Testosterone Test


What is a testosterone test?

A testosterone test measures your levels of the hormone testosterone. Testosterone is the main sex hormone in men and people assigned male at birth (AMAB). Still, women and people assigned female at birth (AFAB) also have testosterone in their bodies. Sex hormones control sexual and reproductive development, as well as sexual drive.

Your body functions best when your testosterone is in a certain range. A testosterone level that’s too low or too high can cause health problems regardless of biological sex. Your healthcare provider may order a testosterone test if you have symptoms that could point to high or low testosterone.

What does a testosterone blood test show?

Testosterone in your body exists as free testosterone (not attached to anything) and bound testosterone (attached to proteins). Free testosterone is easier for your body to use. A testosterone blood test may show:

  • Total testosterone, which measures both free and attached testosterone.
  • Free testosterone, which shows free testosterone only. This test may be more helpful for diagnosing certain medical conditions.

When would someone need a testosterone test?

Healthcare providers usually order testosterone tests for people assigned male at birth (AMAB) who have symptoms of low testosterone, or medical conditions associated with low testosterone, such as:

Healthcare providers may order testosterone tests for people assigned female at birth (AFAB) who have symptoms of high testosterone, such as:

Test Details

How do I prepare for a testosterone test?

Most people don’t need to do anything special to prepare for a testosterone test. Your healthcare provider will let you know if you need to follow any specific instructions.

What can I expect during a testosterone level test?

Testosterone tests are blood tests. During the test, your healthcare provider:

  1. Cleans an area of your arm with rubbing alcohol.
  2. Inserts a small needle into your arm vein.
  3. Attaches the needle to a tube to collect a blood sample.
  4. Removes the needle and places a gauze pad on your arm to stop bleeding.

Testosterone blood tests are quick and relatively painless. You may feel a slight sting when the needle goes in or out of your arm. The test usually takes less than five minutes.

What are the risks of a testosterone test?

Testosterone tests are low risk. Most people experience no complications. You may have mild bruising or discomfort around the injection site (where your provider inserted the needle in your arm). This usually goes away in a few days.

Results and Follow-Up

What do the results of a testosterone test mean?

A testosterone test tells you whether your testosterone levels are low, high or in a typical range. The meaning of the results varies by age and sex.

In men and people AMAB:

  • Low testosterone could point to problems with the pituitary gland, such as a pituitary tumor, or normal aging.
  • High testosterone could mean a tumor in the adrenal glands or testicles.

In male children:

In women and people AFAB:

What is normal testosterone for a man or person AMAB?

In people AMAB, typical testosterone levels are between 300 and 750 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL). After age 30, testosterone levels decrease by around 2% each year.

What is normal testosterone by age?

Specific testosterone levels vary significantly from person to person depending on factors such as time of day, stress level and body weight. Therefore, “normal testosterone” is different for everyone.

In general, people AMAB have low testosterone until puberty, when it begins to rise. Testosterone peaks around age 19 and then gradually declines throughout life.

Though people AFAB have less testosterone, the levels follow the same pattern. Typically, they have low testosterone until puberty. Levels peak around ages 17 to 18, then decline throughout life.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you know if you have low testosterone?

The only way to know your testosterone level is with a blood test. You may talk to your healthcare provider about a testosterone level test if you have symptoms of low testosterone. Not everyone with low testosterone has symptoms but these can include low sex drive, hair loss, fertility problems or erectile dysfunction.

Does low testosterone mean I have a medical condition?

No. Other factors, such as certain medicines, may lower your testosterone levels. Also, if your testosterone is low on a test but you feel well, you do not need treatment. If you have low testosterone, your healthcare provider will run additional tests to diagnose or rule out medical conditions.

Does masturbating reduce testosterone?

No. Masturbation or sexual activity does not affect the long-term production of testosterone.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

A testosterone test checks your testosterone levels. Healthcare providers may order this test for people assigned male at birth who have symptoms of low testosterone. Or they may order it for people assigned female at birth who have symptoms of high testosterone. Testosterone tests are blood tests. They are typically quick and relatively painless. Your healthcare provider may order additional tests or offer treatment options depending on your test results.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 09/10/2022.


  • McBride JA, Carson CC, Coward RM. Testosterone deficiency in the aging male. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4707424/) Ther Adv Urol. 2016 Feb; 8(1): 47-60. Accessed 9/10/2022.
  • National Library of Medicine. Testosterone Levels Test. (https://medlineplus.gov/lab-tests/testosterone-levels-test/) Accessed 9/10/2022.
  • Urology Care Foundation. Low Testosterone. (https://www.urologyhealth.org/urology-a-z/l/low-testosterone) Accessed 9/10/2022.

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