Testosterone Test Kits
Age-related decline in the testosterone levels is a well-established phenomenon, which may or may not be symptomatic. However, it has been observed that most people find it unnecessary to go see a doctor for the assessment of hypogonadism. Among most common reasons for not seeing a doctor, the cost of consultation and time-consuming laboratory tests are foremost.
Thanks to technological advancements, scientists have developed at-home testosterone test kits that can be effectively used in the comforts of home to establish preliminary diagnosis of hypogonadism.
What Is The Working Principle Of Testosterone Test Kits?
Traditionally, testosterone levels in a laboratory or hospital setting are assessed by serum/ blood. But since, blood collection may not be feasible in the home setting, most testosterone kits utilize salivary samples for the assessment of Testosterone (which is also secreted in the saliva like all other hormones).
According to a new study reported in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research (2), investigators suggested that depressive symptoms and other symptoms of psychological origin were found to be strongly associated with low salivary testosterone levels based on the data obtained from 1380 women and 722 men. The same study also provided the statistical evidence that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI – a popular anti-depressive agent) tends to increase the salivary testosterone levels in the study population.
What Are Some Classic Benefits Of Testosterone Test Kits?
- Convenience: Since the test can be performed in the comforts of your home without any ‘bloodshed’, it is always a good thing. Individuals can feel more responsible and motivated to get serial testing done for monitoring purposes.
- As a screening/ monitoring tool: Individuals who are on testosterone therapy or have diagnosed hypogonadism can also get benefitted from these kits.
- Cost effective: The cost of actually seeing a doctor, consultation fee and other expenses in case of traditional route is huge. The test kits are fairly cost-effective on comparison.
- Excellent for those who are looking to modify their lifestyle and habits based on the findings.
Are Testosterone Test Kits Reliable For Assessment Of Hypogonadism?
Investigators have carried out studies to compare the reliability of home-testosterone kits against laboratory-based blood investigation and discovered mixed results.
- Some investigators believe that home-testosterone test kit kits are unreliable because the salivary concentration of testosterone varies according to the hydration status of the individual and time of the day. Also, the sensitivity and specificity of testosterone kit may vary from brand to brand. Last but not the least, the way sample is collected, stored and transported can also impact the quality and reliability of results.
- According to another school of thought, investigators believes that home testosterone kits are very reliable (and in some cases more superior to blood investigations since no blood is drawn). In addition, individuals feel less stressed and anxious with home testosterone kits when compared to serum levels.
What To Do With The Results Obtained From Testosterone Test Kits?
The specific instructions on how to use testosterone kit vary from product to product. Generally, every kit comes with a complete set of guidelines regarding the use and collection of sample. After sample collection, you have to send your specimen to a laboratory for complete interpretation of results to minimize the risk of confusion. The results are usually mailed to the person within a few days or weeks.
If your results are within normal/ recommended limits but you are still experiencing disturbing symptoms (that are suggestive of hypogonadism or other endocrinological issues), you should see a healthcare professional for thorough examination and investigation.
1. Fiers, T., Delanghe, J., T’Sjoen, G., Van Caenegem, E., Wierckx, K., & Kaufman, J. M. (2014). A critical evaluation of salivary testosterone as a method for the assessment of serum testosterone. Steroids, 86, 5-9.
2. Giltay, E. J., Enter, D., Zitman, F. G., Penninx, B. W., van Pelt, J., Spinhoven, P., & Roelofs, K. (2012). Salivary testosterone: associations with depression, anxiety disorders, and antidepressant use in a large cohort study. Journal of psychosomatic research, 72(3), 205-213.
3. Welker, K. M., Lassetter, B., Brandes, C., Prasad, S., Koop, D. R., & Mehta, P. H. (2016). A comparison of salivary testosterone measurement using immunoassays and tandem mass spectrometry. Psychoneuroendocrinology.