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Male Hormone Blood Test, from our experts to you.
Dr Sam Rodgers MBBS, MRCGP

Chief Medical Officer

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What are
male hormones?

Male hormones are essential for a healthy male reproductive system. Other important roles of male hormones include the regulation of mood, muscle mass, and energy.

What is included in
a male hormone panel?

Our Male Hormone Blood Test includes a mix of hormones and proteins. Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone in men, which causes male characteristics. Another vital hormone, DHEA sulphate, is a precursor (an ingredient) that your body uses to produce testosterone. Other essential hormones include follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinising hormone (LH). These hormones are produced by your brain’s pituitary gland and stimulate the testes to produce testosterone and sperm. The hormones called prolactin and oestradiol are often called female hormones, but they are also crucial for men’s health at lower levels.

You can choose to collect your blood sample with a simple finger-prick blood test at home or choose to get your sample taken by a nurse at a clinic or remotely.

What happens if a
man is low on testosterone?

Testosterone levels can naturally decrease with age, which can lead to increased abdominal fat (fat around your waist), loss of sex drive, mood changes, loss of muscle mass, lack of energy, and difficulty sleeping. If your testosterone levels are low, you may also experience a decrease in your exercise performance.

What's Included?

Adrenal hormones
Select profile for more information

DHEA sulphate DHEAS is the sulphated form of DHEA, a hormone which is produced by the adrenal glands and is responsible for male characteristics in both men and women. DHEAS gradually declines from the age of 30 onwards.
FSH Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) is produced in the pituitary gland and is important for women in the production of eggs by the ovaries and for men for men in the production of sperm. In the first half of the menstrual cycle in women, FSH stimulates the enlargement of follicles within the ovaries. Each of these follicles will help to increase oestradiol levels. One follicle will become dominant and will be released by the ovary (ovulation), after which follicle stimulating hormone levels drop during the second half of the menstrual cycle. In men, FSH acts on the seminiferous tubules of the testicles where they stimulate immature sperm cells to develop into mature sperm.
LH Luteinising Hormone (LH) is produced by the pituitary gland and is important for male and female fertility. In women it governs the menstrual cycle, peaking before ovulation. In men it stimulates the production of testosterone.
Oestradiol Oestradiol is a female steroid hormone, produced in the ovaries of women and to a much lesser extent in the testes of men. It is the strongest of three oestrogens and is responsible for the female reproductive system as well as the growth of breast tissue and bone thickness. In pre-menopausal women, oestradiol levels vary throughout the monthly cycle, peaking at ovulation. In women, oestradiol levels decline with age, culminating with the menopause when the ovaries stop producing eggs. Low oestradiol can cause many symptoms associated with the menopause, including hot flushes, night sweats and mood swings. Low oestradiol can also cause osteoporosis.
Testosterone Testosterone is a hormone that causes male characteristics. For men, it helps to regulate sex drive and has a role in controlling bone mass, fat distribution, muscle mass, strength and the production of red blood cells and sperm. Testosterone is produced in the testicles of men and, in much smaller amounts, in the ovaries of women. Testosterone levels in men naturally decline after the age of 30, although lower than normal levels can occur at any age and can cause low libido, erectile dysfunction, difficulty in gaining and maintaining muscle mass and lack of energy. Although women have much lower amounts of testosterone than men, it is important for much the same reasons, playing a role in libido, the distribution of muscle and fat and the formation of red blood cells. All laboratories will slightly differ in the reference ranges they apply because they are based on the population they are testing. The normal range is set so that 95% of men will fall into it. For greater consistency, we use the guidance from the British Society for Sexual Medicine (BSSM) which advises that low testosterone can be diagnosed when testosterone is consistently below the reference range, and that levels below 12 nmol/L could also be considered low, especially in men who also report symptoms of low testosterone or who have low levels of free testosterone.
Free testosterone - calc Most testosterone circulating in the blood is bound to proteins, in particular SHBG and albumin; only 2-3 % of testosterone is free and available to cells. This test uses an algorithm to calculate the level of free or unbound testosterone in relation to total testosterone, SHBG and albumin.
Free androgen index The free androgen index (FAI) is a calculation used to determine the amount of testosterone which is free (unbound) in the bloodstream. Most testosterone is bound to proteins sex hormone binding globulin and albumin and is not available to interact with the body's cells. The FAI is a calculation based on the ratio of testosterone and SHBG and is a measure of the amount of testosterone that is available to act on the body's tissues. The free androgen index is used in women to assess the likelihood of polycystic ovarian syndrome. In men, free testosterone gives a better indication of testosterone status.
Prolactin Prolactin is a hormone which is produced in the pituitary gland and plays a role in reproductive health. Its primary purpose is to stimulate milk production after childbirth, and in pregnant and breastfeeding women prolactin levels can soar.
Albumin Albumin is a protein which is made mainly in the liver. It helps to exert the osmotic pressure which holds water within the blood. It also helps carry nutrients and medications and other substances through the blood and is important for tissue growth and healing. Albumin also carries hormones around the body, therefore measuring the amount of albumin in the blood can help us calculate how much hormone is available to your tissues.
SHBG SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin) is a protein which transports the sex hormones (testosterone, oestrogen and dihydrotestosterone (DHT)) in the blood.Hormones which are bound to SHBG are inactive which means that they are unavailable to your cells. Measuring the level of SHBG in your blood gives important information about your levels of free or unbound hormones which are biologically active and available for use.

How to prepare
for your test

Special Instructions

Prepare for your Male Hormone Blood Test by following these instructions. Please take your sample before 10am. Hormonal contraception can affect the results of this test. Taking a break from this and waiting for your periods to restart before your blood test will give more accurate results. If you use hormone gels, pessaries, patches, or tablets, we strongly recommend selecting a venous sample to minimise contamination sometimes seen with finger-prick tests. Otherwise, administer any hormone supplements using gloves, and make sure your fingers have not been in contact with hormone supplements for at least four weeks before taking the test. Hormones can be absorbed deep within the skin even after minimal contact and remain there for weeks despite vigorous handwashing. Do not take biotin supplements for two days before this test, discuss this with your doctor if it is prescribed. If you are a woman take this test two to five days after the start of your period, ideally on day three. It can be taken any time if you do not have periods.

Frequently asked questions

Does this test measure total or free testosterone?

There are two testosterone types in your blood: free testosterone, which is available for your cells to use, and bound testosterone, which is bound to proteins, so is not available for your cells.

The Male Hormone Blood Test measures free testosterone and total testosterone, a combination of free plus bound testosterone. This test gives a detailed and valuable picture of the level of testosterone in your body.

What is testosterone replacement therapy? (TRT)

Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is a way to add the hormone testosterone back into your body to a normal level with an aim to ease your undesirable symptoms.

There are various ways your doctor may offer TRT, including injections, skin gels or patches or oral tablets. If you are taking TRT and want to monitor your testosterone levels, you may also be interested in Medichecks Advanced TRT Blood Test.

What are the benefits and risks of TRT?

Benefits of TRT include:

  • A reduction in unpleasant symptoms associated with low testosterone
  • An improvement in mood
  • Improvements to sex drive and erectile function
  • Stronger and healthier bones
  • A reduction in your risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes

Risks of TRT include:

  • Shrinkage of the testes
  • Acne an oily skin
  • Mood changes
  • Worsening of sleep disorders such as sleep apnoea
  • Increased risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVD)
  • Reduction in sperm quality and fertility

If you are considering taking TRT under your doctor’s advice, you should discuss these risks with them. This is especially important if you are considering having children in the future.

Are male hormones important for women?

Although testosterone is commonly known as a male hormone, it is also essential for maintaining sex drive (libido), muscle mass, fertility, and mood in women. In older age, women can experience a decline in hormone levels such as oestradiol and testosterone. This decline could cause symptoms such as poor bone health, vaginal dryness, and low sex drive.

Doctors may prescribe women with hormonal replacement therapy (HRT) to help with unpleasant menopausal symptoms. This HRT is usually a combination of hormones, including oestradiol, but in the UK, testosterone is not currently licensed to treat women.

Does this test measure high levels of testosterone?
Most testosterone tests set an upper detection limit of 52 nmol/L. If your result is higher than this, the lab will attempt a second measurement to get an actual reading, providing there is enough sample volume available. For this reason, we recommend taking a venous sample if you are expecting an abnormally high result (for example, if you take high doses of testosterone).
Can women take this test?

This test is designed for men. Women can take this test, but they may also be interested in our Female Hormone Blood Test. Both too high and too low levels of male hormones in women can cause undesirable symptoms.

High levels of male hormones can cause:

  • Changes to the menstrual cycle
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Acne
  • Thinning hair on the head
  • Excessive body hair growth

In women, high male hormone levels can occur due to many reasons. Some women may experience higher than normal levels of male hormones due to Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).

Women may be interested to take the Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) Blood Test – this test is specially designed to help women find out whether their hormone levels could be contributing to symptoms of PCOS.Read more about PCOS in our guide.

Male hormones, fertility and sex drive


Male hormones are involved in many body functions that are essential for a healthy sex drive and fertility. The hormones LH and FSH are crucial for the production of sperm and making testosterone in the body. Testosterone is involved in the growth of the male sex organs and also helps to control erectile function. Testosterone even has effects in the brain, so it can influence your desire to have sex (your libido).

A change in levels of male hormones in your body can negatively affect your sex life. For example, you may lose the ability to get or maintain an erection or have lower-quality sperm and, therefore, a lower ability to conceive naturally. If you have low testosterone levels, you could lose your desire to have sex entirely (low libido).

The good news is that hormone replacement therapy can help with these problems. The type of treatment you receive will depend on whether you want to start a family, so you should discuss this with your doctor.

Testosterone deficiency in men


Testosterone deficiency is also called hypogonadism. Low levels of testosterone can significantly disrupt your health and compromise your wellbeing, sexuality, and fertility.

Some men will experience a natural decline in testosterone levels with ageing. Some people call this the ‘male menopause’, but in men, it is a much more gradual process than female menopause, which occurs more rapidly.

A more severe and sudden drop in testosterone levels can sometimes occur in men, but this is uncommon. Some men are born with this type of deficiency, but some men can develop it in later life.

Symptoms of testosterone deficiency in men can include:

  • Loss in muscle mass
  • Increase in body fat, especially around the abdomen (waist)
  • Irritability or mood changes
  • Reduced sex drive (libido)
  • Low energy and fatigue


What increases the risk of testosterone deficiency?


Certain health, lifestyle and medical factors can put some men at higher risk of experiencing testosterone deficiency. Testosterone deficiency is more common in older men. 


Other factors that increase the risk include:

  • Injury or damage to the testes
  • High-stress levels
  • An unhealthy BMI
  • Steroid abuse
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Tumours that affect areas responsible for hormone production (such as the pituitary gland in the brain)
  • Cancer treatment such as chemotherapy
  • Poor sleep quality
  • Lifestyle factors such as smoking, drinking too much alcohol, and not exercising.

If your doctor diagnoses low testosterone levels, they may prescribe Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). TRT is a way to add hormones back into your body and restore your body’s essential functions. Men can take TRT through injections, skin gels or patches or oral tablets.