- Testosterone is an essential hormone for men and women.
- The typical testosterone levels by age are in the 300-1000 ng/dL range for adult men.
- Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) may be a solution for low testosterone, but erectile dysfunction responds best to FDA-approved ED medications.
- An at-home testosterone test kit is a convenient and accurate way to find out if you have low testosterone.
As we age, our hormones change, and their levels in our bodies vary. The typical testosterone levels by age and sex differ wildly. A 9-year-old boy has much less testosterone than a male at puberty, for example.
Knowing normal testosterone levels by age and the symptoms of low T can help you determine if your levels are normal. You can then decide if you should consider testosterone testing or talk to your doctor about replacement.
The Role of Testosterone in the Body
We tend to think of testosterone as the hormone of manliness and virility. However, women also have testosterone and enjoy its benefits or suffer its consequences.
To function optimally, both male and female bodies need testosterone. In men, the Leydig cells in the testes produce the most testosterone. In women, the ovaries are responsible for the lion’s share of testosterone production.
In both sexes, the adrenal glands contribute to testosterone production as well.
At normal levels, testosterone plays a crucial role in both male and female bodies.
In men, testosterone:
- Contributes to heart health
- Plays a role in cognitive health
- Is crucial for the development of secondary sexual characteristics
- Is responsible for libido
- Contributes to sperm creation and fertility
- Helps strengthen bones and build muscle mass
In women, this essential androgen:
- Regulates sex drive and fertility
- Helps cognitive health
- Contributes to the creation of blood cells
- Strengthens bones and helps build and maintain muscles
- Contributes to heart health
- Regulates the levels of other hormones
When testosterone levels are higher or lower than normal, health problems ensue in both sexes.
Typical Testosterone Levels by Age and Sex
When we’re talking about testosterone levels, we’re talking about serum total testosterone. Total testosterone is the most relevant indicator of whether you have optimal levels of this essential androgen.
Free testosterone is only relevant if your doctor suspects that something may be wrong with your sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), though SHBG may be suboptimal in obese and older people.
If you suspect your testosterone levels may be off, you should first test for total testosterone.
As shown in the chart above, the normal total testosterone level for boys between 0 and 5 months is 75-400 ng/dL, while girls of that age average 20-80 ng/dL. From 6 months to 9 years of age, the normal testosterone level is the same for girls and boys, from <7 to 20 ng/dL.
At puberty, however, levels begin to diverge. At age 10 to 11, the normal range for boys increases to 7-130 ng/dL, while for girls, it’s only <7-44 ng/dL.
By age 18, the normal level of total testosterone for young men is 300-1200, while for young women, it’s only 20-75.
These are the typical testosterone levels by age and sex. According to the American Urological Association’s testosterone guidelines, as a man over 19, you should have at least 300 ng/dL of total testosterone in your blood. Values lower than that may suggest hypogonadism.
Don’t panic if your testosterone test tells you that your total testosterone is 290 ng/dL. Talk to your doctor. You may still be perfectly healthy.
Measuring typical testosterone levels by age may not be the most accurate approach. The Tanner stages of sexual development offer a more relevant frame of reference for tracking optimal testosterone levels around puberty.
Testosterone production may also not necessarily decline by much after 40. More people older than 40 suffer from the effects of low T. But many healthy older men may retain their testosterone levels well into their senior years. Several age-related factors may combine to set the stage for low T.
Diabetes, obesity, low muscle mass, and a lifetime of inadequate diet can be more likely than age to cause low testosterone levels.
The Consequences of Low or High Testosterone
In men, low testosterone is by far a greater problem than high testosterone. Low testosterone can cause many health problems.
- Hair loss. Interestingly, low testosterone and high DHT can go hand in hand, giving your follicles a hard time.
- Low sex drive. When one of the essential fuels of your sex drive is missing, you can’t expect to perform well between the sheets.
- Erectile dysfunction. Low sex drive can contribute to erectile dysfunction, rendering you unable to perform even when you’re in the mood.
- Brittle bones. Testosterone helps keep bones strong, and low T may contribute to osteoporosis.
- Fragile and vulnerable skin. Hypogonadism can make your skin feel dry, itchy, and brittle.
- Mood and memory problems. Low T can affect your self-perception, mood, and psychological quality of life.
- Loss of muscle mass. Testosterone helps you build and maintain muscle. When you have too little of it, your muscles can suffer.
In women, high testosterone is more concerning than low testosterone. It can lead to:
- Hair loss
- Reduced sex drive
- Irregular periods
- Vaginal dryness
What Can You Do Against Low T?
If you’re a man, you won’t like the effects of low T on your quality of life. Your first step is to do an at-home testosterone test to find out if low T is, indeed, your problem. If it is, talk to a doctor before you take action.
Testosterone supplementation may seem like a logical approach: If you have too little of something, add more from an outside source or cause your body to produce more of it. Unfortunately, that’s not how the human body works.
Those who take steroids to boost their T levels may find that their body responds by stopping its own production.
Those who rely on herbal solutions to boost testosterone may soon find that the much-hyped supplements do not work.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy
Unlike most herbal supplements, TRT is a scientifically proven solution for low T that works in some cases.
Doctors may prescribe oral testosterone tablets, topical creams, testosterone injections, implants, or patches to men suffering from low T.
If you’re considering TRT to treat your erectile dysfunction, talk to your doctor first or at least perform an at-home testosterone test. Your ED may not be testosterone-linked. And even if it is, FDA-approved drugs like Viagra and Cialis are often better choices to successfully treat ED.
Do You Have Low T?
Don’t jump to conclusions based on your symptoms. Feeling depressed and weak and unable to lift your personal best in the gym does not mean that you suffer from low T. Nor should you try to boost your testosterone arbitrarily to become more muscular or attractive to potential partners.
Order an at-home testosterone test kit, mail in your sample, and find out if your testosterone level is normal. Compare your results to the normal testosterone levels by age.
eDrugstore Carries the At-home Testosterone Test Kit You Need
Our at-home testosterone test kit only requires a saliva sample. You can provide the specimen in a few seconds, and the process is pain-free.
You can expect your results in two to five days. If your results indicate hypogonadism, our U.S.-licensed doctors will tell you what to do next.
James spent the better part of the last decade studying and writing about the physiology of sleep and its correlations with dreams. He studied various drugs, natural substances, and hallucinogens that can impact the intensity and frequency of dreams.
For two years, he busted dietary supplement scams, analyzing various performance-enhancing compounds, nootropics, etc.