4 mins read
What is an at-home Testosterone Blood Test?
Author: Dr Thom Phillips
September 29, 2023
Checking your testosterone levels can help uncover the causes of symptoms related to low or high testosterone. But, you don’t have to visit your GP or a specialist clinic to get them tested. An at-home blood test is a quick, easy and affordable way to keep track of your hormone levels and be the best version of yourself.
First of all, what is testosterone & what does it do?
Testosterone is a steroid hormone which is predominantly made in the male testes. The hormone is stimulated and controlled by luteinising hormone (LH) which is produced by the pituitary gland in the brain. Women also produce a small amount of testosterone in their ovaries and adrenal glands.
Free testosterone is the amount of testosterone which is not bound to either sex hormone binding globulin or albumin. Instead, it is freely travelling around the body in the blood without being bound to another protein.
Testosterone is important in both men and women for a whole host of bodily functions:
- Development of male reproductive organs: Testosterone is essential for the development and maintenance of male reproductive tissues, including the testes and prostate.
- Sperm production: It stimulates the production of sperm (spermatogenesis) in the testes.
- Secondary sexual characteristics: Testosterone is responsible for the development of secondary sexual characteristics in males during puberty. These include the growth of facial and body hair, deepening of the voice, and increased muscle mass.
- Bone density and muscle mass: It helps maintain bone density and promotes the growth and strength of muscles. It helps prevent the development of osteoporosis, a condition characterised by reduced bone density.
- Fat distribution: Testosterone influences fat distribution in the body, promoting a leaner body composition. Low testosterone levels may contribute to an increase in body fat, especially around the abdomen.
- Libido and sexual function: Testosterone is crucial for the development and maintenance of sexual function in males. It influences libido (sex drive) and is essential for achieving and maintaining erections.
- Mood and energy levels: Testosterone can have an impact on mood and energy levels. Low testosterone levels have been associated with symptoms such as fatigue, irritability, and a reduced sense of well-being.
- Red blood cell production: Testosterone stimulates the production of red blood cells in the bone marrow, helping to maintain proper oxygenation of tissues and organs.
- Regulation of metabolism: Testosterone can influence metabolism and the way the body stores and uses energy.
So, what is an at-home testosterone blood test?
An at-home testosterone blood test is a DIY kit that allows you to take a small blood sample and send it off to our NHS labs for analysis.
The kit comes with everything you need, including lancets, which are used to collect a blood sample by pricking the tip of your finger – no needles required.
It also comes with a tube to collect and store your blood sample – we only need 400 microlitres (about 8-10 drops of blood) – to get an accurate measure of your testosterone levels.
You’ll also get a wipe for sanitising your finger tip, detailed instructions to help you along the way and a free return postage label and bag for sending your kit back to our NHS lab.
We also have a how-to video that shows how to collect your blood sample, from start to finish.
You can visit one of our partner clinics or have a healthcare professional visit your home if you’d prefer a professional to collect your blood sample. You can choose this during checkout.
What does it check & how does it help?
Our test checks your total testosterone levels, which is the measurement of free testosterone and testosterone that’s attached to proteins, unlike a free testosterone test that only measures the ‘active’ testosterone.
Jamie, Forth’s SEO Manager, recently completed our Advanced Health Check, which also tracks total testosterone:
“It’s really helpful to know my total testosterone levels, as I go to the gym 4-6 times a week. It helps me understand how my training is impacting my hormones, and whether or not I need to change up my training plan, such as adding more rest days or if I’m fine to keep going.
I’ve included a screenshot of my results below, which shows my levels in the optimal range, but with room for improvement. Although not perfect, it’s good to know I’m within the healthy range for my age.”
A testosterone test can also be helpful for men with low testosterone levels. Testosterone levels in men naturally decline as they age, at around 1% per year from age 3, and it’s estimated that 1 in 4 men over 40 in the UK have low T-levels.
Understanding your testosterone levels can help you find solutions, such as TRT or reducing/increasing exercise.
“Testosterone is the main sex hormone in men. It is produced by special cells in the testicles. In adult males, testosterone levels are important for your energy levels and how quickly you can recover from a workout. It also helps regulate your sex drive and maintain/build muscle mass. It’s also responsible for preserving bone health and has long term implications for metabolic health including unhealthy weight gain and the development of type 2 diabetes. Knowing your levels means that you can take action if your levels are low and help protect your long term health.”Dr Thom Phillips
How long does it take to do?
If you’ve chosen a finger prick test, it will take around 15 minutes to collect your blood sample.
It’s important you read the instructions carefully and get everything ready before you start – don’t rush.
Making sure you’re hydrated beforehand can help make the process easier, too.
You’ll get better at it each time you do it, making it easier and easier to keep track of your health from the comfort of your home.
How long will it take to get your results?
Once your blood sample has reached our lab, we aim to have your testosterone level results to you within 2 working days.
You’ll be able to access your results via your dashboard – in the app or on our website.
We’ll send you a text when they’re ready, so you can login and have a look.
How much do they cost?
Our testosterone blood test is just £39 including free delivery.
However, you can customise the test to suit your needs. You can do this by adding more biomarkers to test exactly what you want. You can add extras from as little as £6.
Our Male Hormones test is a more comprehensive blood test for men. It checks 12 biomarkers, including testosterone, and costs £89.
All our finger prick kits are included in the price, but you can also opt for a healthcare professional to draw your blood, starting from £45.
- ‘My energy is back’: how testosterone replacement therapy is changing men’s lives:https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/sep/09/my-energy-is-back-how-testosterone-replacement-therapy-is-changing-mens-lives
This information has been medically written by Dr Thom Phillips
Thom works in NHS general practice and has a decade of experience working in both male and female elite sport. He has a background in exercise physiology and has published research into fatigue biomarkers.
Dr Thom Phillips
Head of clinical services
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