Testosterone Therapy For Low Levels
In most cases, men need to have both low levels of testosterone in their blood and several symptoms of low testosterone to go on therapy.
It is possible to have low levels and not experience symptoms. But if you do not have any key symptoms, especially fatigue and sexual dysfunction, which are the most common, it is not recommended you go on the therapy given the uncertainty about long-term safety.
Even if your levels are low and you have symptoms, low-t therapy is not always the first course of action. If your doctor can identify the source for declining levelsfor instance, weight gain or a particular medicationhe or she may first address that problem.
If you and your doctor think testosterone replacement therapy is right for you, there are a variety of delivery methods to consider, as found in the Harvard Special Health Report Men’s Health: Fifty and Forward.
Most men feel improvement in symptoms within four to six weeks of taking testosterone replacement therapy, although changes like increases in muscle mass may take from three to six months.
Why Do I Need A Testosterone Levels Test
You may need this test if you have symptoms of abnormal testosterone levels. For adult men, it’s mostly ordered if there are symptoms of low T levels. For women, it’s mostly ordered if there are symptoms of high T levels.
Symptoms of low T levels in men include:
- Low sex drive
Symptoms of high T levels in women include:
- Excess body and facial hair growth
- Deepening of voice
- Weight gain
Boys may also need a testosterone levels test. In boys, delayed puberty can be a symptom of low T , while early puberty may be a symptom of high T.
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Saliva Hormone Level Imbalance Testing Kit From Zrt Laboratory
Available at Amazon as well as ZRT Laboratorys chosen online retailer Live Well Testing, this test kit is offered by a recognized leader in the hormone and well being testing kit market.ZRTs credo is our results are complex, our tests are not.
The results of a test can only be as effective as the collection process, which is why the Saliva Hormone Level Imbalance Testing Kit comes with clear and simple instructions for collecting your saliva and sending it to the lab for testing your testosterone levels.
Using saliva collected over several collection times throughout the day, the Saliva Hormone Level Imbalance Testing Kit is able to measure free testosterone, rather than simply total testosterone.
Free test is really the number you need to know in determining whether or not you have a deficiency, and is generally the kind that counts towards the above mentioned benefits.
As one of the first companies to use saliva for measuring hormones, ZRT has developed the protocol for effective home collection, so when it comes to Saliva-only tests, this one has a good chance of outperforming its competitors.
That said, I checked out the Saliva Hormone Level Imbalance Testing Kit reviews on Amazon, and the news here is not very good.Granted, there are only 2 reviews posted, but they both are only 1-Star reviews:
Saliva Hormone Level Imbalance Testing Kit sells at Amazon for $63.99 with free shipping, and there are no further costs for lab work or shipping.
How Is A Testosterone Test Performed
Getting testosterone levels checked requires a simple blood test. The test is usually performed in the morning, when T levels are highest. Sometimes, the test needs to be retaken to confirm the measurements.
Before the test, your doctor may ask you to stop taking any prescriptions that could affect your testosterone levels. Some medications that can artificially increase your testosterone levels include:
- androgen or estrogen therapies
Some medications, including opiates, can artificially decrease your testosterone levels. If youre taking any of the medications above, alert your doctor. Theyll ensure that your testosterone test results are accurate.
Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may also perform a physical examination. If youre male, your doctor may perform a physical if they notice:
- a loss of facial hair
- a loss of height
- signs of gynecomastia, an abnormal increase in breast tissue size
- abnormal weight gain
If youre female, your doctor may perform a physical if they notice:
- abnormal facial acne
- abnormal hair growth on your lips or chin
- abnormal hair thinning or balding on the head
Testosterone home testing kits are widely available from several companies, such as LetsGetChecked and Progene. They use your blood or saliva to test your hormone levels. After taking the test, youll send your sample to a laboratory for testing. You can purchase a test kit online from LetsGetChecked here.
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How To Fix Estrogen Deficiency
How to fix the problem depends on why its low. Factors that can cause low estrogen include:
Adrenal gland insufficiency or HPA axis dysfunction
Supporting the adrenal glands involves replenishing vital vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, B5, B6, magnesium, and zinc. Adaptogenic herbs like Schisandra, Rhodiola, Ashwagandha, and Reishi also help.
Your thyroid may be low due to nutritional deficiency or a condition known as Hashimotos thyroiditis. Depending on the cause, the solution may be to support your thyroid with nutrients like copper, zinc, selenium iodine and tyrosine. A word of caution, too much iodine can cause problems. Avoid supplementing unless you are under the supervision of a naturopathic doctor. Research suggests that Hashimotos may be due to latent infection. In which case, supporting healthy immune system function helps.
Post-menopause women do still produce a certain amount of estrogen. Maintaining healthy testosterone levels through weight training and adrenal gland support can ensure optimal levels after menopause.
If levels of male hormones or androgens are too high, they can suppress ovulation, thereby suppressing estrogen production. In this case, the solution is to reduce the androgen excess. We do this through diet, stress reduction, exercise and natural remedies like inositol, black cumin seed, saw palmetto and nettle root.
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Blood Tests For Total Testosterone
ECLIA Method. When I tested myself for total testosterone for my experiment, the method the lab used was ECLIA, short for Electrochemiluminescent Immunoassay. Its a fast and affordable method to measure total testosterone in your blood. Many labs use this method because its automatic and doesnt require too much work on a lab technicians part. However, some studies have shown that values obtained with ECLIA are significantly higher compared to the more reliable LC/MS method. Which brings me to
LC/MS Method. LC/MS is short for liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. Its considered the gold standard method by many researchers in measuring small molecules. Its accuracy and consistency is why the CDC is recommending LC/MS to be the standard method used when testing total testosterone. Because LC/MS is more sensitive than ECLIA, doctors typically use this method when testing patients with really low testosterone levels, such as women and children. While its more accurate and sensitive, the LC/MS method is more expensive than ECLIA. And it takes a bit longer to get your results.
A month after my 90-day experiment, I got tested again, but this time using the LC/MS method. My total testosterone level using this method was 826.9 ng/dl. Meaning my T levels increased even more since starting my testosterone changes.
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Testosterone Analysis In Women
Testosterone testing is indicated for investigation of signs and symptoms of hyperandrogenism in women based on medical history and clinical examination. Testosterone testing is not indicated for the investigation of women with low libido.16
The upper limit of normal for testosterone in women is approximately 2-3 nmol/L, or slightly higher depending on menstrual phase and use of oral contraceptive medications.17 In polycystic ovarian syndrome, total testosterone concentrations are within the normal reference interval or slightly higher. Consequently, testosterone concentrations greater than twice the upper limit of normal suggest an alternate etiology, such as an androgen-secreting tumour.
How Is Low Estrogen Diagnosed
Diagnosis and treatment of low estrogen can help prevent many health issues.
If youre experiencing symptoms of low estrogen, talk with your doctor. They can assess your symptoms and make a diagnosis if needed. Early diagnosis may help prevent further complications.
During your appointment, your doctor will discuss your family health history and assess your symptoms. Theyll also perform a physical exam. Blood tests will likely be needed to measure your hormone levels.
Your follicle stimulating hormone levels may also be tested to determine whether your estrogen is low if youre experiencing:
- hot flashes
- frequently missed periods
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Come Into A Vault Office To Get Your Lab Work Done
Once youre familiar with the symptoms and how testosterone works, the next step is to test your blood, which can be done at a Vault office near you.
First, when going into a Vault office to get your levels tested, its important to ensure youre feeling healthy, youve eaten a full meal, and youre not currently taking any medicine that could affect your normal testosterone levels.
Second, total testosterone fluctuates significantly during the day. Levels are highest in the morning and generally decrease throughout the day. As such, Vault offices are only open from 7am to 12pm.
Lastly, after the blood panel, a healthcare professional will assess your results and symptoms. If your testosterone levels are below 300 ng/dL and you safely pass the 8 other blood level indicators measured as part of the test, you may be a good candidate for testosterone therapy.
To learn more about low testosterone and what treatment is available for you, visit Vault’s website.
Getting Started With An At Home Testosterone Test
Testosterone is a hormone that is more dominant in males than in females, so it is expected that most test kits are designated mainly for males.
The at home testosterone test can be easily performed. You should first ensure that you order your kit from a reputable company with a track record of accurate results. Then, you must follow the steps in the instruction manual, taking particular care to follow any fasting or drinking steps in preparation. An excellent test kit would provide a reliable result that matches that of the traditional in-office lab test.
Unlike other home test kits with almost the same materials across brands, the testosterone kit may differ in how the sample is collected among different companies.
For kits that require saliva samples, such as EverlyWell, the materials generally include the following:
- Saliva tube
- Biohazard bag
- Pre-paid return shipping bag
For kits that require blood tests, such as Grassroots Labs and Imaware, the materials generally include the following:
- A DIY instruction manual
- A medical grade collection card
- Envelope for returning both cards
- Alcohol swab
Whether the kit you ordered requires a saliva or blood sample, most kit companies would need you to register your kit online to get a code that you can use to access updates on whether your cards have been received. You can also use it to view your results online if it is not sent directly to your mail or phone.
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When Should You Check Your Estrogen Levels
There are a few different scenarios that might encourage you to have your estrogen levels tested. The most common is symptomatic and should happen if you are experiencing adverse symptoms related to estradiol and estrone.
Issues such as problems with menstrual cycles, infertility, menopausal symptoms, and vaginal bleeding after menopause are all cause to check estrogen levels. Girls who develop sex organs later or earlier than normal may also get their estrogen levels tested. Pregnant women are routinely given an estriol test as part of prenatal screenings, but it is not always necessary.
However, many symptoms of hormonal imbalance can be misleading and attributed to other issues. For example, weight gain may be linked to a hormonal imbalance, or it may be related to other lifestyle factors. Testing can be a handy tool to investigate any symptom that might fall into this category.
Checking specific levels can give you and your doctor insights into your health. If you are experiencing symptoms that indicate your hormone levels might be off, taking a hormone test can help you potentially find the cause of your symptoms and give you more information about your general health.
How Does A Doc Treat Low Testosterone
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How Is Testoterone Made
Most male testosterone is made in the testicles , with the remainder made in the adrenal glands.
Focusing on whats made in the testicles:
How Do You Test For Low Testosterone
Screening for low testosterone can be done with the Everlywell at-home test. This low testosterone test measures free testosteroneâinstead of total testosteroneâand only requires a simple saliva collection done in the morning . After collecting your sample, you send it to a lab for analysis. Youâll get your secure, online test result just a few days later.
What Is The Difference Between Free Testosterone And Total Testosterone
Most of the testosterone in your blood attaches to 2 proteins: albumin and sex hormone binding globulin . Some testosterone is not attached to proteins, or free. Free testosterone and albumin-bound testosterone are also referred to as bioavailable testosterone. This is the testosterone that is easily used by your body.
If your healthcare provider thinks that you have low or high testosterone, he or she will first test total testosterone levels as above. This looks at all 3 types of testosterone. The free testosterone test may help give more information when total testosterone is low.
As with the total testosterone levels described above, your levels of free testosterone will vary due to age.
The following table illustrates the range of normal freetestosterone for men and women by age.
Testosterone Deficiency: Practical Guidelines For Diagnosis And Treatment
Testosterone deficiency in men is a common but often-missed diagnosis. After confirmation of the diagnosis, exclusion of any reversible causes, or contraindications to the use of testosterone, replacement therapy may be offered. Methods of replacement include injectable testosterone esters, transdermal testosterone , or oral testosterone in the form of testosterone undecanoate. Men receiving testosterone therapy should be followed according to a standardized monitoring plan testosterone levels should be assessed 2 to 3 months after therapy is initiated, followed by annual examinations to assess whether symptoms have improved and whether the patient is experiencing adverse events.
Testosterone can be administered orally, transdermally, or by injection to improve a hypogonadal mans sense of well-being, sexual function, bone density, and muscle strength.
Hypogonadism affects approximately 40% of men aged 45 or older, although less than 5% of these men are actually diagnosed and treated for the condition. Despite some controversy, testosterone therapy has been established as a safe and effective principal treatment for hypogonadism for nearly 70 years.
In the last decade, studies have improved our understanding of hypogonadism and have helped clarify its prevalence and associated comorbid illnesses.
CausesThe principal causes of hypogonadism are testicular failure , pituitary and/or hypothalamic failure , and age-related dysfunction .
What Are The Normal Testosterone Levels For Men And Women
The so-called normal testosterone levels for men and women changes as you age. Also, depending on age, weight, overall fitness and lifestyle, what is considered a normal testosterone level for one man, could be low for another. However that having all been said, the normal range of testosterone levels for adult men is from about 270 to 1070 nanograms per deciliter .
The normal range for women of age 19 and up, is from 8 to 60 ng/dL.
The following graphic illustrates the decline in testosterone levels in men as they age.
Signs And Symptoms Of Hyperandrogenism In Women
A range of symptoms and signs from hirsutism to virilisation may occur. The Endocrine Society recommends testing for hyperandrogenism in women with hirsutism that is moderate or severe, of rapid onset, or accompanied by menstrual dysfunction, obesity or clitoromegaly.18 Other indications for referral are outlined at the end of this document.
The Hormone Test All Women Can Do At Home
While lab work like the Female Hormone Panel is super valuable information especially once you have a personal database of tests that track your bodys progress there are ways you can check in on your hormones, at home, without the assistance of your OBGYN. If youre experiencing symptoms like PMS, acne, low sex drive, mood swings the next time you get your period, look at what color it is! Like really look.
Look at the color of the bleed, the consistency, note how long your period is, how it starts and how it endsnumbers on a page can be hard to connect back to how you feel, but your period is right there in front of you. Its a part of you and its a visual indicator of whats going on with your hormones. You can tell what kind of hormone imbalance you are dealing with by observing:
- The color of your period blood
- The way it starts and the way it ends
- The consistency of the period blood
- The length of time you have your period
- How much you bleed
This easily observable, immediately accessible information is right there for your understanding. Notice it, note it, actually write it down if you like in a period diary and it can give you so much important information.
But, how to know what it all means?
Always remember, that once you have the right information about how your body really works, you can start making health choices that finally start to work for you! You can do this the science of your body is on your side!
to your FLO,