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    How to test testosterone at home (men and women)

    On this page
    1. What is testosterone?
    2. Symptoms of low testosterone in men 
    3. Symptoms of low testosterone in women
    4. How to test your testosterone levels at home
    5. How is low testosterone treated? 
    6. The side effects of testosterone therapy

    Reviewed by Dr Bhavini Shah

    What is testosterone?

    Testosterone is the main male hormone. It is responsible for producing male characteristics and the development of sperm cells. Women also produce testosterone – it is important for things like energy, clear thinking, sexual function and bone density. 

    Testosterone levels in men and women tend to drop with age. In men, testosterone levels will start to drop naturally around the age of 30-40. In women, levels fall as you approach the menopause, and then decline even more afterwards. 

    The importance of testosterone in women is often overlooked. However, premenopausal women produce almost three times as much testosterone than they do oestrogen. It’s role in women’s health and wellbeing should not be understated.  

    This article will outline the symptoms of low testosterone, how to test your testosterone levels at home, replacement therapy, and its side effects. 

    Symptoms of low testosterone in men 

    Symptoms of low testosterone in men include:

    • Reduced sex drive
    • Erectile dysfunction
    • Hair loss
    • Loss of muscle mass
    • Fatigue
    • Weight gain or weight loss
    • Depression  

    The above symptoms can be caused by many things. If you’re experiencing them, it’s best to get yourself checked out by your GP.

    Symptoms of low testosterone in women

    Symptoms of low testosterone in women include:

    • Reduced sex drive
    • Fatigue
    • Less pleasurable sex (for example, inability to get aroused and orgasm)
    • Headaches
    • Finding it hard to concentrate  

    Again, these symptoms can be caused by other things. A blood test and a discussion with your doctor is a good place to start if you think your testosterone levels are low.

    How to test your testosterone levels at home

    To find out your testosterone levels, you can do one an at home men’s health blood tests. LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor’s blood test kits look at four testosterone biomarkers to check your levels against normal ranges.

    We send out our test kits in the post. Once you’ve collected your sample using the instructions provided, you will need to post the sample back to the laboratory. Results are available in three working days once the sample has reached the laboratory.

    If you don’t want to do a home test, talk to your GP about getting tested. 

    How To Test Testosterone At Home

    How is low testosterone treated? 

    The treatment for low testosterone depends on the underlying cause. How low testosterone is treated in men and women:

    Men 

    In men, low testosterone is treated through testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). TRT is available as patches, gels, oral therapy, and injections. You can also get testosterone boosters over the counter, but there are no definitive studies to suggest that these are effective. If you know that your testosterone levels are low, or think that they might be, talk to your GP to discuss the best treatment for you if symptoms are bothering you.

    Women

    Treatment of low testosterone depends on the cause and testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) may be an option for some women.

    In women, low testosterone is also treated through testosterone therapy - although it is not ‘licenced’ for women in the UK. Women can still take it, but it is available ‘off-licence.’ This means that it's used in a different way to what’s stated in the licence.

    Testosterone therapy for women is often prescribed as a gel in a canister or sachet. 

    Before treatment, a doctor will usually check your levels and then again after three months. Testosterone therapy should only be considered if symptoms become a problem – it is not essential to treat. It is also recommended to complete a trial of conventional HRT before considering testosterone therapy/supplementation.

    The side effects of testosterone therapy

    Men

    Side effects might include:

    • Acne
    • Enlargement of the prostate gland (non-cancerous)
    • Enlargement of breast tissue
    • Shrinking of the testicles
    • An increased risk of blood clots
    • Increased feelings of anger
    • Worsening heart failure (in those who already have heart failure)
    • Disturbed breathing during sleep 

    Side effects should be described with your prescriber before treatment is started. If treatment is started, follow up appointments should be scheduled to check it’s not causing any problems.

    Women

    Side effects might include:

    • Acne
    • Weight gain
    • Alopecia (rare)
    • A deepened voice (rare)
    • Clitoral enlargement (rare) 

    Some side effects might go away once you’ve adjusted to treatment. Side effects should also be discussed with your prescriber if you begin to experience them.

    Conclusion

    Low testosterone levels can cause problems in men and women. If you think your levels might be low, talk to your GP or start with a home blood test. Treatment may be an option for some people with low levels, but you should be mindful of the side effects. 

    References 

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK526128/
    https ://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7098532/  
    https://www.gloshospitals.nhs.uk/media/documents/Testosterone_replacement_for_women_GHPI1700_10_21.pdf
    https://www.guysandstthomas.nhs.uk/health-information/testosterone-low-sex-drive-menopause
    https://thebms.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/08-BMS-TfC-Testosterone-replacement-in-menopause.pdf
    https://patient.info/mens-health/erectile-dysfunction-impotence/testosterone-deficiency

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    Authors and editors

    • Reviewed and updated by

      Dr Bhavini Shah
      GMC number: 7090158
      Date reviewed: 2nd April 2024

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