January 30, 2023

Why SHBG Matters When Thinking About Testosterone Deficiency

Why SHBG Matters When Thinking About Testosterone Deficiency

Testosterone is a vital hormone for men's health, playing a crucial role in muscle mass, bone density, and sexual function. Testosterone deficiency, or low testosterone, can cause a range of symptoms that can negatively impact a man's quality of life.

When evaluating testosterone levels, it's important to consider not only the total testosterone but also the levels of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG). SHBG is a protein produced by the liver that binds to and regulates the activity of testosterone and other sex hormones in the blood.

Here are some reasons why SHBG matters when thinking about testosterone deficiency:

  1. SHBG can impact total testosterone levels: High levels of SHBG can bind to a large amount of testosterone, reducing the amount of "free" testosterone available for use by the body. Conversely, low levels of SHBG can lead to higher levels of free testosterone.
  2. SHBG levels can change with age and other factors: As men age, their SHBG levels tend to increase, which can contribute to a decline in testosterone levels. Certain conditions such as obesity, liver disease, and hypothyroidism can also affect SHBG levels.
  3. SHBG levels can impact the severity of testosterone deficiency symptoms: When SHBG levels are high, it can lead to a more severe form of testosterone deficiency, even if the total testosterone levels are in the normal range. This is because the amount of free testosterone available for use by the body is reduced.
  4. SHBG levels are a key factor in the diagnosis of testosterone deficiency: When evaluating testosterone levels, healthcare providers consider both the total testosterone and SHBG levels to diagnose testosterone deficiency. The diagnosis of testosterone deficiency can be challenging as the symptoms can be similar to those of other conditions, and the normal range of testosterone levels can vary widely.

In conclusion, SHBG is an important factor to consider when evaluating testosterone levels and diagnosing testosterone deficiency. Understanding the relationship between SHBG and testosterone can help diagnose and treat testosterone deficiency more effectively. If you are experiencing symptoms of testosterone deficiency, book in for some bloods and we can talk through your symptoms.

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