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5 facts about at-home Men’s Health Tests
- Purpose: Measures the levels of key hormones determinant to a man’s health and performance. Hormones are essential for proper bodily function as they regulate sex drive, fertility, mood, energy, and muscle mass. Most at home men’s health tests will search for a number of biomarkers between 4 and 11.
- How it works: Order online and expect delivery within 5-7 days. Perform the test using the content of the kit, which usually is an instructions manual, collection and sample-storing material, and a prepaid return shipping label.
- Cost: $100-$200
- Results: These will include tables and graphs with the levels of biomarkers tested. If there is an imbalance somewhere, the testing company will suggest some actions. Most results will consist of a dietary plan to improve levels that are either not optimal or borderline.
- Recommended products: Nebula Genomics Men’s Health Test [COMING SOON]
What is an at Home Men’s Sexual Health Test?
An at-home men’s health test is designed for men who want to control their overall health and performance. They generally screen multiple biomarker levels and complete blood count that might be keeping a man from his full well-being potential.
It has been thought that abnormal hormone levels in males pose a high risk of developing other severe conditions such as testicular cancer or even lung cancer. However, a 2016 review states that “recent findings suggest that [the hormone] testosterone does not increase a man’s risk of developing benign prostatic hyperplasia or prostate cancer.”
There appears to be evidence that colorectal cancer can be related to sex hormones. However, more studies are needed since the relationship between genetic variants in hormone metabolic pathways and sex hormones is still unclear.
As men age, they might also experience fluctuating values in hormone levels that their bodies naturally produce. When testosterone levels begin to drop, they tend to experience low sex drive, poor performance, and, if not treated on time, erectile dysfunction. They are often one of the main biomarkers tested in a men’s health test.
Hormonal health should be monitored regularly, hence the importance of these tests. Hormones are essential to a healthy male reproductive system. Proper levels of the primary male sex hormone, testosterone, guarantee a healthy mood, muscle mass, and energy.
In general, some of the symptoms of low testosterone in men include:
- Low sex drive
- Erectile dysfunction
- Difficulty concentrating
- Loss of memory
- Reduced muscular strength
- Hair loss
- Weight gain
- Mild anemia
- Decrease in hemoglobin
- Gynecomastia (breast development)
Accurate information on improper hormone balance can more accurately help a health provider discuss more effective treatments to boost your health. Results often include follow-up on how to bring levels to a normal range.
The following are some of the markers that a screening test finds. Some companies test for them separately, while others might include one home test with several. No company screens for all biomarkers in one test:
Free testosterone: The adrenal cortex and testes secrete testosterone. It is total testosterone when bound to SHBG, and some companies include this test too. Free testosterone is the one not attached to the protein. It is the active form of this hormone.
Estradiol: This is the primary hormone in females, but it is also found in males. It is also essential for men, but at much smaller amounts. Estradiol helps maintain a healthy reproductive system and keep bones and breast tissue healthy.
Some of the roles of estradiol in male reproductive function include:
- Modulating libido
- Erectile function
- Spermatogenesis (production of sperm cells)
An imbalance in this hormone may bring about low sex drive and libido, erectile dysfunction, and low sperm count.
Cortisol: Cortisol is in charge of keeping us energetic as it stimulates the release of glucose into the bloodstream. The body also uses cortisol to regulate stress. This hormone has additional roles in the proper functioning of the circulatory system and male reproductive system.
If present in excess, this hormone can cause a biochemical imbalance in the reproductive system.
Chronic or ongoing stress may cause a decline in sex drive or libido and seriously impact sperm count.
DHEA-S: DHEA-S (dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate) stimulates the production of other hormones such as testosterone and estradiol. It is produced by the adrenal glands In both men and women.
This is an anabolic hormone, meaning that it builds tissue. Proper amounts of DHEA-S help maintain muscle mass. Effectively, the levels of this hormone are a good indicator of testosterone levels.
Especially around age 50, the levels of this hormone drop to 10% to 20% that of a young individual by ages between 70-80. A decrease in DHEA-S correlates with a drop in neurological functions such as cognition and memory.
Other conditions that are associated with a decrease of this hormone include:
- Decreased bone density
- Erectile dysfunction
- Increased cardiovascular morbidity
This 2018 review studies the relationship between dehydroepiandrosterone and erectile function.
Luteinizing hormone: The pituitary gland at the base of the brain produces LH. This hormone stimulates the testicles to produce testosterone. Hence, it has an important role in male fertility and male secondary characteristics, which testosterone accentuates.
FSH: Produced by the pituitary gland, this hormone, along with LH, is essential for the production of sperm. Low levels of the follicle-stimulating hormone in men can result in low or no sperm production and low testosterone.
A widespread cause of low FSH production is the use of steroids or testosterone. When these hormones are added to the bloodstream, it indicates to your brain that the body has enough, shutting down the natural production of testosterone. As a consequence, your body stops producing FSH.
Prolactin: Also secreted by the pituitary gland, this hormone regulates many functions such as metabolism, reproduction, growth, and blood pressure. High levels will cause an abnormal function in the testicles and, consequently, low production of testosterone which will bring about all the symptoms discussed earlier.
Free Androgen: These male sex hormones are also present in women, but as smaller amounts. Most androgens in your body are attached to a protein. The free androgen test measures the concentration of those not bound to a protein and that are available for your body to use.
Proteins are important for men, and their deficiency causes loss of muscle mass over time. Low levels may also bring about weak bones, more severe infections, and greater appetite.
SHBG: Sex hormone-binding globulin is the protein that hormones such as estrogens and testosterone attach to and your body cannot use. Men’s health tests will measure your SHBG levels to determine if you have proper free hormone levels.
Albumin: This is the most abundant protein in the blood. Albumin acts as a transport for nutrients, hormones, and other essential nutrients. The liver produces albumin. Abnormal levels of this protein may indicate an incorrect liver function, which may cause a series of problems, including erectile dysfunction.
hs-CRP: The high-sensitivity C-reactive protein test is used to detect low levels of C-reactive protein. This information provides insight into the general levels of inflammation and the risk of stroke or heart disease.
PSA: Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is a protein that sits below the bladder. Testing provides a health screening for prostate cancer.
Ferritin: A ferritin test measures your blood iron levels. If results reveal that your blood ferritin level is lower than average, you may have iron deficiency and anemia.
High levels of cholesterol may lead to erectile dysfunction. A high volume of LDL can also produce erectile issues and even impotence in severe cases.
Total cholesterol: We need cholesterol to produce hormones and vitamin D. Men’s health tests examine total cholesterol as two main types: HDL and LDL.
An increased amount of cholesterol increases the risk of developing heart disease. Men tend to be more at risk for heart disease, meaning they need to keep their levels in check to guarantee proper health.
LDL-C: The LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol is the bad type that you should keep low. This test is helpful to determine your risk of heart disease.
HDL-C: HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol is the good type. This test also helps determine your risk for cardiovascular disease.
Triglycerides: When you eat more than what you need, your body turns any leftover calories into triglycerides. If your body is storing more of these than what it needs, then your levels must be high.
This test seeks to assess your risk for a heart condition. A high level of triglycerides in your blood would indicate a need for a dietary change.
Vitamin D: Vitamin D is essential for healthy teeth and bones. This test, known as the 25-hydroxy vitamin D test, measures how much of this nutrient your body has.
HbA1c: The HbA1c test measures your blood sugar (glucose) levels and helps determine your risk of being prediabetic or diabetic. This test will measure your levels for the last two to three months.
STD: You may also find that STD tests are important to men’s health, and men are encouraged to take them regularly if they are sexually active.
To take an at-home STD test, you might need to provide a blood sample and a urine sample. Most tests will check for these sexually transmitted infections:
- Hepatitis C
How much does an at Home Men’s Sexual Health Test Cost?
The price varies depending on the company and the tests you are going to take. Most commonly, tests will focus on the four main hormones that determine muscle strength and sexuality: testosterone, estradiol, DHEA, and cortisol.
EverlyWell: $199, but a subscription gets you a discount depending on your order frequency. Taking these tests at certain intervals allows you to monitor abnormalities.
- Semi-annual subscription (a kit every six months): $169 (15% off regular price)
- Quarterly subscription (a kit every three months): $159 (20% off regular price)
- Monthly subscription (a kit every month): $149 (25% off regular price)
- Testosterone test: $69
- Male Hormone test (3 biomarkers): $139
- Male Hormone Plus (4 biomarkers): $159
- Male Hormone Advanced (5 biomarkers): $179
Getting Started with an at Home Men’s Sexual Health
When ordering an at-home men’s health test, the first step is to visit the site and order from there. Once the order is complete, the company will ship a test kit that should arrive at your doorstep within 5–7 days.
The content in the kit may vary depending on the type of test you are taking. An STD test may include vials for urine sample collection, but hormone tests will usually only require saliva and blood samples. Most tests include:
- Directions for the testing process
- Prepaid shipping label
- An activation card
- Medical grade collection device or card (for blood testing)
- Saliva tubes (for tests that also require saliva sample collection)
- Lancets (for finger pricking)
- Alcohol pads
Most websites will require you to register your kit by adding a code enclosed. This will help keep track of your results online.
Some tests will require you to refrain from any sexual activity for 24 hours before collecting the samples, especially if you are taking a PSA. The morning is the best time to take these tests as you have fasted for 8 hours. Depending on the type of test, you will usually need to take the test 3 hours after waking up.
At Home Men’s Sexual Health Test Results
You should receive your results on the company’s site within two to three days. They will send you an email notification to let you know they are ready for you to take a look at them.
Regularly, they will include metrics on how your levels for each marker are doing. These results are physician-reviewed and, in most cases, are CLIA-certified. You should take them to your medical practitioner, who will decide your dietary measures.
Some reports will provide metrics and some further steps and provide thorough information and suggestions on improving levels that are not optimal (See sample report below). You should always consult with your physician before making any changes to your medications and diet.
Starting in Summer 2021, you will be able to take an at-home Men’s Sexual Health test with Nebula Genomics and integrate your results with your whole-genome sequencing data. Using data from both your biomarkers and your genes, you will be able to discover more insights about your personalized health. Get your entire genome sequenced today!
You may also be interested in these other wellness tests you can take from home:
- Women’s health test (hormones, cholesterol, nutrients, and more)
- Heart health test (cholesterol and other lipids)
- Inflammation test (CRP, vitamin D, Procalcitonin, and more)
- Vitamin D test (hydroxyvitamin D levels)
Edited by Christina M. Swords, PhD