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Men, are you feeling fatigued, have a low libido or are you experiencing erectile dysfunction or infertility?
Are you interested in learning more about how testosterone levels could be contributing to your symptoms and are looking for answers?
For those of is in the quantified self, direct access healthcare community, we are constantly looking for the most cost effective, actionable applications in the home based testing world to evaluate symptoms that can be treated by a healthcare provider.
With so many home based testing methods on the market today, how to we know which is best to suit our unique needs?
Home based hormone testing can be confusing and overwhelming. Trying to understand hormones role in your body, which test is best and what company to order from can be arduous.
We are here to help you better understand your body and your options so we’ve reviewed four of our favorite men’s hormone testing companies for you! Keep reading for valuable information…
Home based hormone testing is an option for men who want to know if hormones could be contributing to their symptoms of fatigue, low sex drive, erectile dysfunction and other hormonally mediated symptoms and conditions. Men don’t only rely on testosterone for hormonal balance, as they also have other hormones that require a harmonious balance for proper physical function. For more on how hormones affect your body, read our articleHome Based Hormone Testing for Women (and MEN).
You may hear the word testosterone thrown around at work, at the gym and at the doctor’s office but why is testosterone so important for men? Read on to learn more!
For a man’s body to function normally, there needs to be a harmonious balance of several sex hormones, some of which include:
- Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)
Within this article, we will briefly discuss some the role of testosterone in men. For a more detailed discussion on hormonal health, check out our article Home Based Hormone Testing for Women (and MEN).
If you are interested in finding a home based hormone test which will evaluate male hormone factors, such as abnormally low levels of testosterone which could be contributing to symptoms like fatigue, low sex drive, erectile dysfunction and other hormonally mediated symptom then we’ve got you covered!
Why is testosterone important in men (and women too)?
Although the hormone testosterone is commonly associated with men, women too produce testosterone, although in lower levels. Testosterone is a very important male hormone, responsible for maintaining libido, sperm production, muscle mass and strength, fat levels, bone mass and red blood cell production.
As men age, testosterone levels naturally decline and can lead to unwanted physical symptoms such as:
- Lowered libido (sex drive)
- Erectile dysfunction
- Increased storage of body fat
- Weight gain
- Hair loss
- Lowered levels of strength
- Decreased muscle mass
- Lowered bone density
- Male breast changes
- Hot flashes
- Changes in cholesterol levels
- Difficulty concentrating
- Low self-esteem
In some cases, a natural decline in testosterone is not the cause for altered testosterone levels and may be caused by a medical problem, some of which can be serious. Some medical conditions associated with low testosterone in men may include things like:
- Thyroid dysfunction
- Testicular cancer, genetic abnormality or other injury
- Diabetes, specifically type 2
- Use of certain medications that alter testosterone levels
- Alcohol (excessive use/alcoholism)
- Pituitary gland conditions
- Kidney disease
Women too can have alterations, specifically elevations, in their testosterone levels which can lead to unwanted symptoms such as infertility, weight gain, acne, clitoral enlargement and mood changes. Additionally, women with elevated testosterone levels can experience male sex characteristic changes such as:
- Deep voice
- Increased muscle mass
- Decreased breast tissue/size
- Male pattern baldness
Yes…there are other hormones to look into! (PLEASE LINK TO other pages talking about hormones and reviews)
So now what?
Now that you have a better understanding of testosterone, its role and the need for hormonal balance, what’s the next step?
As always, you’ll want to speak with a qualified healthcare provider to determine your personal risk for hormone imbalances which can be causing some of your symptoms. Certain hormone imbalances may be caused by minor issues or more potentially serious health conditions that need further evaluation by a healthcare provider.
Home based saliva, blood spot and combination testing may be a useful tool for you and your healthcare provider to determine the best course of treatment for symptoms and disease prevention and we’ve reviewed our four favorite companies below! Read on for all of the details and how to order your testing today!
Not all testosterone tests are alike!
When considering home based testing, determining if you need testosterone only or other hormone testing is essential. Companies such as the ones listed below offer a variety of male hormone testing options including testing only for testosterone, or a more comprehensive hormonal panel.
Free vs Total Testosterone- is there a difference?
When testing for testosterone levels, there are two testing types offered and there is a difference. Testosterone found in the body is either bound or unbound and affects how the body is able to use the hormone. For example, bound testosterone is already bound to a protein. Therefore, it cannot be used by the body immediately.
That’s where free testosterone levels come into play. Free testosterone levels measure the amount of testosterone that is unbound in the blood and able to be used by the body and its tissue at any point. This is the testosterone level that will be useful in determining how testosterone is contributing to the unwanted symptoms of low testosterone.
Why is SHBG so important?
If you’ve never heard of SHBG or sex hormone binding globulin- you’re not alone! SHBG is a molecule that is a protein that binds to hormones, like testosterone, making them what is referred to as bound. As noted above, testosterone that is bound to SHBG is not readily available for use within the body, but stored for later use.
Measuring this protein in conjunction with testosterone is helpful in determining exactly how much testosterone is available for use.
Speak with your healthcare provider to see if home based hormone testing is right for you and how they can help to best interpret your results.
Best At-Home Testosterone Tests
EverlyWell - At Home Testosterone Test Review
Collection Method: Saliva
Markers Measured: Free Testosterone
- Instructional videos
- Online chat Monday-Friday from 9 am to 5 pm CST hours and very responsive
- Email support available Sunday-Friday
- Phone support Monday-Friday from 9 am to 5 pm CST
- Accepts FSA/HSA payments and major CC payments. Itemized receipt for HSA/FSA reimbursements avaialble upon request
- Tests cannot be shipped to New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Rhode Island
Extremely comprehensive hormonal testing panel.
Easy testing method with video instruction, great customer service, quick results turn around,
Accept HSA/FSA payments
This test does not test for total testosterone levels to determine how much total testosterone is in the body, however does test for free testosterone which is what they body has readily available for use.
It also does not test for SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin) which is important in controlling available testosterone levels in the body.
Testing only available certain US states and not abroad.
The EverlyWell Testosterone Test is ideal for men who are wanting to better understand their testosterone levels to determine possible causes of abnormalities and symptoms like decreased energy, fatigue, erectile dysfunction, low libido, and infertility to name a few at a low price. Testing for free testosterone may be a better option for men to determine how much testosterone is readily available in the body for use so that unwanted symptoms can be addressed.
Additional testing with the Men’s Health Test may be needed for additional hormone testing for cortisol, DHEA, free estrogen and free testosterone levels.
Let's Get Checked Testosterone Check Review
Collection Method: Blood
Markers Collected: Total Testosterone
- App to activate kit
- Online chat
- Phone & Email suppor
- Instructional videos
- Major payment methods accepted including PayPal, Visa, MC, Discover, American Express, Diners Club and JCB
Easy testing method with video instruction, great customer service, quick results turn around and test result support
This test does not test for free testosterone which is the amount of testosterone readily available for use in the body. It also does not test for SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin) which is important in controlling available testosterone levels in the body.
The LetsGetChecked Testosterone Check is ideal for men who are wanting to better understand their general testosterone levels to determine possible causes of abnormalities and symptoms like decreased energy, fatigue, erectile dysfunction, low libido, and infertility to name a few. Additional testing for free testosterone and the ratios may be needed by ordering an additional test, the Male Hormone Test.
ZRT Free Testosterone & Total Testosterone Home Test Kit Review
Collection Method: Saliva & Blood
Markers Measured: Tests Free Testosterone (Free T) in Saliva Sample and Total Testosterone (Total T) in a Blood Sample
- Will bill out-of-network insurance providers for some plans.
- Payments accepted include VISA, Master Card, American Express, Discover Card, personal checks and US money orders
- FSA submission information available.
- An abundance of educational information, FAQ listings, etc.
- Email & Phone support
Very comprehensive testing methods with a lot of educational materials available, will bill some insurance companies and work with FSA payments
While a lot of choices are available, it is confusing which test(s) is best to choose from.
No online chat feature (that I could see) or app.
This test does not test for SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin) which is important in controlling available testosterone levels in the body.
The ZRT Free Testosterone & Total Testosterone Home Test offers men a comprehensive saliva and blood panel to asses various aspects of testosterone hormone levels which could be causing symptoms and is a great spot check for overall male hormonal status.
Anthony, K. (n.d.) High Testosterone Levels in Women. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/high-testosterone-in-women#symptom Gotter, A. and Healthline Editorial Team. (2016, July 18). Low Testosterone in Men. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/side-effects-of-low-testosterone Roland, J. (2016, August 26). What Is Testosterone? Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/what-is-testosterone#testing Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (Blood). Retrieved from https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=167&ContentID=shbg_blood Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (Blood) (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=167&ContentID=shbg_blood Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG) (2018, June 12) Retrieved from https://labtestsonline.org/tests/sex-hormone-binding-globulin-shbg Total Testosterone vs Free Testosterone. Retrieved from http://thekansascitymensclinic.com/total-testosterone-vs-free-testosterone/