Sex hormones analyses

hormones analysis

Fastprep-24 can turn hair samples into fine powder prior to extracting the hormone using solvents

These tests are performed to assess the endocrine control of sexual function in males. Patient’s blood serum is used for these analyses.

General rules to follow to be prepared for the tests:

  • For the hormone blood tests blood sampling should be performed on an empty stomach, you can drink water if necessary;
  • The last meal should be not later than 8 hours before the test;
  • The day before blood sampling limit greasy and fried foods, do not drink alcohol and avoid heavy physical activity;
  • Blood sample should be collected before you start taking any drugs (if it is possible) or not earlier than 1 or 2 weeks after you have stopped using them;
  • Blood tests are not recommended to be performed right after radiography, fluorography, ultrasonography, rectal examination or physiotherapeutic procedures.

 
Blood hormones tests usually involve the investigation of the following:

 

Androgenic status

 
Androgenic status (total testosterone, biologically active testosterone, free testosterone, sex hormone-building globulin or SHBG, albumin, and free androgen index is figured out) – abnormal levels of testosterone in blood cause such sexual disorders like erectile dysfunction, lack of libido as well as the overall worsening of male health (osteoporosis, sleep disturbances, increased risks of stroke and heart attack etc.);

Indications for the test:

  • Hypogonadism (decreased activity of the sexual glands);
  • Erectile dysfunction;
  • Alzheimer’s disease;
  • Infertility.

 

Luteinizing hormone

pituitary-gland-produces-the-LH

Pituitary Gland produces the LH

Luteinizing hormone (LH) – it increases permeability of the seminiferous tubules for testosterone by stimulating the production of globulin which binds sex hormones. Thus, it increases the testosterone concentration in blood which in its turn promotes the maturation of spermatozoa. In males, the level of luteinizing hormone goes up by their 60s.

If the level of this hormone in male’s blood is lower than it should be, then it can cause the deficiency of spermatozoa in the semen which may result in even male infertility. High level of LH may indicate primary testicular failure, and that can be associated with some defects in testicular development and growth or injury of testicles.

Indications for the test:

  • Pituitary insufficiency;
  • Azoospermia (when there is no sperm in the semen) or oligospermia (when there is a low concentration of sperm cells in the semen);
  • The level of LH in blood should be assessed in terms of the complex diagnosis of male infertility in patients with low levels of testosterone.

 

Follicle-stimulating hormone

FSH Test Kit

FSH Test Kit

Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) – it is the main stimulator of the efferent ducts growth in males. Also it increases the concentration of testosterone in blood, thereby, providing the process of sperm maturation. FSH is one of the four main male sex hormones, its abnormal production leads to reproductive function disorders. The level of FSH in men rises until the end of their puberty and after that it remains unchanged.

Reduced concentration of follicle-stimulating hormone in blood indicates a malfunction of hypothalamus or pituitary gland. As for the increased concentration of FSH, it indicates a failure of testicular function.

Indications for the test:

  • Decrease in sexual potency;
  • Infertility;
  • Precocious puberty or delayed puberty;
  • Azoospermia, oligospermia.

 

Prolactin

Prolactin test

Prolactin test

Prolactin – it’s a hormone produced by the pituitary gland. The level of this hormone in male’s blood is rather small. The maximum level of prolactin in men is usually observed at 5 a.m. In some cases there can be two peak levels – between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. and between 4 a.m. and 8 a.m. Normally, the increase in prolactin levels occurs during sleep, physical activity and sexual intercourse.

Increased prolactin in males may result from prolactinoma (a tumor of the pituitary gland that produces prolactin) and may cause gynecomastia (enlargement of breasts in males). Prolactinoma is rather rare and as a rule it’s a benign tumor. If it is not treated, this tumor may continue to grow and cause headaches and reduction in vision. Moreover, overgrown tumor affects the production of other hormones and that may cause infertility.

In addition, increased levels of prolactin in males can disturb sexual function – it inhibits testosterone synthesis, causes erection problems and impotence, has a negative influence on conception. Hyperprolactinemia is one of the main causes of infertility in men.

Indications for the test:

  • Decreased libido and sexual function;
  • Gynecomastia;
  • Primary hypothyroidism;
  • Pituitary tumors;
  • Testicular failure;
  • Azoospermia, oligospermia.

 
Some peculiarities about how to be prepared for the test:

  • Although blood sample should be collected in the morning and on an empty stomach, it should be performed not earlier than 3 hours after waking up!
  • For 24 hours before you’re going to have your blood tested it is important to:
    • have no sex;
    • avoid saunas or bathhouses;
    • avoid stimulation of nipples;
  • Avoid smoking for an hour before the blood sampling;
  • Go to bed not later than 12 hours before the test and try to have a good sleep;

 

Estradiol

estradiol-test-kit

Estradiol test kit


Estradiol (E2) – it is a female sex hormone. The increased levels of this hormone in men cause inhibition of the follicle-stimulating hormone production which leads to spermatogenesis insufficiency.

In men, estradiol is produced in the testicles and adrenal cortex, but the major part of this hormone is produced in peripheral tissues by conversion from testosterone. Therefore, the more subcutaneous fat a man has, the more testosterone will be converted into estradiol. In males with a bad case of infertility the excess of estradiol may be secreted by the testicles.

Indications for the test:

  • Infertility;
  • Abnormalities in pituitary-hypothalamic-gonadal system;
  • Gynecomastia;
  • Testicular tumors and hyperplasia of adrenal cortex.

 
How to be prepared for the test:

  • 2 days before the blood sampling for estradiol try to avoid heavy physical activities, do not drink alcohol, have sex and smoke.

 

Dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate

DHEA-S Salivary Immunoassay Kit

DHEA-S Salivary Immunoassay Kit


Dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S) – it helps check the adrenal glands functioning. This hormone serves as a building block for the production of such male hormone as testosterone, thus, the assessment of its level in blood is quite useful for the diagnosis of sexual disorders in men.

Indications for the test:

  • To assess the function of the adrenal glands;
  • To differentiate the diseases associated with adrenal glands function from those caused by testicular dysfunction;
  • For differential diagnosis of androgen-producing tumors;
  • Delayed puberty.

 
Some peculiarities about how to be prepared for the test:

  • A one-time blood test gives not enough information, thus, it is advisable to check the levels of this hormone in dynamics;
  • The day before blood test you should avoid glucose-containing products.

 

Thyroid-stimulating hormone

Thyroid_Stimulating_Hormone_TSH_Test

Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) Test Kit


Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and free thyroxine (FT4) – these are thyroid hormones that show how well the thyroid gland is functioning. The increase in the levels of such hormones may cause premature ejaculation in males. Hyper- or hypothyroidism (increased or decreased production of thyroid hormones) causes male infertility, as normal levels of thyroid hormones are required for the proper development of sperm.
 
Indications for the test:

  • To diagnose hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism;
  • Erectile dysfunction and decreased libido;
  • Infertility;
  • Cardiac arrhythmias;
  • Baldness;
  • Goiter.

 
Some peculiarities about how to be prepared for the test:

  • If there are no special indications from your endocrinologist, then it’s better to stop taking thyroid hormones (if you are taking any) at least one month before the test;
  • Stop taking any iodine-containing preparations 2-3 days before the blood sampling;
  • The day before the test avoid any stresses, heavy physical activities; do not smoke or drink alcohol;
  • Just before the blood sampling it is recommended to rest for about 30 minutes.

 

Cancer-specific markers

Total-Prostate-Specific-Antigen-Test-Strip

Total Prostate Specific Antigen Test Strip

Cancer-specific markers – the levels of total prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and free prostate-specific antigen are measured to exclude prostatic gland disease. The increased levels of PSA may indicate not only malignant neoplasms but also benign prostatic hyperplasia. High concentration of PSA in blood is observed if prostate tissue is damaged and its permeability is increased. Slight or even significant rise in PSA levels can be associated with inflammation (prostatitis) or benign prostatic hyperplasia (prostate enlargement). Mechanical stimulation of the prostate (prostate massage, prostate biopsy, cystoscopy, acute urine retention, urinary catheterization) causes temporal increase in PSA levels as well. However, the most evident and stable increase in PSA is usually associated with prostate cancer.
 
Blood serum contains two forms of PSA:

  • PSA that forms complex with specific proteins (bound PSA);
  • PSA that does not form such complexes (free PSA).

 
When talking about PSA measurement, it implies the measurement of both its forms. For example, in the case of prostate cancer the level of bound PSA is increased whereas the amount of free PSA is decreased. But in certain types of cancer the level of PSA may be unchanged, because cancerous cells have lost their ability to produce this hormone. In the case of prostatic adenoma the level of free PSA in blood serum is much higher than in the case of prostate cancer. This peculiarity of prostate-specific antigen underlies the principle of differential diagnostics of benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostate cancer.
 
How to be prepared for the test:

  • You should avoid any food, juices, tea, coffee or alcohol for 8 hours before the test;
  • It is recommended to abstain from sex for 5-7 days before blood sampling;
  • It’s better to have your blood collected for the test before rectal examination or 10-14 days after it;
  • Before having your blood tested for PSA it’s is recommended to wait at least for 2 weeks after such procedures as prostate massage, cystoscopy, urinary catheterization, transrectal ultrasound, or any other mechanical impacts on the prostate gland. As for prostate biopsy, it is better to postpone blood sampling at least for a month.