low libido, depression, increased body fat and a decrease in muscle mass. Have a test for low testosterone if these symptoms have become increasingly bothersome over the years.
- Determine if symptoms are present. In "Low Testosterone Explained: How do You Know When Levels are Too Low?" by Matthew Hoffman, MD, men are told that they should not even bother having a test for low testosterone if they are not experiencing symptoms. Symptoms include decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, and increased breast size. However, it is also important to carefully consider the presence of symptoms before dismissing the idea, as low testosterone symptoms generally develop slowly over a period of 10 or more years, making them easy to miss.
- Talk to your doctor. Your doctor can easily test for low testosterone with a standard blood test. There are two tests a doctor may use, one which measures total testosterone levels and another which measures testosterone in the bloodstream. If the first test indicates possible low testosterone levels, the second test will likely be ordered to confirm the diagnosis. Your doctor may order additional tests to rule out other diagnoses.
- Discuss treatment options with your doctor. If testing confirms low testosterone levels, treatment is available. Hormone replacement therapy is often recommended, whether by capsules, injections, gels or gum tablets. Further testing may be needed to determine the cause of low testosterone levels.
Tips And Warnings
Low testosterone levels can be caused by liver disease, alcoholism and steroid use.
Testosterone replacement therapy can increase the risk of prostate cancer. Men on such therapy should be checked often for the development of prostate cancer.
Men with heart, liver and kidney disease can succumb to heart failure while being treated for low testosterone.