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Testosterone is a hormone that men have far more of than women. It is associated with many “male” traits, such as facial hair, greater physical strength, and certain personality characteristics. Men who experience a decrease in their testosterone level usually don’t feel their best, even if nothing else is wrong with their health.
It’s possible to evaluate your testosterone levels with a testosterone test at home. Many of these tests are a reliable and great jumping-off point if you intend to make healthy lifestyle changes or
want to feel better in general.
What are Normal Testosterone Levels?
Normal, as is usually the case, is difficult to define when it comes to testosterone levels. One man might feel his healthiest with lower or higher levels, while another man could be just shy of a healthy amount of testosterone and feel terrible. It’s best to define “normal testosterone” by a bare minimum instead of assigning a specific value that a man should have.
Medically, a normal testosterone level is at least 300 nanograms per deciliter. (In comparison, normal testosterone for a female ranges from 8 to 60 nanograms per deciliter.)
Testosterone levels in men peak before the age of 20 and decline throughout adulthood. This is why testosterone is a greater concern for older men – they naturally have less, so if they start low, the issue will worsen as they age.
What Issues are Linked to Low Testosterone?
Men with low testosterone tend to struggle with getting or maintaining an erection. They might also have a low sex drive and experience moodiness and fatigue. There can be many different issues linked to erection problems, including some serious health concerns such as diabetes or high blood pressure, so it’s important to speak to your doctor if you think there is a problem.
Hair loss is inevitable for some men, but others deal with it because of inadequate testosterone levels.
Testosterone makes you stronger. It helps strengthen bone tissue and preserves bone volume as you age. Low testosterone makes men more prone to fractures. Testosterone is also linked to muscle health and low levels can result in a significant loss of muscle mass. Low levels also allow body fat to build up, further affecting your overall physical health.
Low testosterone levels can affect the size of a man’s testicles and reduce the amount of semen he produces, increasing fertility risks.
Low testosterone levels interfere with sleep. If you notice a problem falling or staying asleep, especially as you get older, inadequate testosterone is a possibility. Sleep apnea is also more prevalent in men with low testosterone. One of the best ways to increase testosterone is to get enough sleep, so if you can find a work-around and get better sleep despite low testosterone, you might be able to resolve your other issues naturally. Supplements like melatonin or improving your sleep environment can help.
Fatigue not linked to any other issue could be caused by testosterone levels being too low. You might consider a testosterone test if you get enough sleep but still feel tired.
In addition to the symptoms of low testosterone listed above, men with low levels report feeling sluggish, irritable, and unable to focus. Many develop depression. Like many hormone imbalances, even a slight change can have a major impact on how you feel overall and on your quality of life.
For many men, improving their overall health, even slightly, will resolve the issues with testosterone. Daily exercise and eating better is enough to bring things back into balance. In other cases, medical intervention is required to return testosterone levels to where they should be.
Can I Test My Testosterone at Home?
Yes. Although you shouldn’t hesitate to speak to your doctor if you believe there is a problem.
Many men are reluctant to take their concerns to their doctors because they feel embarrassed.
Low testosterone plays a role in many sensitive issues, so it’s tough to be open and honest, even with a medical professional.
Testing your testosterone level at home gives you an indication of whether there is a problem and helps you decide if seeing your doctor is necessary. Keep in mind, though, low testosterone is linked to some serious health problems. If you have any other symptoms aside from feeling “off” or just not yourself, it’s important to speak to your doctor as soon as possible.
If you decide to go the at-home test route, make sure you choose a test that offers the following:
- Analysis by a certified lab
- Physician review of test results before you see them
- Secure storage of your sample and other information
- Reputable company with good reviews
At-home testosterone testing is a good place to begin if you think you have a problem. If your results are in any way abnormal or appear low, you should review them with your doctor as soon as possible.
The Ultimate Guide to At-Home Hormone Testing: What you need to know.
“Testosterone Level: Can You Boost It Naturally?” Mayo Clinic, www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/sexual-health/expert-answers/testosterone-level/faq-20089016. Accessed 18 Dec. 2020.